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The True History of Bhaktisiddhanta

In the following eBook, you will learn about:

-How Gaura Kishore Dasa Babaji never actually gave diksa to Bhaktisiddhanta and thus
his parampara is not bonafide
-Mayapur is not the real birthplace of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and how Bhaktivinode was
rejected by his guru Bipin Bihari Goswami for falsifying evidence in relation to this
-How offensive Bhaktisiddhanta was towards the Gaudiya Vaisnavas of Vrindavan
-Bhaktivinode Thakur was eating meat and fish
-Comments made by Lalita Prasad Thakur about his brother Bhaktisiddhanta (Lalita
Prasad Thakur was the older brother of Bhaktisiddhanta. They were both sons of
Bhaktivinode Thakur).

Why Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Never Received Initiation from Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji

1 ) Sri Kisori Mohana Gosvami and Sri Kisori Das Babaji witnessed that Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati, when asked by Siddha Sri Ramakrsna das Pandit Baba in the early 1930s,
declared that he was initiated in a dream. Based on abhava pramana (evidence based
on absence of counter evidence) I might as well claim that I received a dream-initiation
from Sri Rupa Gosvami. Who can confirm or deny it? In this way the whole principle of
initiation is undermined and made into a laughing stock. In Sri Isana Nagara's Advaita
Prakasa (8.118-122) it is described how Sita-devi, the consort of Advaita Prabhu,
received initiation in a dream from Srila Madhavendra Puri, but that Advaita Prabhu still
found it necessary to give her a concrete, audible initiation.
sita kohe bahu bhagye toma painu dekha
dehatma sodhana koro diya mantra diksa
tabe puri sitare krsna mantra dila
jagi sita mata kohe kiba camatkare
svapnavese puriraja mantra dila more
acarye kohila sita sarva vivarana
tiho kohe bhagye tuya khandila bandhana
prabhu sei mantra puna vidhi anusare
subha ksane samarpila sva bharya sita re

"Sita devi told Madhavendra Puri: "I am very fortunate to meet you. Please sanctify my
body and soul by giving me mantra initiation." Then Madhavendra Puri gave Sita krsna-
mantra after which he vanished. When mother Sita awoke, she said: "How amazing!
Madhavendra Puriraja gave me mantra in a visionary dream!" Sita devi told everything
to Advaita Acarya, who said: "You are so fortunate that now all your bondage is
destroyed." According to the rules, and on an auspicious moment, Advaita Prabhu then
gave His wife Sita that mantra again."

2) How can you take sannyasa in March 1918 while your guru passed away in
November 1915? Gaudiya Matha chronicles admit that Bhaktisiddhanta took sannyasa
in his room from a photo. Sannyasa cannot be taken from a photo, without physical
permission of the person on the photograph, but from a living sannyasi.

3) How can you wear saffron cloth while your would-be sannyasa guru wore white? A
parampara that starts with white cloth and then suddenly switches to saffron cloth and
'brahmana-initiation' is also not an uninterrupted siksa-parampara. All colors of
garment but white are forbidden for a Gaudiya Vaisnava - rakta-vastra vaisnavera
podite na yuyay (Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 13.61) "A Vaisnava should not wear red
cloth." nagno dviguna-vastrah syan nagno raktapatas tatha: "Wearing red cloth is like
walking naked," and sukla-vasa bhaven nityam raktam caiva vivarjayet (both from
Hari-bhakti-vilasa, 4.147,152): "Always wear white and give up red cloth." raktam
nilam adhautam ca parakyam malinam patam paridhaya (Agamasastra quoted in
Durgama-sangamani by Sri Jiva Gosvami on Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, 1.2.120 ):
"Wearing red, blue or unwashed garments is a sevaparadha." In Sri Dhyanacandra
Gosvami's Paddhati the guru is described as wearing white cloth (svetambaram gaura-
rucim sanatanam -"He wears white cloth and his eternal form shines like gold"). And
saffron dhotis do not exist at all, only saffron bahirvasas (outer cloth) for Vedic eka-
dandi (mayavadi) sannyasis and white dhotis for householders. Grhasthas should not
wear a kaupina (loincloth), and this is also not 'brahmana-underwear'. A kaupina is
given during the ceremony of sannyasa for a lifelong vow of celibacy. It drags anyone
down to hell who takes it off to have sex. Shaving the head is also only for sannyasis
and not for others.

To say one is wearing saffron, not red, is a useless escape manoeuvre, because there is
also a positive injunction, namely suklavaso bhaven nityah, "one should always wear
white and neither red nor saffron." This is also not a question of 'the form ("what does
it matter what color your cloth is?") versus the substance. It is not narrow-minded
smarta-ism, because obedience is the substance. The Gosvamis have ordered us to
wear white and bhakti means that you obey the orders of those who are both ordered
and empowered by Mahaprabhu to lay down the law. One Gaudiya Vaisnava acarya who
may be an avadhuta may wear burlap, but he did not tell his thousands of disciples to
do so. He told them all to wear white cotton. The Srimad Bhagavata verse (3.5.38)
does not mean that Gaudiya Vaisnavas can wear saffron or red cloth, there was no
Gaudiya sampradaya yet in the time of the Bhagavata, and, Srila Sanatana Gosvami
comments on this verse: yatibhir maha-prayatnena samsarasagaram
sribhagavadbhakta helayaiva sukham taranti, "the ocean of samsara, which is hard to
cross by yatis (mayavadi sannyasis), is easily and blissfully crossed by the Lord's
devotees." The verse rakta vastra vaisnavera porite na yuyay is not taken out of
context here. The story indeed is a personal question between Jagadananda Pandita
and Sanatana Gosvami, but the moral of the story, expressed in the rakta vastra-verse,
is an objective, absolute statement for all.

4) If Bhaktisiddhanta is Gaurakisora Das Babaji's disciple, then why didn't he give us

Gaurakisora's guru-parampara, instead of saying that Gaurakisora Das Babaji was the
disciple of Bhaktivinoda? Rather, Bhaktivinoda worshipped Gaura Kisora and
approached him for bhekh. (Gaurakisora took bhekh from Bhagavat das Baba, the
bhekh-chela of Siddha Jagannatha das Baba). Regarding Bhaktisiddhanta's version of
the rest of the guru-parampara:

Sanatana Gosvami was actually the disciple of Vidyavacaspati.

Rupa Gosvami was a disciple of Sanatana Gosvami.

Jiva Gosvami was a disciple of Rupa Gosvami.

Raghunatha das Gosvami was a disciple of Yadunandana Acarya.

Narottama Das Thakura was a disciple of Lokanatha Gosvami, not of Krsna das

Visvanatha Cakravarti was a disciple of Radha Ramana Cakravarti and never met his
would-be guru Narottama, for they lived a century apart.

Baladeva Vidyabhusana was a disciple of Radha Damodara Gosvami, not of Visvanatha


Jagannatha das Babaji lived 150 years after his would-be guru Baladeva Vidyabhusana.

Bhaktivinoda was a disciple of Vipin Bihari Gosvami, not of Jagannath das Babaji.
5) Why do all Gaudiya Matha-chronicles give different dates and places of
Bhaktisiddhanta's supposed initiation, some saying that he received Nrsimha mantra, as
if Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji was a worshipper of Nrsimha?

6) Where did Bhaktisiddhanta get his brahmana-thread from? Gaura Kisora das Babaji
did not wear it (as the photos show), for he was born a vaisya. The proof that
brahmana-initiation does not exist in reality is that there is a separate 10-syllable
Gopala Mantra for brahmanas and an 18-syllable mantra for non-brahmanas. This
means that 2nd initiation is not the same as brahmana-initiation. And if you do become
a brahmana through such initiation, then why not receive the 10-syllable mantra
instead of the 18-syllable mantra they now receive?

7) Then there is the argument: "Ah, then you have an uninterrupted succession with so
many ladies, but what was their realisation?" What were the realisations of Jahnava
Thakurani, Hemalata Thakurani, Krsnapriya Thakurani, Siddhesvari Mata, etc.? The Gita
proclaims that ladies can attain the Supreme Abode, but those who do not follow the
scriptures (be they men) can forget about it-

mam hi partha vyapasritya ye 'pi syuh papayonayah

striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te 'pi yanti param gatim
(Bhagavad Gita, 9.32)
"O Partha, anyone who surrenders to Me, even low born women, merchants and
laborers, will reach the Supreme Abode."

Better a submissive lady than a wayward, independently operating pandit, svami, etc.
And even if these ladies did not have so many spiritual realisations that is still no
excuse for just fabricating a guru-parampara.

Gaudiya Matha preachers attract followers from family gurus ('caste Gosvamis') by
pointing to Sri Jiva Gosvami's statement in Bhakti-sandarbha (210): tad etat
paramartha-gurvasrayo vyavaharika-gurvadi parityagenapi kartavyam, "One should
give up a mundane guru and take a spiritual guru", but this 'mundane guru' refers to a
village elder or parent, not to a family guru, for in Hari-bhakti-vilasa (4.141) the
Brahma-vaivarta Purana is quoted:

upadestaram amnayagatampariharanti ye
tan mrtan api kravyadahkrtaghnannopabhujate
"Even the vultures will not eat the dead corpse of the ungrateful one who abandons the
amnayagatam guru."

In his commentary to this verse Srila Sanatana Gosvami writes: amnayagatam kula-
kramayatam: This amnayagata guru means a guru who has come in a family

8) What is the tilaka svarupa of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his followers? For
instance, the Nityananda parivara-initiates have a Nim-leaf on the nose, the Advaita
Parivara-initiates have a Banyan-leaf on the nose, the Syamananda Parivara-initiates
have an anklebell-form on the nose and so every bonafide Gaudiya Vaisnava parampara
has its own tilaka svarupa, which is revealed by the guru and personally placed on the
12 parts of the disciple's body by him at the time of initiation. In Hari-bhakti-vilasa
(2.85) it is quoted: sampradayika mudradi bhusitam tam krtajalim, "At the time of
initiation the disciple receives the sectarian signs from the guru". In the commentary to
this verse Srila Sanatana Gosvami writes: sampradayikam guru-paramparasiddham,
"This sampradayika refers to the guru-parampara," and mudra tilaka maladi, "And
mudra refers to tilaka and strings of beads." If Bhaktisiddhanta was a disciple of
Gaurakisora then why do they put on this gopicandana tilaka without any fixed and
distinct svarupa? Gaurakisora was initiated in the Advaita parivara. Why did
Bhaktisiddhanta not wear his guru's tilaka if he was really his disciple?

9) The guru-parampara is placed in the wrong order on Iskcon-altars. The guru is

seated on the disciple's right side at the time of initiation and remains there eternally.
On Iskcon-altars the guru is on the left of the disciple. The latest guru should be to the
right and the earliest guru leftmost.

10) Who is a brahmana? a) In ISKCON/Gaudiya Matha we see everyone ultimately

receiving brahmana-initiation. But which varnasrama-society has only brahmanas?
Even from their viewpoint "we judge people on their qualities and not on their birth,"
most of Bhaktivedanta's followers are not qualified brahmanas. ISKCON/Gaudiya Math
"brahmana"-women leave their husbands, have children from different men (this is
lower than a sweeper's wife in India), and, what to speak of knowing Sanskrit, the men
don't even know Hindi or Bengali, or even what the weather is like in India. No one
knows even basic sadacara, the practices of cleanliness and chastity. 90% of Iskcon
members are businessmen ("qualified vaisyas" perhaps?) Quality and birth are anyway
non-different: karanam gunasango 'sya sadasadyonijanmasu (Gita, 13.22). "The cause
of birth in either a good or a bad species is one's attachment to a certain psychological
quality (culture, habit)." The fact that most of Bhaktisiddhanta's Western followers are
not even brahmana by quality, but there is still 'brahmana initiation' proves that their
brahmana-campaign is motivated by envy. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has taught His
followers trnad api sunicena "One must consider oneself lower than a blade of grass,"
not an ignorant mleccha considering himself equal to a brahmana.

b) Envy is the cause of the mentality: "Nowadays brahmanas are full of faults, so now
we will launch our own varnasrama-system." A human being can and should not do
that, for it is created by God Himself, and He is the highest authority (caturvarnyam
maya srstam "The four castes are created by Me (God, Krsna),") and not by the human
being Bimal Prasad Datta. 'Religious principles are created by God Himself" (dharmam
tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam, Srimad Bhagavata, 6.3.19) Envy of brahmanas will cost
you dearly, for Sri Krsna Himself says in the Bhagavata (10.64.41-42):

vipram krtagasam api naiva druhyata mamakah

ghnantam bahusapantam va namaskuruta nityasah
yathaham praname vipran anukalam samahitah
tatha namata yuyam ca ye 'nyatha me sa danda-bhak

"O My relatives! Do not harm a brahmana, even if he mistreats you! Even if he is a

sinner, you should still bow down to him. Even I bow down to the brahmanas. Whoever
acts otherwise is punishable by Me!" The best example is Indra, who had to suffer
severely for killing the brahmana Vrtrasura, even though he was a demon.

The Lord further tells Srideva in Srimad Bhagavata (10.86.53):

brahmano janmana sreyan sarvesam praninam iha
tapasa vidyaya tustya kim u mat kalaya yutah

"The brahmana is superior to all living beings by birth, let alone when he is austere,
learned, content and devoted to Me."

duspraja aviditvaivam avajananty asuyavah

gurum mam vipram atmanam arccadavijyadrstayah (S.Bhag. 10.86.55)

"Men of crooked understanding, who do not know this, disrespect a brahmana and are
envious of him, who is identical with Me and their very self."

c) The Bhagavata (7.11.13) declares that a brahmana must first be born in a family
that has always, throughout the generations, followed all the samskaras for

d) The Vedas teach that a sannyasi renounces his brahmana-thread when he takes
sannyasa (sutra-sikha-tyaga, C.C.), but in Gaudiya Matha/Iskcon sannyasis continue to
wear the thread, even though they are not born as brahmanas in the first place!

e) The brahma-sutra (thread) is only for practising the brahma gayatri, not for the
Vaisnava diksa-mantras like the gopala mantra and the kama Gayatri. Only the last two
are mentioned in Hari-bhakti-vilasa as Gaudiya Vaisnava diksa mantras.

f) A brahmana is called dvija, or twice born. How can you have the second birth
(upanayana-samskara) without having had the first one (saukra or seminal birth)? The
brahma gayatri investment is done by the father of a brahmin boy when he is 11 years
old. The boy should not see the sun for many days (since the brahma gayatri is a solar
mantra) and is locked up in a room with the windows shut and given only havisyanna
(porridge without salt, spices or sugar) to eat. Initiation into krsna-mantra is a separate
initiation which is only given to active Vaisnava brahmanas. This is called the
brahmana's third birth (daiksa janma). For instance, Mahaprabhu already wore His
thread when He received krsna mantra from Isvara Puri and Advaita Prabhu had been
doing brahma gayatri for decades when He received krsna mantra from Madhavendra

g) Sanatana Gosvami says in Brhad-bhagavatamrta (2.2.57):

esam yajaikanisthanam aikyenavasyake nije

jape ca sadguruddiste mandyam syad drstasatphale

The Maharsis offered Gopa Kumara the status of a brahmana, but he thought to
himself: "If I accept the position of a brahmana, I will surely slacken in my practise of
the mantra that I received from the bonafide guru, and that is certainly not good.
brahmanas are only engaged in yajas and are not engaged in other matters."

h) Introducing varnasrama dharma, which is an institution of karma-yoga, is a

namaparadha - dharma-vrata-tyaga-hutadi-sarva-subhakriyasamyam: "To consider
Hari Nama equal to any auspicious activity like (varnasrama) dharma, vows
(sannyasa), tyaga and sacrifices."

11) Who is a sannyasi? A Vaisnava tyagi is not called sannyasi. In India a mayavadi is
called sannyasi. In his Durgama-sangamani commentary on the Bhakti-rasamrta-
sindhu (1.2.113) Sri Jiva Gosvami sees a difference between a sannyasi and a
Vaisnava-nivrtta (tyagi): sisyan naivanubadhniyad ityadiko yadyapi sannyasa-dharmas
tathapi nivrttanam api bhaktanam upayujyata iti bhavah - "Just as it is wrong for a
sannyasi to take too many disciples, so it counts also for renounced bhaktas."

12) There has never been a prohibition by the Gosvamis or the scriptures against
calling householder-acaryas 'Gosvami'. On the contrary, Sri Narottama Thakura
Mahasaya sang: doya koro sitapati, advaita gosai addressing the householder guru
Advaita Prabhu with gosai. Advaita is also repeatedly called gosvami in Kavi
Karnapura's Caitanya-candrodaya Natakam. To see the Gosvamis as different from the
Lords - Nityananda and Advaita - who they directly descend from in family line is an
offence to Nityananda and Advaita, for the Vedas teach us atma vai jayate putrah - "As
father, so son", or: "The child is the image of the father." Saying that Sukracarya, the
guru of the demons, refers to the 'caste Gosvamis', (sukra meaning sperm), is not only
very offensive but also hypocritical, because Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura is only famous
due to glorification by his own son Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati.

Regarding family-succession, there is no reason that one should not be initiated by

one's parents: Hemalata Thakurani, guru of Yadunandana Thakura, took initiation from
her father Srinivasacarya, Krsna Misra took initiation from his mother Sita-devi and
Virabhadra Prabhu took intiation from his co-mother Jahnavi Devi. Virabhadra was a
son of Nityananda Prabhu, but according to the Advaita Prakasa he went to Advaita
Prabhu for diksa. Advaita Prabhu sent him back to his own family to take diksa there,
which confirms that it was the wish of Nityananda and Advaita Prabhu that these
family-guru paramparas would be created.

13) It is also not true that a person cannot give initiation when his guru is still alive.
This practise is widespread throughout Gaudiya Vaisnava history. For instance,
Rasikananda gave initiation while his guru Syamananda Thakura was still alive.

14) Deviating from the sastras a) Is often apologised for with the argument: "Yes,
Prabhupada/Bhaktisiddhanta was a pure devotee, therefore he was empowered to
introduce new injunctions." If that is so, then everyone can say the same of their gurus,
including the followers of Jayatirtha, who introduced the use of hashish and LSD as a
'sadhana.' A genuine pure devotee will surrender to the sastras.

tasmacchastram pramanam te karyakaryavyavasthitau

jatva sastravidhanoktam karma kartum iharhasi (B.Gita, 16.24)

"Therefore one should follow the scriptural authority in what is to be done and what is
not to be done. Once knowing the scriptural injunctions, one should act accordingly."

b) Some say: "Well, all that scriptural evidence is very nice, but Prabhupada is beyond
that. He is empowered by Krsna Himself, you can see that in these 208 temples in 184
countries, 25.000 followers, etc. etc." The answer lies in the well-known saying:
"Religion without (scriptural) philosophy is sentimentalism and/or fanaticism." Quantity
does not prove quality. Rajneesh has millions of followers, many more than
Prabhupada, but does that make him an 'empowered' pure devotee?

yah sastravidhim utsrjya vartate kama karatah

na sa siddhim avapnoti na sukham na param gatim (Bhagavad Gita, 16.23)

"He who rejects scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims, will not
attain perfection, nor will he become happy or attain the Supreme Abode."

srutismrti mamaivaje yas tu ullanghya vartate

aja-cchedi mama dvesi madbhakto 'pi na vaisnavah

Sri Krsna says (quoted in Bhakti-sandarbha, para. 312): "The Srutis and Smrtis are My
orders. Those who violate, disregard and disobey these orders are haters of Me. Though
they may be my devotees, they are still not Vaisnavas."

Disregarding the scriptures is the 4th offence to the holy name (sruti-sastra-nindanam).
Moreover, Srila Narottama Thakura Mahasaya says (in the Prema-bhakti-candrika):
sadhu-sastra guru vakya, hrdaye koriya aikya - "The words of the guru must be
compatible with the words of sadhu and sastra, just as the words of sadhu must be
compatible with guru and sastra and the words of sastra must be confirmed by sadhu
and guru." Not that the guru can say whatever he wants merely on the strength of his
large number of temples and his large material success.

Throughout this essay it is shown that the followers of Bhaktisiddhanta distribute

namaparadha. The 1st (satam ninda, blanket-blasphemy of the non-Iskcon-Vaisnavas),
the 3rd (guroravaja not accepting guru parampara), the 4th (sruti-sastra-nindanam,
knowingly deviating from the scriptures), the 8th (considering mundane piety other
than the holy name, like their own varnasrama dharma, to be alternative means of
salvation), the 9th (asraddadhane vimukhe 'pyasrnvati yas copadesah, preaching to the
faithless, the averse and the unwilling, and the 11th (?) (aham mamadiparamo namni
so 'pyaparadhakrt), chanting the holy name with false ego (envy and ambition). Is their
'success' then really so great? All their followers are encouraged to commit and spread

15) Vaisnava ninda - Even if there were any kind of parampara in Gaudiya Math/Iskcon,
their initiation must still be rejected on the basis of their systematic and collective
slander of the Vaisnavas, with most of whom they are not even acquainted. Sri Jiva
Gosvami quotes Narada Pacaratra in Paragraph 238 of Bhakti-sandarbha:

yo vyakti nyayarahitam anyayena srnoti yah

tav ubhau narakam ghoram vrajatah kalam aksayam

iti naradapacaratre ataeva durata evaradhyas tadrso guruh vaisnava-vidvesi cet

parityajya eva - guror apy avaliptasya karyakaryam ajanatah utpathapratipannasya
parityago vidhiyate iti smaranat tasya vaisnavabhavarahityenavaisnavataya
'avaisnavopadistenah' ityadi vacanavisayac ca

"'A person who speaks contrary to the morale enunciated by the Vaisnava-sastras, and
the person who hears such immoral teachings will both live in a foul hell for eternity'. If
an instruction of Sri Gurudeva is contrary to the sastras, then association with such a
guru should be given up and he should be worshipped from a distance. If the guru is an
enemy of the Vaisnavas, it is most auspicious to give him up altogether. The word
dvesa (hatred) also stands for ninda (slander) (nindapi dvesasamah, Bhakti-
sandarbhah). Therefore an offender to the Vaisnavas is not qualified to be a guru, and
he must be abandoned. A guru who is attached to sense gratification, who does not
know what is to be done and what is not to be done, or who acts contrary to the bhakti
sastras must be abandoned. He has no Vaisnava-feelings, therefore he is an non-
Vaisnava (non-devotee). The scriptural saying 'A mantra received from a non-Vaisnava
will drag one to hell' also shows that an non-Vaisnava guru is to be abandoned."

There is no justification whatsoever for slandering Vaisnavas, for Sri Krsna Himself
proclaims in Bhagavad-gita (9.30):

api cet suduracaro bhajate mam ananyabhak

sadhur eva sa mantavyah samyag-vyavasito hi sah

"Even if he commits the most abominable activities, whoever exclusively worships Me

(without worshipping demigods or endeavouring for liberation - Visvanatha) is to be
considered a saint, since he is on the right way."

Satam nindam paramam aparadham vitanute: "Blaspheming the saints is the first and
foremost offence to the holy name."

In the Vrndavana-mahimamrta (17.83) Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati has written:

svananda sac cid ghana rupata matir yavan na vrndavana vasi jantusu
tavat pravisto'pi na tatra vindate tato'paradhat padavim paratparam

"As long as one is so offensive as not to see all the creatures who live in Vrndavana as
transcendentally blissful and full of ecstatic love and transcendental flavours, the
supreme position of Radha's maidservant will remain unattainable, even if one has
already entered Vrndavana."

Unless one gives up the company of a slanderer one is sure to fall down. The Srimad
Bhagavata (10.74.40) confirms this:

nindam bhagavatah srnvan tat-parasya janasya va

tato napaiti yah so 'pi yatyadhah sukrtaccyutah
"Anyone who hears the Lord or His devotee (tat-parasya janasya va) blasphemed, and
does not leave, will fall down."

b) Some call Radhakunda Narakakunda, and say 'there is not a single rupanuga
Vaisnava there.' To this it can be replied - yattirthabuddhih salile na karhicit
janesvabhijesu sa eva go-kharah (Srimad Bhagavata, 10.84.13) "Anyone who comes
to a holy place (like Radhakunda) only to bathe without meeting the learned persons
there or recognising them, is like a cow or an ass." If one wants to keep one's men for
the preaching-mission - for this is the only reason why other Vaisnavas are
systematically slandered - then one may say 'you are not qualified to associate with
such deeply realised souls.' Then one has caught two flies in one blow - one has
glorified the Radhakunda Vaisnavas and at the same time have kept one's money-
machine erect.

c) Babajis are not sahajiyas, for sahajiyas are Saktas or Mayavadis who have tantric
sex with other men's wives, identifying themselves with Radha and Krsna. Babajis don't
do this. They do not imitate the Gosvamis, but follow them, by wearing the dress
Goswamis not only wore themselves, but also advised all other Vaisnavas to wear in
works like the Hari-bhakti-vilasa and Caitanya-caritamrta (cited previously). Even if
they are playing Vaisnava by falsely wearing the dress it is said:

sadhu sangera alaukika apara sakti hoy

chale sad-vesa-dhari jiva jivanmukti pay (Advaita-prakasa 9.61)

"The power of saintly association is so endless that even when one pretentiously
dresses as a saint, one will attain liberation."
Comments about Bhaktisiddhanta by his brother Lalita Prasad Thakur

The following comments give a history of Bhaktisiddhanta spoken by his brother Lalita
Prasad Thakur. I found these on one webpage that was discussing ISKCON.


ex-ISKCONMarch 16, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink | Reply

Comments from Gaudiya Discussions dot com. Note that BP is Bimal Prasad aka
Bhaktisiddhanta. And LPT is Lalita Prasad Thakura, Bhaktisiddhantas brother:

(1) He went on to tell a story about Bhaktisiddhanta that blew my mind. He said that
Bhaktisiddhanta was actually the reincarnation of a fake guru by the name of
Bishikishan who Bhaktivinoda had incarcerated when he was the deputy magistrate in
Puri. Bhaktivinoda had this fellow, who was impersonating Krsna and dancing the rasa
dance with young women, arrested and imprisoned and a few months later he died in
prison (police brutality?). According to LPT, Bishikishan swore on his dying breath that
he would get even with Bhaktivinoda and spoil his lifes work. According to LPT he was
born as Bhaktivinodas son, Bimala Prasada. At this point he produced a letter written
by Bhaktivinoda to him years later describing the horrible pains his mother experienced
in giving birth to BP, far worse than ordinary birth pains, and there may have been a
comment either by Bhaktivinoda or his wife (LPTs mother) about a great demon
residing in her womb.
(2) According to Nitai das, Lalita Prasad produced evidence that Bhaksidhanta
Sarasvati might be a demon.

(3) We were fed this GM/ISKCON propaganda that Bhaktivinode did not give
Bhaktisiddhanta initiation because it was not according to protocol to get initiated by
ones own father. Then we later found out that this was not the case and that
Bhaktivinode gave initiation to Lalita Prasad. I think that is awfully suspicious, to say
the least.


ex-ISKCONMarch 16, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink | Reply

From Nitais Escape from the Hall of Mirrors:

Who are my sources? Dr. Kapoor and Lalita Prasad Thakur, Bhaktisiddhantas own
brother and duly initiated disciple of Bhaktivinod Thakur, and what I heard from them
was confirmed by everyone else I spoke with. Dont blow off hear-say. Hear-say is sruti if
it comes from authoritative sources. I heard the demon story directly from Lalita
Prasada Thakur who felt it had been confirmed by his own mother who exclaimed
during her pregnancy with Bimala Prasad that it felt like a demon had entered her


ex-ISKCONMarch 16, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

More from Gaudiya Discussions dot com:

I thought it would be appropriate to at least present what Bhaktisiddantas devotee
brother (Lalita Prasad Thakur) had to say about the family history. According to him,
Bhaktisiddhanta was believed to be a reincarnation of a yogi that Bhaktivinode
imprisoned for impersonating Vishnu (Bishika Sen or something like that was his
name). The story is that this yogi commited suicide and cursed Bhaktivinode saying that
he would take birth in his family and destroy his lifes work. When Bhaktisiddhanta was
in his mothers womb, she reportedly was convinced that it was the yogi and that she felt
like the unborn child was burning inside of her and causing her great pain. The reason
Bhaktisiddhanta was denied diksha by his father, according to this side of the story, is
that he offended Bhaktivinodes guru, Bipin Bihari Goswami, both verbally and
physically by throwing a bucket of water on him. Bhaktivinode was so angry that he
kicked Bhaktisiddhanta out of the house.


ex-ISKCONMarch 17, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

A tradition of poison usefrom Gaudiya Discussions dot com. Note that Bhimala is

(1) Regarding the poisoning of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, (I guess this is a

question to others also): did you come across that idea solely from Lalita Prasad
Thakura, or from other sources also?

(2) Regarding the poisoning, I only heard that from Lalita Prasad.

(3) I recall once reading a statement from AC Bhaktivedanta Swami, where he suggests
that someone also tried to poison Bhaktisiddhanta. I cant seem to locate the reference
at the moment.
(4) However, judging by the statements in Subaljis text, it is clear that some suspected
Bhaktisiddhanta of being poisoned though. Not least his own brother.

(5) He saved his brother twice when he was poisoned by his disciple. The last time, he
was locked in a room so that he could not go to his brother. They also tried to poison
Lalita Prasad a couple of times unsuccessfully.

(6) The lives of Bhaktivinodes sons reads at times like an Agatha Christie adventure
with plotted poisonings and murders and that supposed letter that Bhaktivinode wrote
to Lalita Prasad that Bhimala was an incarnation of a previous opponent of his

(7) Tirtha Maharaja tried poisoning his guru Bhaktisiddhanta a couple of times, but
Bhaktisiddhanta made it to Lalita Prasad who saved him. Finally, he was poisoned and
locked in his room so he couldnt go for help. It was the kind of poison known as a
Russian heart attack. He was taken from Calcutta to Mayapur for cremation and burial
to avoid an autopsy. A couple of unsuccessful attempts were made on Lalita Prasads life


ex-ISKCONMarch 21, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink | Reply

From Gaudiya Discussions dot com:

(1) Remember, the principle was that we could do anything for Krishna. The end
justified the means. This resulted in fraud and con tactics, drug dealing, murder and
prostitution being used by some devotees. Now some argue whether Bhaktivedanta was
aware of these things going on or not. He certainly was pleased with the devotees who
brought money and wasnt concerned with how they got it. The biggest wheeler dealers
became the biggest ISKCON leaders.
(2) According to Harikesh, Gurukrpa was giving money to Bhaktivedanta Swami from
drug traffic sales, much to Bhaktivedanta Swamis awareness, for the financing of the
Vrndavan Krsna-Balaram Mandir. In 1977 Gurukrpa was arrested and thrown in jail in
the Netherlands for some 5-7 years.

Some may want to shrug this off as not true or whatever. People get uptight when I
bring this up. It may not even have any relevance to some. It does to me. I had two
brothers that died in their early thirties from related drug addictions. It is sad that a
temple of God was financed on drug money, even more so, when the principles we
vowed on our supposed initiation was that we refrain from intoxication.

It is even sadder to hear people rationalize this incident with the story of the four
mystics who plunderred people in South India to construct the Sri Ranganath Mandir in
South India. I hear people say, Prabhupada purified that money.

I agree whole-heartedly with Subal I like to have some integrity in my life and stand
up for what is right for whatever it is worth. The seeds of deciet will remain within our
hearts till we uproot them, recognize and the value of virtue, being honest with ourselves
and others. Living in denial is self-deceit. It will not bring us in touch with our souls.


ex-ISKCONMarch 23, 2013 at 11:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

From Nitais On Varnasrama:

The biggest mistake was this teaching on the varnasrama dharma. I dont think he
really understood what he was doing. It doesnt matter what you call it daiva or asurika,
it is nothing but an obstacle () Now instead of shifting our self understanding from our
physical identities, such as they are, to our spiritual identities we have to pass through
some caste identity? This is absurd. () This only introduces another level of maya and
another opportunity develop a false sense of who we really are.


ex-ISKCONMarch 23, 2013 at 11:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

More from The Caitanya Symposium:

Deprogramming ourselves after exposure to those books is very hard. I have been
struggling with it for years and I am far from deprogrammed. Plus, where is the counter-
literature? I can read Bengali and Sanskrit so I have access to much but for those who
dont it is really tough.


ex-ISKCONMarch 28, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink | Reply

If the fruit is so thoroughly noxious what does that tell us about the tree?

"I think I will concentrate on the Lalita Prasad Thakur question in this letter. Of course Jan and
Gadadhara Pran, who received initiation from LPT, are probably better informed on many of these
matters and may even have some of the documents I will refer to. I had the good fortune to visit LPT
in Birnagar at Bhaktivinode's family estate and temple sometime in 1975 after I had left Iskcon and
been at least partially initiated by Tin Kudi Baba. By the way LPT is the younger brother of
Bhaktisiddhanta, not older. It was awe-inspiring being in the presence of someone directly related to
Bhaktivinoda, whose life and work I have always been inspired by. LPT was quite old then and
basically spent his days in his room sitting or lying on his bed surrounded by books and manuscripts,
chanting the Holy Name. I believe he was chanting some five lakhs of Harinama a day. That is
500,000. At my best I could only do one and a half lakhs a day and it took me all day. All of his needs
were being seen to by a middle-aged woman who ran the asrama. She had his meals prepared and
took care of everything. LPT said that she was the reincarnation of his mother who had come back
specifically to care for him. He always called her "Ma." She seemed very peaceful and very efficient.
LPT spoke to us (I think I was with a god-brother by the name of Jagadananda Das) at length on the
first day of our visit. His basic point was that Bhaktisiddhanta was a usurper. His father, he said, had
passed on the responsibility of spreading Mahaprabhu's religious tradition to him, not Bhaktisiddhanta
and he produced a letter from Bhaktivinode to him stating something like that. (Whether it was
genuine or not I cannot say.) He claimed that Bhaktisiddhanta made the claim of carrying on his
father's work without any authorization to do so. LPT stated quite bluntly that he had received
initiation from Bhaktivinoda, but that Bhaktivinoda refused to give it to Bhaktisiddhanta. One has to
wonder why.

He went on to tell a story about Bhaktisiddhanta that blew my mind. He said that Bhaktisiddhanta was
actually the reincarnation of a fake guru by the name of Bishikishan who Bhaktivinoda had
incarcerated when he was the deputy magistrate in Puri. Bhaktivinoda had this fellow, who was
impersonating Krsna and dancing the rasa dance with young women, arrested and imprisoned and a
few months later he died in prison (police brutality?). According to LPT, Bishikishan swore on his dying
breath that he would get even with Bhaktivinoda and spoil his life's work. According to LPT he was
born as Bhaktivinoda's son, Bimala Prasada. At this point he produced a letter written by Bhaktivinoda
to him years later describing the horrible pains his mother experienced in giving birth to BP, far worse
than ordinary birth pains, and there may have been a comment either by Bhaktivinoda or his wife
(LPT's mother) about a great demon residing in her womb. The rest according to LPT fit this paradigm.
BP insulted Bhaktivinoda's guru Bipin Bihari by calling him a fart breather. He went on to teach and
play the guru without any initiation, took over the organization that Bhaktivinoda had founded and
turned it into the Gaudiya Math. According to LPT Bhaktivinoda became so disgusted that he retired to
Puri early and went into seclusion practicing the final astakaliya and harinama-bhajana with which he
ended his life.

After hearing this story, I remember wondering if this was merely the result of sibling rivalry or
something more substantial. At any rate, the documents to support LPT's view of the situation were
right there. That was one of the most tantalizing parts of the visit. LPT showed me a couple of almira
filled with Bhaktivinod's letters and manuscripts, some published and some unpublished.There was a
huge mass of literature there. I got the impression that what had been published was only the tip of
the iceberg, that there was so much more of Bhaktivinoda's realizations buried in those almira. I hope
that someone is trying to protect it and publish it. Another of LPT's claims was that those things of
Bhaktivinoda that had been published by the Gaudiya Math had been"edited and changed". He said
that the true position of Bhaktivinoda would not be known until the works were restored from the
original manuscripts. All in all, it was an interesting couple of days. LPT passed away a year or two
later and I have no idea what has become of the mss or of the ancestral estate of Bhaktivinod since
then. "
Steve Bohlert, a.k.a Subal was an initiate of A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami, founder of iskcon.

The following excerpt is taken from Saffron, Subals autobiography. Here Subal recounts a meeting
with Lalita Prasad, the brother of Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada's guru (Bhaktisiddhanta). Subal relates
what Lalita Prasad told him (emphasis added):

The line that your guru maharaja (A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami- Prabhupada) listed in his Bhagavad Gita
was made up by my brother Bhaktisiddhanta. He was rejected by our father Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur
and his guru who was Bipin Bihari Goswami. Bhaktisiddhanta spoke against Bipin Bihari from the stage
of a large public gathering in Calcutta. He called him a caste Goswami and a sahajiya (a cheap cheater).

When our father heard about this, he said, You should keep out of religious affairs. It would be better
if you went and lived in Mayapur alone. Chant Hare Krishna and pray for Lord Chaitanyas mercy.

But when our father Bhaktivinode Thakur died, I went to my brother and said, Who will carry on our
fathers teachings now that he is gone? You are the oldest. I was working for the government like our
father did, while he was doing his spiritual practices and was a scholar. Youre the one to do it, I told

How can I do it when Ive been rejected by our father and his guru? was his reply.

Youre smart. Make up a disciplic succession. Who will know? He did it. When he went to Vrindaban to
preach, the babajis there knew he had made it up. It did not jive with known historical facts and
relationships between the personalities mentioned.

Mayapur is not the real birthplace of Caitanya Mahaprabhu

With modern methods, it should be possible to trace the history of the Ganges bed, on which both sides
of this argument hinge. It seems to my laymans eyes that the Ganges has tended to move eastward
over the past several centuries, making the more westerly birthplace more likely. See Shukavak Das, p.
107-108, particularly the note on page 108. See also Chakravarti, 396.

Here is some more information, based on Carita-sudh, volume 4, pp. 65-71. The original temple on
Mahaprabhu's birthplace was built by Bir Hambir of Vishnupur, who ruled from approximately 1586-
1621. This small shrine was claimed by the Ganges. Gaur Govinda Singh, the diwan of the East India
Company temple, was an important Vaishnava. He built a second temple on the site in 1780-5, a sixty
foot high building with nine pinnacles in red sandstone. This building was submerged in floods in 1876.
Clearly, then, Bhaktivinoda Thakur must have been exaggerating somewhat when he said that nobody
had any idea where the birthplace had been.

As a result, a few years after Bhaktivinoda established the Mayapur site, in 1304 Bangabda (1897),
Sashibhushan Bandyopadhyaya wrote in Pallivasi Patrika the first article claiming that the Janmasthan
was somewhere in Ramchandrapur. This started the Janmasthan wars. The Mayapur faction started a
court case, which ultimately refused to reject the Mayapur claim, but did conclude that Gaura Govidna
Singh's temple had indeed been built on the site of Mahaprabhu's birthplace and if anyone could find
the ruins of that temple, that would be the deciding factor in establishing the birthsite.

Premananda Bharati, well-known as the first preacher of Vaishnavism in the West, took up the cause in
the early 20th century, enlisting the aid of the leaders of the various Vaishnava communities both in
Vrindavan and Gauda Desh. Finally, these Vaishnavas decided to find a qualified person to establish the
exact site. They engaged Braja Mohan Das Babaji, who in his householder life had been a government
engineer and had recently taken responsibility for rebuilding the steps around Radha Kund and Shyam

Vraja Mohan Dasji started his research in 1916. He walked all over the Dham as well as investigating
the available records, including the British survey maps that had been conducted from 1757 onwards.
Apparently, he was on one occasion beaten up, his sikha cut off, his mala cut and thrown naked into
the Ganges by the Mayapur faction. This probably when he entered the Mayapur compound. I have
myself seen the vitriolic literature written by Paramananda Brahmachari at around this time, accusing
Braja Mohan Dasji and his backers of all manner of licentiousness in an attempt to discredit his efforts.
This evidently did not help Bhaktivinoda Thakur's cause with Bipin Bihari Goswami.

At any rate, through his research Braja Mohan pinpointed the Ramachandra Chora land as the likeliest
site of Gaur Govinda Singh's temple. He proceeded to dig more than 700 holes in the ground there
before finding a large piece of red sandstone which he claimed was a part of the original structure. He
exhibited the piece of stone to an assembly of Vaishnavas and work was begun building a new temple

Even so, the effort had exhausted him and he died not long after, turning the temple service over to
Charan Das's sakhibhekhi disciple Radhavinodini Dasi. The area was officially named Prachin Mayapur in
1928. The temple was turned over to Ramdas Babaji in 1953.

Clearly, the discovery of the Prachin Mayapur birthsite roughly coincides with Bipin Bihari's rejection of
Bhaktivinoda, so it is not unlikely that the two are related.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Bipin Bihari Goswami

No one can blame me for being a dishonest translator. Rocana has excerpted my translation of
Bhaktivinoda Thakur's life from Chaitanya and His Associates by Bhakti Ballabha Tirtha. In that chapter,
there is not one mention of Bipin Bihari Goswami!

Is there not something wrong there, my friends? By any standard of truth, but especially in a disciplic
succession that promotes so avidly the concept of Guru, that a writer should so cavalierly glorify one's
own spiritual hero without mentioning his guru's name, as though he never existed. Tell me if this is
not a classical case of ardha-kukku nyya? I have written on these matters several times, including
this article Bhaktivinoda Thakur's meat eating and Lalita Prasad Thakur, which was also inspired by a
similar type of distortion on Rocana's site.

So, for the occasion of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's appearance, and to thumb our nose at those who would
deny Bipin Bihari Goswami's role in the Thakur's life, I include an article that was posted originally on-
line on the now defunct Gaudiya Discussions. I must have started writing this at around the time I was
translating the above-mentioned text.

I have just copied it here, unexpurgated. Some of the links don't work. Sorry about that. Perhaps in
some respects the article is inappropriate for Bhaktivinoda Thakur's appearance day, because it is not
unadulterated hagiography, which is apparently the path we have to follow if we want to attain
spiritual perfection. I don't know, folks. It's a bee in my bonnet. It might not be as big a bee in my
bonnet as it was in my guru's, but I have to carry this tiny banner for him, even if I do nothing else in
my life.

Do I really care any more? This is such an old battle that I can barely relate to it emotionally any more.
It sometimes seems that my position has shifted so far from the conventional Vaishnava sampradaya
attitudes that gave rise to the controversy in the first place. I offer my respects to all these gurus
because they passed something of value on to me, but it is my unfortunate task to look at the
weaknesses they have left in the edifice of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. However flawed I am, I was just made
this way. So forgive me for bringing this all up again.

A pox on everyone who pretends that Bipin Bihari Goswami played no role in the rise of Gaudiya
Vaishnavism in the world. After reading the article again, I stand by my conclusions.


Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Bipin Bihari Goswami

Bhaktivinoda Thakurs relationship with Bipin Bihari Goswami

A name remarkable for its absence in the parampara given by Siddhanta Saraswati is that of Bipin
Bihari Goswami (1850-1919), the initiating spiritual master of Kedarnath Datta, Bhaktivinoda

Born 3 Sravan 1850, Bipin Bihari was twelve years Bhaktivinodas junior. He was born in the family of
Goswamis whose seat is in Baghna Para, between Kalna and Nabadwip in the Burdwan district. This is
the seat of Ramachandra Goswami, the grandson of Vamsivadanananda Thakur, an associate of
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the adopted son and disciple of Jahnava Thakurani, the wife of Nityananda

Married at 13, Bipin Bihari moved to Hooghly district. He became closely involved with the Brahmo
Samaj, causing a reaction from other members of the Baghna Para family, who insisted that he move
back to Kalna. There he began associating with the famous "siddha," Bhagavan Das Babaji, one of the
most notable Vaishnavas of the time. He studied the Vaishnava scriptures with Bhagavan Das for nine
years. He also studied with another prominent renounced Vaishnava, Nabadwips Chaitanya Das Babaji.
He took initiation from Yajneshwar Goswami in 1872.

He began writing articles almost immediately after initiation and submitted articles on Gaudiya
Vaishnavism to various magazines both in Bengali (Prema-pracri, Savda-pra-candrodaya) and
English (The Education Gazette). He made his reputation in 1877-1880 by giving lectures on the
Bhagavatam and attracted the attention of the king of Burdwan, Mahatap Chand. Aftab Chand,
Mahatap Chands successor, also regularly invited Bipin Bihari to the Burdwan palace.

Bipin Bihari Goswami wrote a number of books. The first, written in Sanskrit, Harinmmta-sindhu,
was published in 1879. His major work, Daa-mla-rasa (1898), is over a thousand pages long and
covers the gamut of Gaudiya Vaishnava doctrine and practice. Other works were Arcanmta-
sgara (1883), Madhura-milana, Sra-sagraha, Bhva-sagraha, Hari-bhakti-taragin (1902) and a
number of Sanskrit and Bengali poems and songs.

Kedarnath Datta and his wife both took initiation from Bipin Bihari Goswami in 1879, after three years
of exchanging letters.(2)Bhaktivinoda Thakur himself summarized his initiation from his guru in his
autobiographical letter to his son Lalita Prasad in 1896.

I had been searching for a suitable guru for a long time, but had not found one, so I was feeling
disturbed. Whenever I met someone in whom I could have a little faith, when I studied his teachings
and character, I would lose whatever little faith I had. I was quite worried, but Prabhu eradicated
these worries in a dream. In that dream, I had a hint of what would happen and when morning came, I
felt joyful. A day or two later, Gurudeva wrote me a letter saying, "I will come soon and give you
initiation." When he came and performed the initiation rituals, I became cheerful. From that day on
the sin of meat eating vanished from my heart and I began to feel a little compassion toward all
beings. (3)

In the period that followed, Bipin Bihari and Bhaktivinoda cooperated in the publication of the
periodical Sajjana-toa, which first appeared in 1882. Many articles by Bipin Bihari appeared there,
as well as his translation of Viu-sahasra-nma. In January 1886, he arranged for his disciple to be
given the title Bhaktivinoda in Baghna Para itself in a ceremony at the Baladeva Krishna temple. (4)
Bhaktivinoda mentions his spiritual masters name in several places in his own writings to offer him
respects, as is appropriate Vaishnava etiquette for an author. These appear in works published in 1893
(Siddhi-llas of Gta-ml), at the end of his commentary on the Caitanya-caritmta (1894) (5), in his
introduction to an edition ofKa-karmta, (6) in 1898 and in Bhgavatrka-marci-ml in 1901, one
of the Thakurs last works. (7)

The two texts from Giti-mala are particularly interesting, as they indicate the siddha name of Bipin
Bihari, which is Vilasa Manjari.

When will Vilasa Manjari and Ananga Manjari [Jahnava Mata] see me and, being merciful, speak the
follow essential words?

O Vilasa Manjari, Ananga Manjari and Rupa Manjari, please notice me and accept me at your feet,
bestowing on me the essence of all perfection?

In both of these songs, Bhaktivinoda follows the classical tradition established by Narottam Das of
praying to his spiritual master in hissiddha form as a Manjari. It is thus clear that Bhaktivinoda had not
only taken initiation, but had also received siddha-prali from his guru. Shukavak Das has argued in
his work on Bhaktivinoda that he followed the Rasa-rja concept of worship that had been developed in
the early days of the Baghna Para line. (8)

In Kalya-kalpa-taru, Bhaktivinoda Thakur also offers heartfelt prayers for the association of Srimati
Ananga Manjari in the spiritual world, further showing a strong affinity for Jahnava Mata, the original
preceptor in Bipin Bihari Goswami's line.

Cooperation between Bhaktivinoda Thakur and his spiritual master continued on other levels to the
very end of the formers active career as a writer and preacher, which may be said to have come about
in around 1907, the date of his last published work and after which his health began to deteriorate

Most notably, Bipin Bihari participated in the meeting of dignitaries in Krishnagar in 1893, helping
Bhaktivinoda Thakur to launch the great project of establishing Chaitanyas birthplace in Mayapur.
Bipin Bihari's magnum opus, Daa-mla-rasa, written in 1898, not only quotes a verse written by
Bhaktivinoda in 1896, but seems to have been inspired by it. (9) In his autobiographical notes to that
work, Bipin Bihari proudly mentions Kedarnath Datta as his disciple. All indications are that from 1880
up until at least 1901, the two worked harmoniously. Nowhere has anyone been able to demonstrate
that Bhaktivinoda Thakur ever said anything negative or dismissive about Bipin Bihari Gosvami.

Some, like Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha Maharaj(10), say that Bhaktivinoda "did not imbibe any of the
conceptions of Bipin Bihari Goswami." He argues that Bhaktivinoda placed central importance on the
chanting of the Holy Names "in contrast to the stress on siddha-prali given by Bipin Bihari Goswami."
This of course is nonsense, for on the one hand Bipin Bihari Goswami's first book was written in
glorification of the Holy Name (Harinmmta-sindhu), and on the other, Bhaktivinoda himself stressed
the siddha-prali method of bhajan in at least three of his books: Jaiva-dharma, Caitanya-
ikmta and Harinma-cintmai. Bhaktivinoda followed the siddha pranali system himself and
passed it on to his son Lalita Prasad, to whom he gave initiation.

Did Bhaktivinoda Thakur ever reject Bipin Bihari Goswami?

This would then appear to be the very image of a perfectly harmonious guru-disciple relationship, were
it not for a number of issues that were raised in the years following the deaths of both Bhaktivinoda
and Bipin Bihari. The classical statement of this position is given by Rupa Vilasa Dasa in his biography of
Bhaktivinoda Thakur,The Seventh Goswami:

Bipin Bihari Goswami initially enjoyed a very sweet relationship with the Thakur, but later he is said to
have been neglected by the Thakur due to a disagreement about the position of Raghunath Das
Goswami. He also assisted the Thakur in his preaching work, but his spiritual advancement was not on
the same level as the "Commander-in-chief of the Vaishavas," as Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji came to
be called... (11)

This proposition is riddled with misconceptions, but arises as a result of a need to explain why the
initiating spiritual master of Bhaktivinoda Thakur is not a part of Siddhanta Saraswati's disciplic
succession. Siddhanta Saraswati may have felt it necessary to reject Bipin Bihari Goswami, but how can
this be explained if Bhaktivinoda Thakur himself did not do so?

Saraswatis disciples have adopted his concept of prioritizing teaching (siksha) over formal ordination
(diksha) as a sign of relationship and a marker of disciplic succession. They thus wish to establish that
the renunciate bhajananandi Jagannath Das was more significant in Bhaktivinoda Thakurs life than
Bipin Bihari Goswami, who represents the Gaudiya Math's bte noirethe householder Vaishnava born
in the traditional guru families.

At the time Bhaktivinoda was living, however, the siksha and diksha gurus would have occupied
complementary roles, not exclusive of one another. Even if Bhaktivinoda had considered Jagannath to
be more advanced than his own initating spiritual master, a not at all unusual or offensive attitude,
this would not have affected his disciplic relationship with Bipin Bihari Goswami. Scripture is clear:
there can only be one initiating guru, who is not to be abandoned unless there is a sign of complete
destitution from the spiritual path. There appears to be no evidence of this in the case of Bipin Bihari

Some representatives of the Gaudiya Math such as Narasingha Maharaj try to discredit Bipin Bihari by
saying that he was engaged in less than exemplary behavior such as smoking tobacco. On the one hand
this is hearsay; on the other, this in itself would probably not been considered sufficient criterion for
rejection. After all, would Bhaktivinoda Thakur not have been aware of this from the very beginning of
his relationship?

Other oft-heard statements linking Jagannath Das Babaji to Bhaktivinoda Thakur as his real spiritual
master are that he took vesh from him (another misconception, by the way, for this was a unilateral
act performed years after the Babaji's death), or because Jagannath helped him to discover the place
of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhus appearance, or that Bhaktivinoda called him "Vaishnava-sarvabhauma."
None of these, however, indicate that Bhaktivinoda Thakur rejected his initiating spiritual master. It is
evident from Bhaktivinodas relationship with own son and disciple, Lalita Prasad, that he held the
diksha relationship to be paramount, at least when it came to the understanding of initiation and
disciplic succession.

The Raghunath Das Goswami Issue

A more significant claim coming from the Gaudiya Math is that Bhaktivinoda Thakur rejected Bipin
Bihari because he had taken an unsavory stance on the Raghunath Das Goswami issue. Little can truly
be ascertained here, but we shall examine it briefly anyway. The setting of this incident is the famous
Balighai meeting that took place on Bhadra 22, 1318 (i.e., September 1911). (12)

Here is the summary of this position as expressed by Narasingha Maharaj:

In 1911 there was an famous assembly of scholars held in Medinipur (Bengal) wherein the topic of
debate was to be on "Brahmin and Vaishnavas." Bipin Bihari Goswami was present at that assembly and,
as was already known, he would side with the brahmana community on the platform that brahmana
Vaishnavas were automatically superior to non-Brahmin Vaishnavas, due to a brahmana being born in a
higher caste. Bhaktivinode Thakura was also invited to attend that assembly. The conflict between he
(sic) and Bipin Bihari was destined. Bhaktivinoda Thakur--not wanting to take a position of confronting
and attempting to defeat his "diksha guru" in a public forum declined to attend the meeting on the plea
of bad health. In his place he sent Saraswati Thakur (age 37) to represent the Gaudiya Vaishnava
Siddhanta in the line of Sri Rupa and Raghunath Das Goswami, as per the teachings of Mahaprabhu. We
all know what happened in the meeting."

In his book on the history of the Baghna Pada Vaishnavas, Kanan Bihari Goswami makes the following
interesting statement: "He [Bipin Bihari Goswami] defeated the scriptural considerations of the Smarta
pandits and demonstrated the superiority of Gaudiya Vaishnavism." Evidently, there seems to be some
misunderstanding: both traditions hold that their man was defending the same position.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura did for sometime show formal respect to Bipin Bihari Goswami. But when the
Goswami disrespected Srila Raghunath Das Goswami by thinking that he can give blessings to Raghunath
Das, the prayojana-acarya, because Raghunath Das was from a "lower caste," the Thakur distanced
himself more from Bipin Bihari Goswami.(13)

I have heard, though I have not been able to get it confirmed, that a statement of this type was made
by one of Bipin Bihari Goswami's more zealous disciples, a young zamindar by the name of Choudhary
Jadabendranandan. This then was attributed to Bipin Bihari, but once this attribution became tradition
it has been established a a "fact" though no real evidence can be found to substantiate it. Since Bipin
Bihari Goswami spoke strongly at the Midnapur debate that Vaishnavas were superior to Brahmins, this
accusation becomes even more doubtful and seems likely to be the result of some misunderstanding.

All Vaishnavas are agreed that the Vaishnava is superior to a Brahmin in the karma kanda. There are,
however, some subtleties that have arisen in the course of time that were objected to by reformers
like Siddhanta Saraswati. These were principally the incursion of caste conventions into Gaudiya
Vaishnavism. This will require something of a detour into other matters, but we will do so since they
are not without relevance to the subject at hand.
The debate around Raghunath Das arises from the fact that of the six Goswamis, he was the only one
who was not born in the Brahminical caste. He was also the first person known to have worshiped the
Giridhari shila, which was given to him by Lord Chaitanya himself. The question asked by the Brahmin
Vaishnavas is why Mahaprabhu confided the worship of Giridhari in him rather than Shalagram, as was
worshiped by Rupa and Gopal Bhatta Goswamis? Some consider this to be exemplary behavior on
Mahaprabhus part, setting the standard of behavior for non-Brahmin Vaishnavas, by putting Shalagram
worship, like the Gayatri mantra and sacred thread, out of their purview. As with the wearing of
saffron cloth, the standards of behavior of the associates of Mahaprabhu are considered law that stands
above scripture. Thus, though scripture approves the worship of Shalagram by non-Brahmin Vaishnavas,
the maryada followed by most Gaudiyas not born in the Brahmin caste is that they do not do so.

The usual reference is found in Jiva Goswami's commentary to Srimad Bhagavatam (3.33.6).(14) He
there states that there is no need for a non-Brahmin Vaishnava to perform the savana-yajna, even
though the verse clearly states there he is so so free from sin that he is "eligible" to do so. Jiva
interprets this to mean that a low-caste Vaishnava is more revered than a Brahmin, but that this verse
does not specifically permit him to act as a karma-kanda Brahmin. The primary reason for this is that is
such sacrifices are outside the scope of a Vaishnava's duties or desires. Vishwanath Chakravarti (himself
a Brahmin) has elaborated further on this point to some degree, stating that since such sacrificial
activities are lower on the spiritual hierarchy than direct service to Krishna, they are not to be taken
up even by Brahmin Vaishnavas.

In other words, Gaudiya Vaishnavism historically did not interfere with the social status quo. Siddhanta
Saraswatis daiva-varnashramideas were radically opposed to this vision, as he tried to democratize the
Brahminical function and open it, so to speak, to people from all castes and races.

Narasingha Maharaj also repeats the received Gaudiya Math tradition, no doubt heard from Saraswati
himself, that Bipin Bihari arrogantly claimed that he, as a Brahmin, was in a position to bless
Raghunath, a Shudra. This kind of statement is obviously inflammatory. All evidence indicates that
Raghunath, as a humble Vaishnava, would have observed the social protocol of the time and would
have offered due respects to any Brahmin.(15) There is external protocol and inner spiritual
achievement. The external protocol is based on social position, not on inner worth. Hari Das Thakur
observed the protocols of Jagannath Puri: despite being universally recognized as a man who was as
holy if not more so than the Brahmins who served Jagannath, he never attempted to enter the temple
there. Sanatan also respected the Puri Brahmins' ritual purity out of extreme humility and avoided
coming in contact with them.

No doubt caste prestige and position are dangerous spiritually and also lead to social abuse. From a
Marxist perspective, the only way that the lower caste or casteless Vaishnava could gain a modicum of
social prestige was to become a renunciate, in other words, to take himself completely out of society
and forfeit any worldly privileges. But such critiques are entirely separate and distinct from those
found in the scriptures, where the issue is only whether a lower caste Hindu can enhance himself
socially (and by extension his family) by becoming a Vaishnava. As the Vaishnava is supposed to be
indifferent to Varnashram, elevation to Brahminical duties through his religious activities or spiritual
achievements is clearly counterindicated.
We are, of course, dealing with a feudal mentality that functions within the static agrarian culture of
the Indian middle ages. What transpired is to a great degree the result of a clash of civilizations--
egalitarian Western concepts had started to be internalized in Bengali society through the reform or
renaissance movements that began with Ram Mohun Roy. Though some kind of spiritual egalitarianism
may have been inherent in Vaishnavism, I think it is not excessive to say that no external
transformation of social hierarchies ever took place in Gaudiya Vaishnava, nor that it was ever
intended. In the opinion of a Ramakanta Chakravarty, it never was, though Bengali Vaishnavism did at
least stop the hemorrhaging of lower caste Hindus to the socially more egalitarian Muslims, winning
them back into accepting Brahminical leadership. With very few exceptions, Mahaprabhus close
associates were Brahmins and the non-Brahmins amongst them were perhaps nothing more than
representative "tokens."

Scriptures like the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, which suggest that where possible one should take a guru who is
a Brahmin, in the absence of which one should take a guru who is in a higher caste than oneself, are
marginalized by the Gaudiya Math as a mere concession to the caste-conscious times. Nevertheless,
their very sanction in Gaudiya Vaishnava rulebooks would indicate that maintaining existing Hindu
caste conventions was not an aberration in Vaishnava society.

To summarize: It would appear that Bipin Bihari took the conventional position held by orthodox
Gaudiya Vaishnavas prior to Saraswati Thakur in holding that though a Vaishnava was spiritually
superior to a Brahmin, that did not accord a Vaishnava any specific social rights. Saraswati strongly
contested this social conservatism and his Daiva Varnashram doctrine was a powerful element in his
preaching movement.

To establish Bipin Biharis position, however, we are on shaky territory, for we are not in possession of
any of his writings, nor do we have an objective account of the Balighai meeting that could shed
further light on these controversies. With only a partisan account of these matters, we cannot make
any conclusive pronouncements. But, on the whole, since Bipin Bihari's position at worst would have
been conventional, it does not seem that in itself it would have been cause for Bhaktivinoda Thakur to
reject him. And, of course, as stated, there is no evidence that he did so.

Did Bipin Bihari Goswami reject Bhaktivinoda Thakur?

More significant and troubling for disciples in the line of Bhaktivinoda is evidence that Bipin Bihari
Goswami rejected Bhaktivinoda because of "preaching untruths" about the birthplace of Chaitanya

As mentioned above, Bipin Bihari was one of the first directors of the committee to oversee the
worship of Sriman Mahaprabhu, newly established at the Yogapith in Mayapur by Bhaktivinoda Thakur in
1891. However, though many significant personalities in the Vaishnava world participated in these
events, not everyone accepted this as the true birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Not long afterward, controversy arose when a certain Vraja Mohan Das Babaji, an engineer in his life
before renunciation, declared that the so-called Yogapith in Mayapur was false and that the real one
was in Ranichora, a suburb of Nabadwip that had recently been reclaimed from the receding
Ganges. (16)

After the disappearance of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur in 1914 these controversies became quite shrill,
and nasty exchanges went on between the followers of Saraswati Thakur and the Nabadwip adherents.
This time, however, Bipin Bihari Goswami sided with the Nabadwip Goswamis and in 1919 rejected the
claims of Bhaktivinoda and his son in a small newspaper of his own called Gauranga-sevaka Patrika.

Unhappy with the Miapur controversy. In order to show his commitment to the Nabadwip, [Bipin Bihari]
held a festival in honor of Vamsivadanananda Thakur in Kuliya in 1919. He disappeared the same year.
(K. B. Goswami, 542) (17)

Since this rejection took place after Bhaktivinodas disappearance, it may well be that Saraswati and
his disciples heavy-handed approach to the debate contributed to Bipin Biharis making a break of this
sort. However, it is not unlikely that he became convinced that Bhaktivinoda had wilfully fabricated
evidence to promote the Mayapur birthsite.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur and the three books

Did Bhaktivinoda Thakur fabricate evidence to promote the Mayapur birthsite? I cannot answer the
question where the historical and geographical evidence is concerned. However, I am seriously
disturbed by the evidence that Bhaktivinoda Thakur manufactured literary evidence to support the
validity of Chaitanya as avatar and the nine-islands theory of Nabadwip, which in turn is meant to
promote the Mayapur birthplace.

In the 1890s, the Thakur wrote a Bengali verse work, Nabadwip-dhama-mahatmya, which he published
under his own name. This book is a pretty typical "Sthala Mahatmya" style of text. Most Sthala-puranas
introduce many puranic or Vedic personalities and ascribe to them activities and words that glorify the
place in question. The events described in Nabadwip-dhama-mahatmya are quite radical: Madhva and
Ramanuja are not the only names that are dropped in this book there are also demigods, Vedic rishis,
and other historical figures like Jayadeva, all of whom spend time in Mahaprabhus Dham and have
premonitions of His future appearance there.

Had Nabadwip-dhama-mahatmya been written in Puranic Sanskrit two or three hundred years earlier, it
may have been insinuated into the Skanda Purana or Padma Purana and achieved canonical status. But
as it is, the Thakur decided to publish it in Bengali and in his own name. This could only mean that he
was either sufficiently confident of his own position as a "realized Vaishnava" who could claim to have
mystic visions of this sort and be believed, or that he never intended for it to be taken literally as
history, but as a fanciful work in glorification of Mahaprabhu. The Gaudiya Math and others who believe
in the divine status of Bhaktivinoda take this work as literal "truth," but to those who do not share in
the vision of a Nabadwip which has its center in Mayapur, it is a gratuitous fabrication.

The Vaishnavas no doubt believe that in some dimension or alternate reality these events were not only
possible, but historically true, even if they were not necessarily so in our universe. In this sense, we
can compare it to his other works like HarinAma-cintAmaNi, which Bhaktivinoda Thakur wrote as a
conversation between Haridas Thakur and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Jagannath Puri, or Jaiva Dharma,
which includes characters like Gopal Guru Goswami and Dhyana Chandra a kind of historical fiction,
as it were. There is a certain literary license that has been taken here and is not problematic as long as
we recognize the genre.

However, three books that the Thakur published as ancient works were almost certainly composed by
him. These three --CaitanyopaniSad (1887), Prema-vivarta (1906) and Navadvipa-satakam (n.d.) have
certain common characteristics they were all connected to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the
glorification of his birthplace. The motives are fairly clear: the Thakur was trying to promote
Mahaprabhus birthplace and he did it in a fashion time-honored in India. He simply wrote the material
he needed and attributed it to someone who had historical credibility. Rather than attributing his
works to Vyasa or Narottam Das Thakur as did the counterfeiters of the past, he used the names of
Jagadananda Pandit and Prabodhananda Saraswati. (18)

Bhaktivinoda Thakur did in fact publish many rare manuscripts of genuine Vaishnava literature, such
as Sri Krishna Vijaya, manypadyAvalis, etc. He was not the only one in his time who yielded to the
temptation of counterfeiting. Nevertheless, I personally find it problematic that someone who
contributed so much to the Vaishnava religion, who worked so hard to instill a spirit of morality and
honesty into Vaishnavism, whose life was in general a monument of commitment to service to
Mahaprabhu and His principles, who in his worldly life was a justice and so presumably knew a thing or
two about ethics and the law, saw fit to take such a chance.

Furthermore, in view of his familiarity with scholarly historical method, it is hard to understand how he
thought that he could get away with it. Perhaps he thought his personal probity put him above
suspicion. But did he really think that a single manuscript found by chance in mysterious circumstances
only to disappear again after its publication would not cause people to examine the published text
more carefully? And if that text contains elements of language and content that not only point to a
modern origin, but to the very person who claims to have found the manuscript, will our suspicions not
be confirmed?

I can only say that in his enthusiasm to see Mahaprabhus birthplace be glorified and become a center
of pilgrimage as it has indeed become the Thakur took a chance with his personal reputation and
that of his religion. He succeeded in making Mayapur a magnet for pilgrims from around the world. His
disciples, grand-disciples and great-grand-disciples have succeeded in creating an environment that is
quite extraordinary. Nevertheless, one cannot help but wonder at the masi-bindu that stains his
otherwise sparkling white cloth. Can we not expect people to ask the question that naturally arises:
How can a religion that needs lies to spread its message make any claims to be the truth?

It does not give me pleasure to remind us, who are accustomed to thinking negatively of Bipin Bihari
Goswami as someone who was rejected for his caste consciousness and bad habits like tobacco
smoking, that he publicly renounced Bhaktivinoda Thakur as his disciple shortly before dying in 1919.
The reason he gave for this drastic act was precisely for "preaching falsehoods" connected to the
birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is easy to condemn Bipin Bihari Prabhu for having some self-
interest in this matter, but the doubts that have been brought up in this article tend to give
justification to the Goswami.
I find it rather painful to bring the matter up, and I do so in the full expectation of being heartily
condemned, but I would like to see those who love the Holy Name and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu face this
problem head on, much in the way that Roman Catholics have decided to accept the terrible things in
their history things which are many times worse than those we have mentioned here and still find a
way to justify their faith.

Faith has to be honest to be genuine, and such honesty has to extend to our forefathers, even those to
whom we have attributed the highest spiritual perfection. It is a shock to accept that our divinities may
have had human failings, but I think this is a necessary step in facing our own failings.

Human psychology is such that we often compensate for our own human frailties by placing faith in
someone else. We say, "I am not perfect, but my guru is. I have no personal qualifications, but this
does not matter because the parampara is perfect." This is a psychological trick and results in ego-
inflation. By identifying with the guru and the parampara, we appropriate their perfection and their
authority for ourselves. Unfortunately, this expands into the kind of distorted personal psychology that
is not only historically present in Iskcon, but in many of the interactions between devotees who are
otherwise sincere.


(1)The biographical information is taken from Kanana Bihari Gosvami. Baghnapada Sampradaya o
Vaishnava Sahitya. Calcutta: Rabindra Bharati Vishwa-vidyalaya, pp. 526-32, 541-3.

(2) Bipin Bihari wrote some autobiographical notes in his Dasamula-rasa, where he mentions his
relationship with Bhaktivinoda Thakur. The complete text is given in note 4 below.

(3) Jivani, 155-6. Translation by Shukavak Das, Hindu Encounter with Modernity, p. 92.

(4) The following is taken from Daamla-rasa by Bipin Bihari Goswami (pp.1216-1219):

The best and dearest of my disciples is Sri Bhaktivinoda Kedarnath Datta, who is pleasing to everyone.
He is the ornament of the Datta lineage and a true devotee of the Lord. He has received many honors
from those who are loyal to the government. He wrote me from Jagannath Puri over a period of three
years telling me of his desire for devotion (bhaktylope ?). Then he and his wife took initiation from me
at his home in Narail. At the time he first took shelter, he was Narails magistrate and was living there.
His actual home was in Calcutta, the capital city, at 181 Ram Bagan [Lane]. As a government servant
he was making a good living and he now has seven sons. Since taking mantra from me, he has liberally
supported me and defrayed all my household expenses. From that day, I have had no further worries
about my personal living costs, all thanks to the devotion of this disciple. Yet although he has
performed such extensive service, he has never been satisfied and always expresses regret that he is
not able to do more to serve his guru. He quotes the scriptures sac-chiyair guru-nikti"Good
disciples protect the spiritual master from all danger" and says that he has not been able to fulfill this
command. I know it well that both he and his wife often sincerely express regrets like this.
Bhagavati Devi is devoted to her husband-guru and engaged in his service with an attitude of pure
devotion, just like the goddess Sati is to Shiva. Just as Kedarnath is a great devotee, his wife Bhagavati
is also. When they saw the extent of Kedarnaths devotion and knowledge, the Goswamis of Sripat
Baghnapara were very pleased and gave him the title "Bhaktivinoda" along with a certificate. Everyone
is aware of this because it was published in the newspaper. Nevertheless, to bring satisfaction to
everyone, I reproduce the text of that document here:

zr-paa-baghnp-nivsibhir gosvmibhi r-kedrantha-dattya bhaktya iyya kpay

bhaktivinodopdhi pradatt |
iyasya rmata sdhor govinda-caraaiia |
kedrantha-dattasya jayo bhavatu sarvad ||1||
prabho caitanya-candrasya matasya cnuvartina |
pracrakasya str bhakti-mrga-pravartinm ||2||
r-rdh-ka-viay tava bhaktim anuttamm |
dv ko na vimuhyeta loke'smin vaiava-priya ||3||
y bhakti labhitu avad vcanti bhagavat-priy |
t bhakti hdaye dhtv dhanyo'si priya-sevaka ||4||
jvasya jvanopya ek bhaktir garyas |
ato bhaktivinodkhya updhi pratighyatm ||5||

The Goswamis residing in the holy site of Baghna Para mercifully bestow the title of Bhaktivinoda on
the devotee and disciple Kedarnath Datta.

1. May you, our pious disciple Kedarnath Datta, who desire nothing but the lotus feet of Govinda, be
ever glorious.

2. You faithfully follows the doctrines taught by our Master, Chaitanya Chandra, and you actively
preach the scriptures that establish the path of devotional service.

3. Seeing your unequalled devotion for Radha and Krishna, O you who are dear to the Vaishnavas, what
person in this world would not be enchanted?

4. The kind of devotion that the Lords dearest associates ever desire to attain is held in your heart, so
you are most fortunate, O beloved servant.

5. The supreme and only benefit for the living beings is devotion to Krishna. Therefore, please accept
this title of Bhaktivinoda.

The Goswamis of Baghnapara joyfully gave this honor to him in the month of Magh in the 400th year
after the birth of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The many books that Kedar has written on the subject of bhakti are proof of his vast learning in the
subject. After much research into the matter, he discovered the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu in Nabadwip Mayapur. Genuine devotees always sing his glories and only the false
renouncers and cheaters criticize him. Because he is my disciple, I shall not go on and on, but have
only told the essential so that everyone knows [of our relationship]. I bless him that he, his wife,
children and grandchildren will all have long life and conduct their affairs for the pleasure of Krishna.
May he and his wife always be engaged in the service of Krishans lotus feet.

The following is Bhaktivinodas note on the title from Sva-likhita-jvan (p. 176-177):

I forgot to write one thing. When the leaders of my spiritual masters family saw the work I was doing
publishing Vaishnava literature, they were pleased and gave me the title Bhaktivinoda. Here is a copy
of the certificate they gave me on that occasion. (See above)

Signed: Sri Bipin Bihari Goswami, Sri Tinkori Goswami, Sri Gopal Chandra Goswami, Sri Gaurachandra
Goswami, Sri Ramachandra Goswami, Sri Yajneshwar Goswami, Sri Binod Bihari Goswami, Sri Yadunath
Goswami, Sri Binod Bihari Goswami, Sri Yogendra Chandra Goswami, Sri Gopal Chandra Goswami, Sri
Hemachandra Goswami, Sri Chandra Bhushan Goswami, Sri Kanailal Goswami, Sri Haradhan Goswami.

I responded to this honor by dedicated the following verses to the Goswamis of my Guru Pat.

r-ka-caitanya-candrya nama
jayata r-rmakau bghnpall-vibhaau |
jhnav-vallabhau rmacandra-krti-svarpakau ||1||
vyghro'pi vaiava skt yat-prabhvd babhva tat |
bghnpllytmaka vande rpa gaua-pvanam ||2||
r-vavadannanda-prabhor vaa-pradpakn |
crynumatn sarvn mad-deika-varn prabhn ||3||
te prasda-leena jaopdhau gate mama |
bhaktivinoda-prakhytir dsasya vidyate'dhun ||4||
ye kp-lavenpi bhito'ham updhin |
te pda-saroje me sga-daavan-nati ||5||
r-rmapurata | ktjalir nivedanam etat te cira-sevakasya sarva-vaiava-dsnudsasya
bhaktivinodopdhikasya r-kedrantha-dattasya

1. I offer salutations to Sri Krishna Chaitanya Chandra. May Balaram and Krishna, the jewels of Baghna
Para, the beloved deities of Jahnavi Devi and the bringers of fame to Sri Ramachandra Goswami, be
ever glorious.

2. I worship the village of Baghna Para, which purifies the land of Gauda. Its spiritual power is so great
that it turned even a tiger into a devotee of Krishna.
3. I also worship all the descendants of Sri Vamsivadananda Thakur, my masters and instructors in the
spiritual path.

4. Through just a small fragment of their blessings, the identification of this servant with his body has
disappeared and henceforth he shall be known as Bhaktivinoda.

5. By their mercy, I have been graced with this title and so I prostrate myself at their lotus feet.

Signed at Sri Rampur by Kedarnath Datta, now entitled Bhaktivinoda, the eternal servant of the
descendants of Ramchandra Goswami and all the Vaishnavas.


vipina-vihr hari tra akti avatari

vipina-vihr prabhu-vara
r-guru-gosvm-rpe dekhi more bhava-kpe
uddharila pana kikara

"Krishna, known as Bipin Bihari, made his energy descend into this world as Bipin Bihari Goswami, my
lord. Seeing me, his humble servant, in the dark well of worldly existence, he took the form of my
spiritual master me delivered him." (Amta-pravha-bhya, p. 1687)


ri-ka-caitanya-kpa-ptra-sri-bilvamagalya nama
guror hare pada dhytv zr-vipina-vihria
ka-karmtasyeya bh-vykhy viracyate

I offer respectful obeisance to Sri Bilvamangala Thakur, the recipient of Lord Krishna Chaitanyas
mercy. Meditating on the holy feet of my guru Sri Bipina Bihari and Lord Hari, I am writing this Bengali
translation and explanation of the Ka-karmtam.


vipina-vihr prabhu mama prabhu-vara


"My exalted spiritual master, Bipina Bihari Prabhu, is the brilliant moon in the family of Sri Vamsi
(8) Page 93. This still has to be demonstrated, as the exact nature of the Rasaraja concept as distinct
from the doctrines of Rupa and Jiva Goswamis has yet to be analyzed

(9) Gaurga-smaraa-magala-stotra, 75.

(10) All references to B. G. Narasingha Maharaj are to his book The Authorized Sri Chaitanya Saraswata
Parampara. Bangalore: Gosai Publishers, 1998.

(11) The Seventh Goswami (Washington, MS: New Jaipur Press, 1989), 142-4.

(12) Goswami, 528. Sources of the information are not given.

(13) We do have the Siddhanta Saraswati version that came out of this meeting, Vaman Maharaj writes
in the introduction that he made a statement (Nivedana, page 1) about Raghunath Das Goswami, but
no mention is made that Raghunath was a Brhmaa o vaiava tratamya viayaka siddhnta.
NavadvIpa: r-Gauya-vednta-samiti, 1995. This is the third edition of this work. The first two were
published in 1920 (by the three trustees of the Chaitanya Math) and 1934 (by the Viva-vaiava-rja-
sabh), both during Saraswatis lifetime.

(14) Also in the Durgama-sagaman commentary on Bhakti-rasmta-sindhu 1.1.22 and Bhakti-

sandarbha 128.

(15) He was a kyastha, which according to the strict conventions of Bengal society made him a

Bhaktivinode Thakur falsified evidence in order to claim that Mayapur was the real
birthplace of Caitanya Mahaprabhu

He falsified the following three books- Chaitanya Upanishad, Navadvipa Satakam and Prema

An Analysis of Three Suspicious Texts

As requested, I am making this article available on the blog.

Some time ago, I wrote an article about Bipin Bihari Goswami and Bhaktivinoda Thakur in which I
alluded to three books, Chaitanya Upanishad, Navadvipa Satakam and Prema Vivarta, and made the
rather audacious claim that they had been penned by Bhaktivinoda Thakur and ascribed by him to the
Atharva Veda, Prabodhananda Saraswati and Jagadananda Pandit respectively. This has understandably
resulted in much anger against me amongst those who love Bhaktivinoda Thakur and feel forever
indebted to him for their spiritual life. To state that Bhaktivinoda may have been engaged in unethical
practices seems to be an insult against his spotless character. To all those who have been offended by
the manner in which I originally made this statement, I offer my most sincere apologies. I consider
myself the grand-disciple of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, and it is certainly not my intention to
undermine the great work that he or his disciplic descendants all over the world have done.
Nevertheless, I think that some important points are at issue here and so I am revisiting the subject in
this two-part article.

To begin with, I would like to go into some detail about why I suspected Bhaktivinoda Thakur of writing
these works in the first place. I think it is necessary to illustrate in as clear as possible a way the
evidence that favors such a conclusion. In the second part of this article, I shall discuss to the best of
my ability what the implications of such an accusation, if true, are for those who venerate him as their
guru varga. I shall also clarify my motivations for doing so.

I consider it unjust of anyone to judge another simply on the basis of their conclusions, without
studying the reasons that lead them to making them. If I receive my bank statement at the end of the
month and find that I am overdrawn, I should not immediately conclude that someone has stolen my
check book and debit card. I have to carefully look over the itemized list of transactions and base my
conclusion on that. An unpleasant conclusion is not necessarily a wrong one.

Much of the reaction to what I have written comes of objections to my personal life and the choices I
have made. I am accustomed to being treated as a guru tyagi and hearing this used as a fundamental
argument to delegitimize anything I may say. A snake only exudes poison, the argument goes, and so
should be avoided at all costs. One may be surprised to hear me say that this is not altogether
unreasonable, as all scholars try to remain alert for the biases of those who hold any opinion. If a
scientist paid by a petroleum company speaks against the Kyoto Protocol, for example, then we
naturally suspect the impartiality of his findings.

Thus, if someone has a bias, it is perfectly legitimate to point it out, but only if it can be shown that he
manipulates data or evidence, or if his conclusions are not justified by his proofs. If, on the other hand,
you argue that because someone has a bias, the data and evidence must inevitably have been
manipulated, you cross the line of impartiality and reveal your own irrational prejudgements.
Remember: we often arrive at our biases as the result of examining the evidence. No one studies any
evidence without wanting to arrive at some conclusion. Those who are afraid of reaching an unpleasant
conclusion will avoid looking at the evidence.

Furthermore, if a conclusion drawn from evidence does not fit in with ones theology, then it is the
theology that must be brought into question. After all, both theology and philosophy deal with the
rational harmonization of truth/reality with a global and meaningful vision of the world and God. If one
closes ones eye to truth because it comes from the gutter, then ones philosophy is bound to be
flawed. This all seems rather self evident to me.
One can see this kind of argument in relationship to the subject matter of this article. Sripad Bhakti
Gaurava Narasingha, a respected Gaudiya Math monk and preacher, in his recent article, Scholarship vs
Divine Revelation, quotes his siksha guru, the late venerable Gaudiya Math sannyasi, Bhakti Rakshaka
Sridhar Maharaj, as follows:

Yes, there are many things [in Prema Vivarta] stated in the name of Gauranga that support Gaudiya
Math propaganda. So a particular section, those who are opposed to the Gaudiya Math, says that
Bhaktivinoda Thakur wrote this book in the name of Jagadananda. They hold this opinion simply
because that book supports the Gaudiya Math siddhantas very closely. For example, the Sahajiyas think
that when one lives in Puri, it is not necessary to observe the Ekadasi fast because of the glory of maha
prasad. It is said in the Chaitanya Charitamrita that one should honor maha prasad as soon as it is
given, so these people believe that if maha prasad is given, one should not refuse it, even on the
Ekadasi day. In Jagadananda Pandita's Prema Vivarta, however, it is clearly written that when
Mahaprabhu was offered maha prasad [on Ekadasi], He touched it to His head respectfully and kept it
for the next while He chanted sankirtan the whole day and night. He then broke his fast with that
prasadam on the following morning.

There are many other things in Prema Vivarta that similarly give proof positive of Gaudiya Math ideas
and it is thus very helpful for our preachers. A certain university professor [Biman Bihari] Majumdar
wrote a book [Chaitanya Chariter Upadan] in which he stated very cleverly that it is not clear who
wrote Prema Vivarta, but that it gives the Gaudiya Math people full support in their preaching activity.
Perhaps Professor Majumdar came from a sahajiya family. Thus though he accepted something of
Mahaprabhu he could not tolerate the Gaudiya Maths criticism of the sahajiya section. (Darsana, Sri
Caitanya Sarasvata Matha, Feb. 11, 1982; [edited for facility of comprehension])

This statement has the goal of deflecting any possibility of unscrupulousness onto Biman Bihari
Majumdar by accusing him of harbouring prejudices against the Gaudiya Math and allowing them to
influence his impartial examination of the facts. The late B. B. Majumdar was the first University of
Calcutta student to write his PhD dissertation in the Bengali language. In his thesis, published in 1935
as Chaitanya Chariter Upadan, he examined the various biographies of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,
analyzing the contradictions between differing versions of His life, weighing their relative merits to
determine which of them had the most value historically. If he concluded that the Prema Vivarta was
too good to be true and dismissed it with only a few words, we should not take this lightly.

Admittedly, Majumdar did not go into detail, so it may be argued that the question is still open. The
purpose of this article is to examine the authenticity of the three books in question as impartially as
possible on the basis of the information available to usthe texts themselves.

The kind of investigation I propose here is one that some readers may not be familiar with. So I will
just say a few words about how a philologist goes about determining the authenticity of a particular
text. The first question one must ask is whether the text is known from any other source. Authors often
cite other works, some of which are unknown. Such references are favorable to the establishment of a
texts authority. Their absence is not conclusive, but troubling.

Of utmost importance in any authentification procedure is the original manuscript itself. If one has the
original manuscript, one can examine the paper or palm leaves for their age, the handwriting for its
style (styles change in different times, so that handwriting from the 15th century can be clearly
differentiated from that of the 19th). Manuscripts are also often dated by the scribe, which is useful

The three books in question are remarkable for the absence of any manuscripts, either in the library of
Bhaktivinoda Thakur or those of his families or disciples, or indeed in any other manuscript library in
the world, so we only have Bhaktivinoda Thakurs word for it that they ever even existed.

Some people have suggested that damaged manuscripts were traditionally consecrated to the Ganges if
they were beyond repair. This may be true, but here again there are questions. In the case of rare
texts like these three, which contain much material that would no doubt have been seen as
controversial in the Vaishnava or Hindu world of the time, the expectation is that the discoverer would
have made them available for verification. An editor who wants to remain above suspicion does not
throw away the only existing manuscript of a rare and valuable text, no matter how badly damaged.

Furthermore, if, as we are led to believe in the case of the Prema Vivarta, the discovered manuscript
was in the handwriting of the author himself, it would have been seen as a sacred relic and preserved
religiously, irregardless of its condition.

But the above suggestion is based on the proposition that a manuscript is in very poor condition. It is
not unheard of for valuable ancient manuscripts to be discovered with missing pages, etc., and still be
brought to publication. If a manuscript was in a damaged state, then an editor in good faith indicates
missing pages or passagesan example that immediately comes to mind is the famousSri Krishna
kirtana of Badu Chandi Das. In the case of the three books in question, however, the published texts
show the contrary. Each of them appears to have been perfectly preserved, indicating that the
manuscripts must have been in excellent condition. There are no missing words where weevils ate
away the pages or where water was spilled, running the ink, or where old pages had crumbled or been
torn. If a manuscript of this quality had been found, surely it would not have needed consecrating to
the Ganges or the ocean!

Next, in the absence of a manuscript, it is very important to have the text as it was originally written.
There are many clues to be had about the age of a text from its orthography and language. There are
many regionalisms and dialectical differences in Bengali that can give us clues about the author of a
text. A text written by a Bengali who has lived a long time outside Bengal may show traces of this, such
as Krishna Das Kaviraj, whose Chaitanya Charitamrita contains many words of Brajabhasha. In the case
of our three books, the editor has not notified us of any editorial decisions, so we must assume that the
text has been left unchanged.

Though the language of the Prema Vivarta has many similarities to the medieval Bengali found in the
other works of the time, there are also a number of modern verb forms and locutions that rarely
appear in these other texts. For instance keGde rather than the expectedkAGdi, the Ti suffix, etc.

The third and most important source of information that can help us in assessing whether a book is
genuine or not is its content. How can this be done? The main method is comparing it with other texts
and known historical data and scrutinizing it for anachronisms. If we have an idea of the presumed date
of a text, this should be quite revealing. We are bound, of course, to base our conclusions on a linear
perception of history. Though miraculous events are sometimes said to be behind the discovery of
ancient texts, these claims must be treated with suspicion, as must texts that give detailed predictions
of future events. Thus if a text is said to have been written in the 1500s, we should not expect another
from the 1600s to be quoted, or other material from a later date to be found in it.

Someone may ask, how can we tell who has borrowed from whom? Or whether they have not borrowed
from a common source? The questions that will help us to solve these problems are the following: Is
one of the texts better known than the other? A well-known, widely disseminated text naturally has
more credibility than another, unknown and doubtful text. Does the later text acknowledge the
existence of the earlier one anywhere? What is the sequence of the borrowed material? Is the
borrowing wholesale or fragmented? Does it permeate one text or the other? What about context of the

There are other elements of content that may be anachronistic. We know that certain controversies
arose in the Gaudiya Vaishnava world at different times, which may not have been discussed
exhaustively in any of the early works of the sampradaya. The very inchoateness of early evidence is
often the reason for later controversies. If adequate answers had been given in the beginning, there
would have been no later controversy. Thus most of the debates of the 19th century are at least in part
due to conflicting or incomplete evidence in the early canonical texts. If an early text speaks too
directly to a later controversy, without any comparable contemporary discourse, then we must count
this as a point against its authenticity.

Lastly, it is the preponderence of such evidence that tips the balance. One or two of the
abovementioned anachronisms may be tolerated as coincidence, but when a book purported to be from
the 16th century is filled from beginning to end with statements that support the specific theological
positions of a 19th century author, alarm bells go off. If it is too good to be true, it probably is.

Chaitanya Upanishad
According to the introduction to the first edition of the Chaitanya Upanishad, Bhaktivinoda Thakur
states that the manuscript was sent him by a friend, Madhusudan Das, who also produced the Bengali
verse translation that appeared in the 1887 publication.

There does not appear to have been any kind of critical inquiry into the authenticity of the text. No
scholars were approached for an opinion. It was accepted at face value, a commentary written, and it
was published. No information was given about what then happened to the original manuscript, nor has
any other manuscript older than 1887 (or newer for that matter) ever been found elsewhere.
There are numerous catalogues of Sanskrit texts, including the Catalogus Catalogorum, which attempts
to include all manuscripts in all Indian libraries. When I was in London I was able to peruse these
catalogues in search of the Chaitanya Upanishad, but without success.

Sadhale has published an index to the Upanishads in which he catalogues no less than 223 titles,
including the 108 standard texts named in the Muktaka Upanishad. The Chaitanya Upanishad is
nowhere to be found in this list. Nor has it ever been named or quoted in any other text, such as those
written by the six Goswamis or later acharyas like Vishwanath or Baladeva. This preponderant silence
must be taken as damaging to any claims of the texts authenticity.

The Chaitanya Upanishad is a very short work. It contains only 19 sentences or verses, of which two are
verses taken directly from the Srimad Bhagavatam, namely 11.5.33 and 34. These two verses have only
been interpreted as refering to Chaitanya by later acharyas, most particularly by Vishwanath
Chakravarti Thakur. To find them in an Upanishad about Chaitanya indicates that this work was almost
certainly written after the 18th century. Such glaring anchronisms are what I call "red flags." Another
such red flag is the mention of the town of Nabadwip (jAhnavI tIre navadvIpe).

Most of the other verses in this text are pastiches of Upanishadic verses with Chaitanya's name
inserted. Later upanishads like Gopala Tapani typically take a few verses from the eleven oldest and
most authoritative upanishads and make a few changes or, in some cases, none at all.

All in all, these signs would clearly tell us that this upanishad was written very, very late, certainly
after Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's disappearance and probably long thereafter. The temptation to have
Sruti evidence for strongly held beliefs is the main reason that most of the 223 upanishads were
written. There is no reason to suppose that this is any different.

It has been said by some that the language of the Upanishads is difficult to imitate and that this text in
particular possesses characteristics, such as Vedic accent (svara), that are proof of its ancient
character. In fact, these characteristics are not all that hard to imitate. Most of the late upanishads
are written in a very simple, formulaic language, using certain key expressions (e.g., sa hovAca), the
formula of the disciple asking a question, usually in simple form (ko vA devatA, ko vA mantraH). As
already stated, many of these phrases are borrowed directly or calqued from other upanishads, like
Gopala Tapani (ya enam rasayati bhajati dhyAyati). The svara is present in the few archaic phrases like
sa hovAca, etc. I don't see anywhere that this effect could not have been produced by using earlier
texts as models.

Did Bhaktivinoda write the Chaitanya Upanishad? In 1886, a year before its publication, he wrote
Dasopanishad Curnika, which shows that he had been studying the Upanishads not long beforehand.
This means the Upanishadic mood and language were fresh in his mind. It is incorrect to argue that he
did not have the linguistic wherewithall to do so. He did publish it. He did comment on it. He
presented it unquestioningly as though bona fide, though in similar circumstances most people would
have been suspicious. He did not invite impartial third parties to assess the manuscript. He did not
preserve the manuscript, though in 1887 Aufrecht was making his great researches into Sanskrit
manuscripts in eastern India, an exercise that was surely not unknown to Bhaktivinoda.
Navadvipa Satakam (NS)
We have no information about the date of publication of NS. This work is attributed to Prabodhananda
Saraswati, but is almost definitely that of someone else. No reputable scholar that I know of takes this
work seriously as an original composition by Prabodhananda.

Prabodhananda is a problematic author for numerous reasons and I have written at length on him and
his work, which I, like many other Gaudiya Vaishnavas, have savoured with relish. It would not be
unusual if this work had never been mentioned by any other Gaudiya author, so an argument against its
authenticity ab silentio should not be taken as particularly meaningful. Even so, no copies of this book
have ever been found and none are listed in any catalogue of Sanskrit manuscripts.

The most noticeable feature of NS is that nearly every verse is taken directly from either
Prabodhanandas Vrindavana-mahimamritam(VMA) or Caitanya-candramritam (CCA). Only a few words
in each verse have been changed to make it relevant to Nabadwip. If indeed Prabodhananda had
written NS, he must have done so while in the East prior to establishing himself in Vrindavan. This
would mean that his VMS was written after NS. It is almost inconceivable that any author would
plunder his own previous work so ruthlessly and in such crass fashion. Judging from the selective
method in which VMA verses appear in NS, it is clear to any impartial observer that NS has been
created from the former, with a few verses from CCA thrown in at the end.

No effort has been made to disguise the borrowing, which is wholesale and with few exceptions follows
the exact same verse order as found in what I believe to be the original texts. A few verses appear to
be original. I count 13 that are not to be found in either CCA or VMA: 13, 76, 78-83, 98-99, and 102. In
all, 74 verses are from VMA (all from the 17th sataka), and 15 from CCA. For the full text of NS with a
concordance to VMS and CCA, see Navadvipa Satakam.

In my article on Prabodhananda, I have shown that he most likely did visit Nabadwip. The town is
mentioned in five verses of CCA: 1, 83, 100-102 (three of which are found in NS as verses 85, 88 and
97). In CCA, Prabodhananda never mentions the names of the nine islands, about which the Gaudiya
Vaishnava school is completely silent prior to Narahari's relatively late Bhakti-ratnakara. In Navadvipa
Satakam, however, Godrumadwip, where Bhaktivinoda Thakur had his own residence, is named no less
than ten times. Mayapur is similarly named five times, and all the other islands at least once. Since the
nine islands theory of Nabadwip was particularly important to Bhaktivinoda Thakur, this must be
considered a particularly bright red flag.

The most charitable way of looking at NS is that the author made the changes and then, in recognition
of the preponderance of Prabodhanandas original authorship, gave him credit for the composition.
This is indeed the diplomatic position taken by Haridas Das. Of the three books in question, this is the
only one he mentions in his Gaudiya Vaishnava Abhidhana. There he writes,
This book of 102 verses has been ascribed to Prabodhananda Saraswati. It describes the glories of
Nabadwip in a language and style almost exactly like that of the Vrindavana-mahimamrita. In some
places, a few verses have been quoted from Chaitanya Chandramrita, with a few changes added.
Though Prabodhananda wrote a hundred centuries of verses in glorification of Vrindavan, the flow of
creativity knew no interruption. It is not easy to believe that in writing a hundred verses about
Nabadwip he would plunder his own work, making only slight changes to suit the new subject matter. It
is my impression that some great personality who had deep feeling for the glories of the land of
Nabadwip adapted the language and mood of Prabodhanandas hymn to write this new work and then
attributed it to him. Unless we can see one or two manuscripts of this work, it will be impossible for us
to remove this doubt. (page 1581)

A less charitable view is that the author's intent was to enlist Prabodhanandas name in support of the
nine islands concept of Nabadwip, the name of Mayapur, etc.

It is impossible to say for certain whether Bhaktivinoda Thakur himself composed NS, but the suspicion
has to be strong. He published it. He did not preserve the original manuscript. He gave no history of
the MS's provenance. His ideas are amply represented in the promotion and glorification of Nabadwip's
nine islands.

There was no need of great Sanskrit knowledge to make the few changes to the original verses, but of
course Bhaktivinoda was amply equipped to do so. Besides, the Thakur wrote numerous works in
Sanskrit, which have much of the flavor of Prabodhananda in them, such as Gauranga-smarana-
mangala-stotra, published in 1896. If Bhaktivinoda did not pen this work himself, he was still fully
complicit in its dissemination. Therefore, it is a moot point whether he actually did or did not write it.

Prema Vivarta
Prema Vivarta, which was discovered and published by Bhaktivinoda Thakur during his stay in Puri from
1900 to 1903, is a somewhat longer and more complex work than the two discussed above. It is
attributed to Jagadananda Pandit, one of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhus prominent associates.
According to Bhaktivinodas first edition, he discovered this manuscript on the beach near his Puri
residence, Bhakti Kutir, which was situated just next door to Giridhari Asan, where Jagadananda had
lived and worshiped his Giridhari deity, which interestingly enough was served by Siddhanta Saraswati
for a short period during this time.

The situation with the Prema Vivarta is similar to that of our two previous texts. There are no
manuscripts, no previous knowledge that any such text ever even existed. The first mention of
the Prema Vivarta is found in Bhaktivinoda Thakurs own Amrita-pravaha-bhashya commentary to the
Chaitanya Charitamrita, written in 1894. There he proposes that the words prema-vivarta mentioned in
CC Antya 12.154 might be refering to a book. The verse goes as follows:

jagadAnandera prema-vivarta zune je jana

premera svarUpa jAne pAya prema dhana
Anyone who hears Jagadanandas prema-vivarta will understand the true nature of divine love and
attain the great treasure of prema.

Bhaktivinodas suggestion that this might be a book is only given as an alternative to the primary
meaning, which fits the context of Jagadanandas pastimes described in the chapter and for which this
verse serves as a conclusion. The words prema-vivarta itself means the kind of contrarious or
refractory loving behaviour that Jagadananda was known for in his relation with Chaitanya.

The ostensible date of the Prema Vivarta

Jagadananda states in chapter two of Prema Vivarta that he wrote it after Chaitanyas disappearance,
in Jagannath Puri, while Swarup Damodar was still alive. Generally, prevailing opinion is that Swarup
Damodar did not live very much longer after Mahaprabhus disappearance. As such, the date of
authorship would have been somewhere between 1534 and 1544. At the very beginning (2.5) the author
writes that his intention was to write Mahaprabhus lila, but to keep it ati sangopane or very secret.
This could be taken as an explanation for why the book was not widely distributed and pretty much

Before going on to anything I else, I would immediately like to point out the most obvious clues to the
impossibility of the above dates forPrema Vivarta.

Chapter 20 contains 85 verses in glorification of the Holy Name. A quick comparison with the 11th
chapter of Hari Bhakti Vilasa shows that 84 of these verses are there, with only two of them coming out
of the order in which they are found there. However, if one compares the two texts, it is clear that PV
has borrowed from HBV and not the other way around, as a selection has been made, with certain
verses being left out.

HBV is one of the earliest Goswami works, so it is conceivable that Jagadananda knew of it by 1540,
though he makes no mention of it in this chapter. This is somewhat surprising, for though medieval
authors were not scrupulous about naming their sources, they usually recognized wholesale
indebtedness to other authors, especially if they had high authority in the sampradaya, as was the case
with Sanatan Goswami.

It should be pointed out that several of the verses quoted in this chapter are also found in
Bhaktivinodas Bhajana-rahasya, which was also written during the time he spent in Jagannath Puri.

HBV 11.342 = PV 20.42 = BR 1.4

HBV 11.453 = PV 20.191 = BR 1.5
HBV 11.454 = PV 20.193 = BR 1.6
HBV 11.417 = PV 20.169 = BR 1.17
HBV 11.451 = PV 20.188 = BR 1.18
HBV 11.510 = PV 20.227 = BR 1.28
HBV 11.398 = PV 20.136 = BR 2.3
HBV 11.399 = PV 20.137 = BR 2.3

Chapter 19 is also interesting. It is an extensive discussion of the ten offenses to the Holy Names. The
offenses to the Holy Name are mentioned several times prior to this (7.24, 8.89). It is well known that
this subject is one that Bhaktivinoda held dear to his heart, along with the analysis of the reflection of
the Holy Name.. These are also matters that we know preoccupied him during his stay in Jagannath
Puri. The Hari-nama-cintamani, written during this time, is almost entirely based on an expanded
discussion of the ten offenses. (It may also be pointed out, as a matter of interest, that this book also
involves the Jagannath Puri historical settingMahaprabhu engaged in conversation with Hari Das

O brother! You cannot chant the Holy Name in the association of non-devotees. The sounds of the Holy
Name may come out of your mouth, but it will not really be the Name. It will sometimes be the Names
reflection (nAmAbhAsa) and sometimes offensive chanting (nAmAparAdha), but brother, you should
know that in either case, this kind of chanting interferes with the attainment of pure devotion to
Krishna. If you want to chant the Holy Names, then associate with devotees and keep desires for sense
enjoyment, liberation and yogic powers at a distance. (Prema-vivarta, 7)

Another interesting fact is that the PV contains the full chapter of the Padma Purana that contains the
ten offenses. Coincidentally, the publication of Padma Purana was another project in which
Bhaktivinoda Thakur was engaged during his time in Puri. The edition he published (1901) was
significant precisely because it contained this chapter, which is missing from most editions.

Even more conclusive is the large number of verses sprinkled throughout this work that have been
either quoted verbatim from Chaitanya Charitamrita or are so close as to be unmistakable borrowings
from that most influential work. In this case, there is no chance whatsoever that Krishna Das borrowed
from Jagadananda, for he has clearly recognized his debt to Murari Gupta, Vrindavan Das, Svarupa
Damodar, Kavi Karnapur and Raghunath Das as the main sources forhis work. If he had gone so far as to
quote Jagadananda verbatim, he would surely have mentioned it. As such, it is indisputable that
the Prema Vivarta was not written in the first half of the 16th century, for it is well known that Krishna
Das wrote the CC in 1612, after the death of Jiva Goswami.

To give all the instances of quotation would be too lengthy, but a few examples will surely serve as
sufficient evidence. Compare, for instance, the following discussion of vairAgya, which quotes
verbatim Mahaprabhus instructions to Raghunath Das Goswami:

vairAgI karibe sadA nAma saGkIrtana |

mAgiyA khAJA kare jIvana rakSaNa ||
vairAgI haJA yebA kare parAkpekSA |
kArya siddhi nahe kRSNa karena upekSA ||
vairAgI haJA kare jihvAra lAlasa |
paramArtha yAya Ara haya rasera vaza ||
vairAgIra kRtya sadA nAma saGkIrtana |
zAka patra phala mUle udara bharaNa ||
jihvAra lAlase jebA iti uti dhAya |
ziznodaraparAyaNa kRSNa nAhi pAya ||

A renunciate should always be engaged in repeating the names of the Lord and should keep his body
and soul together through begging. Anyone who takes the renounced order and then becomes
dependent on others cannot achieve his ends and Krishna will ignore him. One who becomes a
renunciate and then lusts for tasty foods will never attain his spiritual goal, and will simply become the
slave of his tastebuds. A vairagis duty is to always chant the names of Lord Krishna and fill his belly
with spinach leaves, fruits and roots. One who runs here and there looking for good things to eat
becomes attached to his sex organs and his belly and will never attain Krishna. (Chaitanya
Charitamrita 3.6.22-27)

From Prema Vivarta, chapter 16

vizuddha vairAgI kare nAma saGkIrtana |

mAgiyA khAiyA kare jIvana yApana ||57||
vairAgI haiyA yebA kare parAkpekSA |
kArya siddhi nahe kRSNa kare upekSA ||58||
vairAgI haiyA kare jihvAra lAlasa |
paramArtha yAya Ara haya rasera vaza ||59||
vairAgI karibe sadA nAma saGkirtana |
zAka patra phala mUle udara bharaNa ||60||
jihvAra lAlase jei samAje beDAya |
ziznodara-parAyaNa kRSNa nAhi pAya ||61||

Not only are the two sets of verses very similar, but they also come in the same context, i.e.,
Chaitanya Mahaprabhus instructions to Raghunath Das. Perhaps some believe that Mahaprabhus spoke
to Raghunath in Bengali rhyming verse and that this is an exact quote, but this would be
misconception. These are Krishna Das Kavirajs words and have no place in a work written
approximately seven decades earlier.

This one example should be sufficient, but there are more--some from this same chapter of the
Chaitanya Charitamrita. Compare:

(PV 7.10, 13, 14)

vairAgI bhAi grAmya kathA nA zunibe kAne
grAmya vArtA nA kahibe jabe milibe Ane
bhAla nA khAibe Ara bhAla nA paribe
hRdayete rAdhA kRSNa sarvadA sevibe
aSTa kAla rAdhA kRSNa sevibe kuJja vane

(CC 3.6.236-7)
vairAgI bhAi grAmya kathA nA zunibe kAne
bhAlo nA khAibe Ara bhAlo nA paribe
amAnI mAnada haJA kRSNanAma labe
vraje rAdhA kRSNa sevA mAnase karibe


(PV 11.16)
kibA varNI kibAzramI kibA varNAzrama hIna
kRSNa tattva vettA yei sei AcArya pravINa

(CC 2.8.128).
kibA vipra kibA nyAsI zUdra kene naya
jei kRSNa tattva vettA sei guru haya


(PV 10.2)
brAhmaNera sat kula nA haya bhajanera yogya |
zraddhavAn nIca jAti nahe bhajane ayogya ||

(CC 3.4.66)
nIca jAti nahe kRSNa bhajanera ayogya
sat kula vipra nahe bhajanera yogya


(PV 10.14)
dInere adhika dayA kare bhagavAn
abhimAna dainya nAhi rahe eka sthAna

(CC 3.4.68)
dInere adhika dayA kare bhagavAn
kulIna paNDita dhanIra baDa abhimAna


(PV 10.8)
tihoG ta prakRta bhakti sAdhaka madhyama |
ati zIghra kRSNa bale haibe uttama ||8||

(CC 2.22.67)
yAhAra komala zraddhA se kaniSTha jana |
krame krame teGho bhakta haibe uttama ||


(PV 7.6)
markaTa-vairAgya tyaja jAte deha raGga

(PV 9.18)
yathA yogya viSaya bhuJja anAsakta haJA

(CC 2.16.238)
markaTa vairAgya nA kara loka dekhAJA
yathA yogya viSaya bhuJjo anAsakta haJA


(PV 17.26)
indriyA carAJA bule prakRti bhulAiyA

(CC 3.2.120)
indriyA carAJA bule prakRti sambhASiyA


The descriptions of raganuga bhakti.

(PV 16.53)
bAhya dehe kRSNa nAma sarva kAla gAya |
antar dehe thAke rAdhA kRSNera sevAya

(CC 2.22.156-7)
bAhya abhyantara ihAra dui ta sAdhana
bAhye sAdhaka dehe kare zravaNa krtana
mane nija siddha deha kariyA bhAvana
rAtri dine kare vraje kRSNera sevana

This kind of detail about the bhakti process could only have come after Rupa Goswami, but the
language itself is similar to Chaitanya Charitamrita.


The description of the conditioned soul in chapter six can be seen as a composite of the versions found
in Madhya 19, 22, and 24.
(PV 6.4)
Ami siddha kRSNa dAsa ei kathA bhule
mAyAra naphara haJA cira dina bule

(CC 2.22.24)
kRSNa nitya dAsa jIva tAhA bhuli gela
ei doSe mAyA tAra galAya bAndhila

Besides these, there are also some verses that recall Narottam Das Prarthana

viSaya chADile zuddha habe tomAra Azaya (PV 10.11)

AhA prabhu nityAnanda kabe karibe dayA

abhimAna chADAJA more dibe pada chAyA (PV 10.16)

The above evidence shows the preponderence of the Chaitanya Charitamritas influence on the Prema
Vivarta, both in language and in subject matter. This should be sufficient to convince any impartial
observer that Jagadananda Pandit could not have written the Prema Vivarta.

Jagadanandas life and personality in Prema Vivarta

Naturally, when an ancient book purporting to contain historical information is discovered, one
immediately makes comparisons with what one already knows. There are numerous contradictions to
be found in the differing biographies of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, often involving tiny details, sometimes
theological issues. Indeed, one expects to find both confirmations and contradictions in any newly
discovered text. No two people give exactly the same version of a story; indeed, if anyone sits down to
write his or her version of a story, it is usually because they have something specific to add or because
they wish to contradict popular misconceptions, or defend a particular vision of events. Krishna Das,
for instance, felt the need to promote a very specific vision of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that could not be
found in the biography of Vrindavan Das, whose agenda very much included promoting Nityananda
Prabhu and defending his reputation.

In this book, we do indeed find both new narrative material and biographical tidbits, as well as
interesting confirmations of other accounts, particularly those of the Chaitanya Charitamrita.

We learn that Jagadananda was born in the same village as Sivananda Sena, who took him to Nabadwip
for an education, where he met Chaitanya (8.17). Sivananda taught Jagadananda the Bhagavata and
Gita when he was just a boy (8.18); he learned to cook at Sivanandas house (8.20). In the same
passage, he speaks of Kavi Karnapur briefly, briefly confirming the Chaitanya Charitamrita story about
his composing Sanskrit verses at the age of seven.

Since we are already convinced that this work is by a later author, our way of looking at this data is not
as the genuine testimony of Jagadananda, but as the work of a later authors imagination, in this case
probably intended to provide a few tidbits of novel information to lend credibility to the work.
Interestingly, despite the Gaudiya Maths acceptance of the authenticity of Prema Vivarta, I have not
seen this material included in any Gaudiya Math biographies of Jagadananda! Could it be that there is
some doubt even in those circles about the historical value of this text?

According to the depiction in Chaitanya Charitamrita, Jagadananda had a quarrelsome nature. Indeed,
in the early part of CC (Adi 10.23), where Krishna Das lists the numerous participants in Chaitanya lila,
he specifically describes Jagadananda as quarrelsome or argumentative (kondala).

In Prema Vivarta, the author describes himself by exactly the same word no less than seven times
(2.18, 2.25, 5.1, 5.9, 7.21, 9.35, 13.10), including chapter signatures (7.21, 9.35).

prabhura kundale jagA kende kende bale

nAma bhaja nAma gAo bhakata sakala

Jagadananda, who is always arguing with his Lord, tearfully appeals to everyone: O devotees! Worship
the Holy Name. Sing the Holy Name.

Indeed, Jagadananda seems fairly proud of his argumentative nature through such frequent references.
At the very beginning of the book, he even tells a story of a quarrel he had with Mahaprabhu during his
student days (PV 2.18 ff). Needless to say, this is rather unusual and somewhat unexpected. It is not
often that someone proudly boasts of an argumentative relationship with the person he or she loves.
Indeed, Jagadananda defends this relationship in language again reminiscent of the Chaitanya

(PV 5.4)
bhAla tAra hauka sukha mora hauka cira duHkha
tAra sukhe habe mora sukha ||

It is all very well, as long as he is happy. I may be eternally distressed, but if he is happy, then so am I.

(CC 3.20.52)
na gaNi Apana duHkha, sabe vAJchi tAGra sukha
tAGra sukha AmAra tAtparya
more yadi diyA duHkha, tAGra haila mahA sukha
sei duHkha mora sukhavarya
I dont mind the pain He gives Me. All that concerns Me is His pleasure. My greatest joy is to see
Krishna happy. If that happiness comes at the expense of My suffering, that still gives Me joy. That pain
is My greatest pleasure.

(PV 5.7)
bADAya AmAra roSa tAte tAra santoSa
tAra prasannatA mora iSTa ||

Sometimes I get angrier and angrier, but that only pleases him. My only goal is to see him pleased.

(CC 3.20.54)
kAntA kRSNe kare roSa, kRSNa pAya santoSa

Sometimes Krishna gets pleasure when His mistresses are angry with Him, but He enjoys being
chastized and told off.

Even the books title indicates that its subject is to be the quarrelsome relationship between Chaitanya
and Jagadananda. However, conspicuous in their absence are the very same stories that are recounted
in detail in the Chaitanya Charitamritai.e., the buying of fragrant oils for Chaitanya, which he
refused, etc. (5.5), Jagadanandas argument with Sanatan in Vrindavan (5.2), his angry departure for
Vrindavan (5.9), etc., all of which merit only passing mention If PV had preceded CC and was the
source for the CC account, then we would expect to find the original story told in a more complete or
detailed fashion in PV, rather than the other way around. Indeed, this summary presentation gives the
impression that the author feels his readers will already know these stories.

In CC (1.10.21, 3.7.142, 2.12.152) and Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (51), Jagadananda has been identified
with Krishnas wife Satyabhama, whose quarrelsome nature is depicted in the Harivamsa and other
Puranic texts. In PV (2.11-16), however, Jagadananda defends himself against such an attribution.

The Lord jokingly said to me one day, You are a powerful queen of Dwaraka. I am just a beggar, so
why do you serve me? There are hundreds of other sannyasis like me. I answered, Stop joking with
me. Why dont you tell me that I am Srimati Radharanis maidservant? You have stolen Radharanis
bodily color. I will capture you and drag you back to Vrindavan, where you shall be punished for your
thievery. I would like you to throw me down at Radharanis lotus feet, but instead you send me off to
Dwaraka. You are just playing games with me. I know all about your sannyasi tricks. You want to
deceive me and serve Radharani all by yourself.
I pay countless obeisances to Radharani, whose partial manifestation is Satyabhama in Dwaraka. (PV

rAdhA pada dAsI Ami rAdhA pada dAsI |

rAdhA dyuti suvalita rUpa bhAlovAsi ||

I am a servant of Radha's feet. I am a servant of Radha's feet. I love Krishna in his form wrapped in
Radha's effulgence." (using words directly from Svarupa Damodar's famous verse.) (1.54)

It is well known to historians that the influence of the Vrindavan school on Bengal was decisive. It is
very difficult to ascertain exactly what the devotees of Chaitanya believed during his lifetime. Most of
the early texts show an adherence to the Bhagavata Purana and not to the kinds of raganuga sadhana
that dominates the work of the Goswamis and post-Narottam period in Bengal. Chaitanya was
recognized as God before the mood of Vrindavan was recognized as above all other devotional moods.
Thus many of his companions were given identities as demigods, eternal associates from Dwaraka or
other Bhagavata pastimes. In the changing atmosphere following Narottams arrival in the East, it
became necessary to award multiple identities to some of these associates to recognize their
participation in the higher rasas. This took place quickly in the Nityananda and Advaita vamsas,
where disciples and followers defended their interests, but Jagadananda had no such protectors. The
author of this book evidently took this duty upon himself.

Gaura Paramya and Gaura Gadadhar Bhava

An interesting aspect of Prema Vivarta is the view of Chaitanya that pervades it. The work begins with
the Swarup Damodara verse made famous in Chaitanya Charitamrita, which defines Mahaprabhu as both
a combined form of Krishna and Radha, as well as Krishna imbued with the mood and bodily hue of
Radha. This is followed by a rather detailed explanation of this verse. The author uses the term
acintya-bhedAbheda (1.4) to explain this simultaneous oneness and distinction. Needless to say, this
term is not found anywhere prior to Jiva Goswami.

(PV 1.28)
ata eva rAdhA kRSNa dui eka haJA
adhunA prakaTa mora caitanya gosAJA

(CC 1.4.56-7)
rAdhA kRSNa eka AtmA dui deha dhari
anyonye vilase rasa AsvAdana kari
sei dui eka ebe caitanya gosAJi
bhAva AsvAdite haila eka thANi
Chaitanya as teacher and exemplar of the devotional path are not absent from this work, though most
of the teachings are put in the mouth of Swarup Damodar. Nevertheless, the teachings to Raghunath
Das, portions of which have been cited above as bearing almost exact identity with those found in CC,
are spoken by Chaitanya here as there.

Seemingly contradictory to the idea that Mahaprabhu is a combined form of Radha and Krishna, is the
decidedly nagara mood found inPrema Vivarta. The use of the epithet gorA [go = Govinda, rA =
Radha] are distinctive in this group (rather than gaura). This spelling is not used even once in
Chaitanya Charitamrita, nor in Chaitanya Bhagavata. (Two instances of gorAcAnd) See Vasudeva
Ghosh, Govinda Ghosh, Narahari, Lochan Das, Govinda Das Chakravarti, and others who are known as
known as Gaura Nagara. Bhaktivinoda himself shows a tendency to use this epithet, it is found
especially in Kalyana-kalpa-taru and Gitavali. The term kapaTa-nyasi(5.5) is also one familiar to Nagara

Similarly, Gaura Gadadhar themes are frequent, far more prominent than anywhere in the
contemporary literature, even in works like Chaitanya Mangal, though present in the songs of
Sivananda, Vasu Ghosh and other Nagara poets. Though this tendency in Bhaktivinoda is not given much
recognition much in the Gaudiya Math, it is distinctly present in his song books. (For instance,
Bhaktivinodas personal deities were Gaura Gadadhar; Gaudiya Math temples tend to have a single
deity of Mahaprabhu with Radha Krishna, or Gaura Nitai.)

gadAi gaurAGga muJi rAdhA zyAma jAni

I know Gadai and Gauranga to be Radha and Shyama. (PV 2.44)

This Gaura Gadadhara mood is related to the glorification of Nabadwip in the second chapter of Prema
Vivarta. In Nabadwip, Gauranga tries to make a parakeet say the names of Radha and Krishna, but the
bird only says Gaura Hari. A brief argument ensues, with the concluding exchange,

The parakeet said, Vrindavan has become Nabadwip, while Radha and Krishna have become Gaura
Hari. You are my Krishna and this Gadadharis my Radha. Gaura Gadadhar and the lords of my life. I am
incapable of saying anything other than this. The Lord answered, I am a worshiper of Radha and
Krishna. It displeases me to hear anyone elses name glorified. So saying, he took Gadadhars hand
and returned to Mayapur, abandoning the parakeet who said Sing whatever you like, I will go on
worshiping as I always have. (PV 2.37-42)

Another interesting and anachronistic feature of PV exhortation to worship Mahaprabhu in the ashta-

ore bhAi saba chADi baiso navadvIpa pure

gaurAGgera aSTa kAla bhaja duHkha yAbe dUre
O brother, give up everything and reside in the town of Nabadwip. Worship Gauranga through the eight
periods of the day and all your miseries will disappear. Just as Krishna has eight different kinds of
pastime according to the eight periods of the day. If you worship these pastimes according to the mood
taught by Gauranga, you will be charmed. Anyone who is determined to worship Krishna should also
worship Krishna through the eight times of day in Gauda (Sic). Someone who does not know the mood
of Gauranga and wants to worship Krishna will never realize the transcendental truth of Krishna. (PV

Though the Gaura-chandrika method of introducing Krishna lila likely became current even before the
1570s through the writings of poets like Sivananda and the Ghosh brothers, the idea of an ashta-
kaliya-lila for Gauranga took much more time to develop. Indeed, in 1895 Bhaktivinoda published a
poem by an unknown author written on the model of the Radha-krishna-lila-smarana-mangala-
stotra, glorifying Mahaprabhus pastimes over the eight periods of the day. [There is another such
stotra attributed to Vishwanath Chakravarti; some verses are common to the two. Some investigation is

The last two references bring us to the glorification of Nabadwip. The author of PV starts this very
early, stating in the first chapter that the joys of Vrindavan are eclipsed by those of Nabadwip.

vrajera adhika sukha navadvIpa dhAme

pAila puraTa kRSNa Asi nija kAme

There is more pleasure to be had in Nabadwip than in Vraja, for the golden Krishna has come here of
his own volition. (PV 1.38)

navadvIpe nA pAila yei vRndAvana

vRthA se tArkika kena dharaya jIvana

The skeptic who does not recognize Vrindavan in Nabadwip is a useless skeptic (PV 2.46)

As mentioned in relation to the Navadvipa Satakam above, one of Bhaktivinodas concerns was to
preach the town of Nabadwip according to the conceptions he had formed in his researches related to
the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As such, we are not surprised to find frequent references to
Mayapur (1.18, 1.46, 2.41, 4.2, 11.16, 14.10). Though the theme pervades the book, the eleventh
chapter in particular reveals an interest in describing Nabadwip as a dhama equal to Vrindavan in the
following passage:

This planet is most glorious within the universe, and here it is the land of Gauda that is most fortunate.
In the land of Gauda, it is Nabadwip that is most glorious. This land of sixteen kos is revered
throughout the universe. Through it runs the great flowing Ganges, and the confluence of the Ganges
with the Yamuna and Saraswati are also found there. On the eastern bank is Mayapur, which is equal to
the spiritual realm of Goloka, in the midst of which is the house of Sachi where Gauranga appeared.
(PV 11.13)

The passage reminds one of the beginning of Jaiva Dharma. The term sixteen kos Nabadwip, found
for the first time in Bhakti-ratnakara, is also mentioned elsewhere in PV:

Sola-kroza navadvIpe vRndAvana mAni ||2.44||

I hold this sixteen kos Nabadwip to be Vrindavan.

In chapter 15, a completely original pastime describing youthful pastimes in Nabadwip, contains the
previously unheard story of Goradaha, a tank near Gadigacha village. Gadigacha is present-day Swarup
Ganj, which is part of Godrumdwip, the portion of Nabadwip where Bhaktivinoda had a residence, and
which, as mentioned above, he often glorified in his own writing. The pastime described there is a
miraculous eventonly one of two in PVwhen Mahaprabhu transforms an alligator (nakra) with the
touch of his foot, revealing that this being was a demigod who had been cursed by Durvasa to take
birth in this lower form, but showed the added kindness of blessing him with the promise of liberation
by the touch of Gaurangas foot. This story has obviously been calqued on many similar puranic
incidents In style and composition, it recalls many of the anecdotes found in Bhaktivinodas
own NavadvIpa-dhAma-mAhAtmya, where it is not found. However, in the posthumously
published Godruma-candra-bhajanopadesa (verse 13), there is a reference to this very story.

Other things
I believe that what has already been said is sufficient to support my thesis that this book was not
written by Jagadananda but by someone else, and that most likely Bhaktivinoda Thakur. There is, in
fact, a great deal more in Prema Vivarta that could be said to point to Bhaktivinoda Thakurmany
other questions of subject matter, language and style.

One of the most important themes is, of course, purity and sincerity in devotional practice.
Bhaktivinoda detested hypocrisy and immorality in religious life and fought against these things
throughout his career. Some of the best and most original verses in Prema Vivarta deal with this
gorAra Ami gorAra Ami mukhe balile nA cale
gorAra AcAra gorAra pracAra laile phala phale

It is not enough to simply advertise repeatedly that one is a devotee of Mahaprabhu, saying, I am
Goras, I am Goras. The benefits of being the Goras follower come for one who takes up the
practices he taught as well as preaching his mission. (PV 8.6)

Another favored theme frequently broached by Bhaktivinoda is that ofzaraNAgati. Though zaraNAgati is
mentioned in the Goswami literature and Chaitanya Charitamrita, it is nowhere given the kind of
centrality found in Bhaktivinodas work. Lines like these (PV 18.20) are so similar to many lines in
Bhaktivinoda's work it practically screams his name:

zuddha bhaktira anukUla kara angIkAra

zuddha bhaktira pratikUla kara asvIkAra

Another theme that we see in Bhaktivinoda Thakurs writing that comes up in Prema Vivarta is the
distinction between renounced and householder life, especially in its favorable view of the latter.

gRha chADi bhikSA kare nA kare bhajana

vaiSNava baliyA tAre nA kara gaNana

One who has renounced householder life and begs for his livelihood, but does not engage in bhajan
should not be considered a Vaishnava. (PV 17.10)

gRhastha vaiSNava sadA nAmAparAdha rAkhi dUre

AnukUlya laya prAtikUlya tyAga kare
aikAntika nAmAzraya tAhAra mahimA
gRhastha vaiSNavera nAhi mAhAtmyera sImA

A householder Vaishnava should avoid offenses to the Holy Name. He should accept everything
favorable to spiritual life and reject everything unfavorable. The glory of the householder is exclusive
shelter of the Holy Name, and there is no limit to the glories of a householder Vaishnava. (PV 17.17-18)

At the same time, the Prema Vivarta tackles the question of Sahajiyaism, discussing some of the terms
used by the Sahajiyas and adapting them to the orthodox context. These terms are pIriti, Aropa,
pravartaka, sAdhaka and siddha.
lampaTa pApiSTha ApanAke kRSNa mAni
kRSNa lIlA anukRti kare dharma hAni

The sinful womanizer who thinks that he is Krishna and then imitates Krishnas lila causes disruption in
religious life. (PV 17.28)

It is almost certain that this well-developed Sahajiya terminology was not around in Jagadanandas
time, whereas it is well known that Bhaktivinoda Thakur was much troubled by the well-developed and
powerful influence of Sahajiyas in the Vaishnava world of the late 19th century.

I feel that anyone who looks on this collection of evidence must be obliged to come to the conclusion
that Bhaktivinoda Thakur either wrote Prema Vivarta himself, or colluded with someone else who
wrote it. No one could seriously hold that Mahaprabhu's associate Jagadananda Pandit wrote this text
prior to Krishna Das Kaviraj's Chaitanya Charitamrita, prior to the formulation of Vaishnava Sahajiya
doctrines, prior to Narottam Das and the cult of Nabadwip Dham, etc.

If someone says it is impossible to prove that Bhaktivinoda Thakur wrote this book, I would say he is
indeed correct. But the preponderence of circumstantial evidence is so strong that most objective
assessment would have to admit that something is untoward.

I have gone to the trouble of summarizing this evidence here because of the uproar that my previous
article caused, where I did not detail my rationale for making such radical and apparently offensive
statements. I doubt seriously that this will go far to convince those who reject even the possibility of
any blemish on Bhaktivinoda's character. To those people I will remain a hateful offender and the
object of eternal opprobrium.

This is truly unfortunate. Even so, I would like to justify my actions and to defend myself against the
accusations of malicious intent, which is the usual charge levied against me. I should also like to
examine the alternatives available to us, if we indeed accept the possibility that this evidence is true.
This is a significant question, because it is not necessarily unusual or impossible that those we admire
and respect, even as gurus, may be found to have engaged in acts that are morally or ethically
unacceptable. Where does this leave our faith?

Bhaktivinode was eating meat and fish, and Bhaktisiddhanta as a young boy also ate
meat and fish
Bhaktivinoda Thakur's Meat Eating and Lalita Prasad Thakur

When I see a discussion starting that deals with questions I was deeply
involved in 10 or 20 years ago, or even more recently, I do not feel tempted to get involved again. One
moves on, I guess.

Rocana Prabhu has recently published an editorial on the Sampradaya Sun wherein he struggles to make
sense of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's avowal that he engaged in meat eating. In the context of this article, he
makes a few disparaging comments about my diksha guru, Sri Lalita Prasad Thakur. It is unfortunate
that there is no one but me to currently come to the defense of my guru, and for me to do so means
exposing myself to involvement in disagreeable disputes, which is certainly not appealing to me.
Nevertheless, it seems to me that I am under some obligation to say at least a few words.

Poor Rocana seems to have just discovered that Bhaktivinoda Thakur admitted eating meat and fish in
his memoirs. He worries about "the potential this has to disturb the minds of many readers," who would
consider such practices "abhorrent." This is in fact the realization that this admission plays havoc with
his own idea of what it means to be a "nitya-siddha" or a "sampradaya acharya." Although he
compliments Bhaktivinoda Thakur for his "extreme honesty," he does not seem to have grasped the real
significance of such admissions.

Rocana bandies about with comparisons to Ramachandra and Bhima's meat-eating and how "they" are
different from "us" and that therefore the same standards cannot apply. And woe be to those who
compare their own sinful pasts to the comparatively less objectionable, historically forgivable actions
of Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

But all this solves nothing and simply muddies the waters and reveals the general confusion about Guru
Tattva that is rampant in the Krishna consciousness movement. A million quotes from Srila
Prabhupada's books, unfortunately, do little to clarify the issue. Rather, they go on urging us to erase
the human aspects of the Guru in order to see him as a God, and to sacrifice all capacity for individual
self-realization in submission to the guru's orders and guru-created institutions.

I feel deeply that these kinds of exhortations have resulted in a huge imbalance in emphasis in the
general understanding of Krishna consciousness. They diminish our humanity instead of lifting it to the
heavens. How could this ever have been the intention of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu?

The importance of the human aspect of the Guru

Though I have, as mentioned above, already written about these issues, it is perhaps time to repeat
myself again. Currently the Prema Prayojan site is closed temporarily, so I cannot not refer to the
numerous times I have gone over the question. Indeed, the first time I publicly wrote on this subject
was in letters to Rocana on his Garuda listserve, at the very beginning of my internet engagement with
devotees. In connection with the Bhaktivinoda meat-eating question, I wrote on Audarya forums in

I think that we should be extremely indebted to Bhaktivinoda for having pierced the hagiographical
balloon so that we can surmount the superficial understanding of guru-tattva and nitya-siddha and all
the rest of the terms that we bandy about in order to blind ourselves to possible flaws in our guru

I have written about this before in relation to the controversy over the Prabhupada-lilamrita. How
much more inspiring and glorious it is to have a human guru who has shown the way by struggling with
the negative aspects of material entanglement and succeeding! This is, as far as I am concerned, a
crucial point of transcending the kanishtha adhikari stage.

It is really the same question as that of guru omniscience and infallibility. There is much confused
thinking on this issue... The arch-conservative and reactionary side tries to discredit the Sva-likhita-
jivani itself. These people readily accept statements from this book when it suits their purposes, but
refuse to accept those that contradict their idealized image of Bhaktivinoda Thakur. Even so, the SLJ is
still the primary source of information on BVT's life as we know it--including Rupavilasa's book and all
other Gaudiya Math publications on his life--with the appropriate expurgations, of course.

I take a much more liberal and, I believe, enlightened view that attempts to reconcile the humanity of
the guru with his divinity rather than obliterate his humanity altogether in a cloud of mystification.

While I was thinking about whether I would write this article or not, I had the radio on and happened to
hear an interview with Thomas Merton scholar Michael Higgins. Higgins spoke of the source of Merton's
appeal and inspirational power as being anchored in his insistent search for truth and holiness. This
comes out especially in the collection of diaries that he kept diligently and in which he spoke of things
like a longstanding affair with a nurse and other "unsaintly" activities.

But rather than diminishing his stature, and I hope that this is abundantly clear, people's appreciation
for Merton's true worth only grows, to the point that though he spoke emphatically and repeatedly
against "the cult of personality", he has ironically become the subject of an entire Merton industry.
Mahatma Gandhi, in his Experiments with Truth, had the same modern approach to saintliness.

None of this means that they are any the less saintly, but it is their saintly ambition, it is their honest,
self-examined determination to attain the impossible goal of human perfection, that makes them
admirable, and indeed worthy of being followed.
As an aside, Satsvarupa Maharaj has been, I believe, influenced by Thomas Merton to some extent and
so he also approaches spiritual life quite openly. Without entering into a critique of the degree of
personal honesty, mystical or theological profundity that goes into his writings, there is a certain
modern sensibility that is beyond the comprehension of the ordinary devotees and their obsession with

My reproach of Satsvarupa is rather that he lacks courage and has made something of a career of
retreating: He tempts fate by chanting extra rounds (Japa Notebook) and then retreats; he visits
Narayan Maharaj, and then retreats; he has a sexual escapade, and then retreats; he decides to take
face questions about sexuality head on, and then retreats--each time caving in to Iskcon criticism. No
wonder the man is suffering so terribly from migraines!

If he could just once follow his instincts and break away from the terrible subjection to the Institution
that holds him in its grip--a grip that is tattooed with the words "Iskcon acharya." With him, the
problem is not so much a belief in the value of honest self-reflection as the lack of courage to follow
through on his intuitions.

Recently I mentioned on these pages an interview with John Kain, who in a new book called A Rare and
Precious Thing talks about a number of spiritual teachers in a variety of traditions. His opening
statement was that all of these teachers have in "one way or another embraced the new paradigm." By
this he meant that these spiritual masters made no attempt to pass themselves off as "nitya siddhas,"
but nevertheless had a powerful and lasting effect on their followers.

It is almost axiomatic to speak of today's spiritual leaders in Krishna consciousness as flawed. We have
been so conditioned to accepting that the spiritual master must be a "realized soul", which we
associate with some kind of unattainable superhuman status, that we end up absorbed in a kind of
faultfinding exercise that makes us incapable of acknowledging even the considerable merits of
another devotee except in the most begrudging manner.

Demonstrating that another person is imperfect is not a hard job: Ramachandra Puri showed us all that
it is possible to find fault even with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. So, is there any problem in finding fault
with a sadhaka who confesses his imperfections? The question here is: From whom can we, as sadhakas
ourselves, learn more? From the person who exhorts us to be impossibly perfect while pretending to
conform to this same, entirely corrupting attitude, or from the one who sincerely admits his flaws and
reveals his strategies, etc., in dealing with them?

Evidently, adopting this kind of strategy will result in a sanguine attitude, even a distrust, of
personality cults of all kinds. George Orwell said "saints should always be judged guilty until they are
proved innocent" (in Reflections on Gandhi), especially if they set themselves up as such. Of course, I
am the first to admit that the currents of hypocrisy run deep, and no public self-reflection is entirely
void of manipulative goals.

Nevertheless, let it be stated as an axiom, which like all axioms will seem bland and obvious, that all
people, including saints, are human beings. As such, they are subject to all the flaws of humanity--
weakness and temptation, error and illusion. It is not freedom from humanity that a saint achieves, nor
even the perfection of an ideal humanity; I would say rather that the saint is one who has
consecrated himself to the pursuit of holiness and has made that ideal real to others. The acharya
is someone who in the depths of his realization has found jewels that are of inestimable value to other
humans who seek life's meaning in God.

Those who are addicted to the idea that "God speaks to the Acharya; his words are therefore the words
of God himself," patati patata, are missing several huge points.

Lalita Prasada Thakur, my Prabhu

Of course, the paragraph in Rocana's article that really inspired me to write anything at all was the

We also have to keep in mind that the Svalikhita-jivani is actually a long letter written to his son,
Lalita Prasada. As history tells it, in due course Lalita Prasada became a real adversary to Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. In fact, he started a separate movement that is considered asiddhantic, and
criticized Srila Bhaktisiddhanta extensively. So we should consider how that plays into our
understanding this particular circumstance with Srila Bhaktivinoda's meat eating.

Who knows whether Srila Bhaktivinoda intended that his letter to his son be published and made into a
book? He might also have been trying to send a direct message to Lalita Prasada, it's hard to
tell. Svalikhita-jivani is certainly a very unusual, honest depiction of a great Sampradaya Acarya's early
life. How Lalita Prasada - or any of us, for that matter - choose to interpret this information is of the
utmost importance. After all, love is always tested. This candid written narrative might simply have
been designed by the father as a test for the son. And as history shows, the son failed the
test. Whether or not his publication of this autobiographical letter was part of the failure, we can't
This paragraph is so full of half-truths, misunderstandings and plain nonsense that it is hard to know
where to begin. I have indeed already begun to do so above, as the root of the error is in Rocana's
magical idea of the "Sampradaya Acharya." It is furthermore an unworthy and cynical attempt to
deflect the problem onto a saintly person of whom Rocana knows nothing other than the parampara
propaganda he now so condescendingly perpetuates.

Rocana's concept arose at least in part from reflection on the now generally well-known fact that
Siddhanta Saraswati and Lalita Prasada Thakur were in profound disagreement on the issue of diksha,
the position of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's diksha guru Bipin Bihari Goswami, raganuga bhakti practices, the
nature of Gaudiya Vaishnava institutions, sannyasa, and many of Saraswati Thakur's innovations. I have
written about these things at length and, I believe, with a certain amount of detachment. However, if
we can draw one conclusion from the Sva-likhita-jivani, it is that Bipin Bihari Goswami played a
significant role in Bhaktivinoda Thakur's life, something that is a bit of an inconvenient truth with most
of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's putative followers.

And this lesson has a connection with the meat-eating issue. It is this: after taking initiation from his
guru, Bhaktivinoda Thakur stopped all flesh consumption. Indeed, he highlights this as a miraculous
result of being initiated. This in itself shows the Thakur's appreciation of a significant transformation in
his life as a result of coming into connection with his guru. How does this square with those who are on
the right side of history and have consigned Bipin Bihari Prabhu to the rubbish heap? This avowal by
Bhaktivinoda Thakur on its own seems sufficient truth to me to discard Saraswati Thakur and to follow
Lalita Prasad Thakur, everything else be damned!

Since Bhaktivinoda Thakur initiated Lalita Prasad and gave him the same pranali that he received from
Bipin Bihari. We may well ask what kind of test he was giving Lalita Prasad in telling him these things
about his guru and whether Lalita Prasad failed that test or not. Certainly, in my eyes, since he stayed
on this earth long enough to pass this same pranali on to me when he was already 99 years old, he did
not. Through all that time he did not swerve in his commitment or his determination to preserve
Bhaktivinoda Thakur's heritage as he had received it. If Saraswati Thakur did not receive the same gifts
from his guru, or received other ones, does this somehow put him on the right side of history? What
kind of discourse about history is this anyway?

It is easy to buy into the fallacy that so-called success and virtue are the same thing when so clearly
they are not. If there is anyone who should know this, it is Rocana himself, since he, as an outsider, is
engaged in a discourse of resistance to a particular course of history. I am sure he thinks of himself on
the side of truth and history, but one day, if Iskcon does not find itself on that rubbish heap, it will
certainly throw him on it.

Rather than make rash comments about the fickle judgments of history, let us seek the truth. Orwell
summarized the cynical ideological manipulation of history in 1984, "He who controls the present,
controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future." Fortunately for us, neither Rocana,
nor Iskcon and the Gaudiya Math and their followers, yet have complete control over the Gaudiya
Vaishnava world's present, whatever illusions they may have. Lalita Prasad Thakur will always be a hero
of the resistance against those who have run roughshod over the history of the Gaudiya Vaishnava

Siddhanta and sadhana (Dogma and Ritual)

There are, if anything, two major contributions made by Bhaktivinoda Thakur to the history of Gaudiya
Vaishnavism, two contributions that blissfully stand in apparent contradiction to one another.

The first of these, which we can place in the early part of his life, is the principal message of
Shukavak's milestone marking book. It is his work as a rational analyst of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. It was as
an inheritor of an aspect of the Enlightenment, someone who had read European philosophers and was
able to come up with the concept of the saragrahi.

I cannot tell you how significant this concept is. Perhaps Rocana has a little inkling of it, but only to a
point, because he cannot exercise his rational function when it comes to his so-called Sampradaya
Acharyas. The whole point of being a saragrahi, however, is that it must be applied to one's gurus
themselves. The sara element of the Guru is the Truth that he has been able to connect his disciple to.
That Truth is not the management directions of Iskcon, or the final order of succession, or instructions
about who to associate with and when. The sara is "Love Krishna and do whatever is necessary to attain
that goal." He may say, "I have done such and such myself; these are my gurus, my tradition, this is
what they have done to get there, but I am only the door. Pass through this door and into Goloka
Vrindavan. Illuminated by this guiding light of identity as a servant of Krishna, take the world I give

The Chaitanya Charitamrita tells us that Krishna is the Guru. He appears in the form of the teacher and
initiator, but he is also present in the heart. It is Krishna in the heart who says "yay" or "nay" to his
presence externally. When the truth comes as a blinding light accompanied by the imperative to act in
the service of Krishna, that is Guru. But this does not mean that your relationship with God in the
Heart is finished. It simply means that the relation with the Soul of your soul is mediated through a
particular cultural and literary tradition, a symbol system, a religious language, a history of ideas and
archetypal models.

As such, we are not meant to blindly follow anyone or anything, but rather to enter into the discourse
that centers around this tradition, a discourse that developed over the centuries and to which
Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and Bhaktivedanta Swami have all made significant
contributions, but which none of them has thankfully terminated in some Fukiyamian "end of history."

The second aspect of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's contribution consists in his discovery, approval, acceptance
and continuation of the essential element of Gaudiya Vaishnava teaching, namely manjari bhava. I had
left this essay untouched for several days until I saw a pretentious little article by Rasarani Devi
called Poor Bhagavat Das in which she mocks this practice and goal cherished by Bhaktivinoda Thakur
and then passed on to his son, through whom it has come to a few other fortunate individuals.

I am afraid that the baby has gone out with the bathwater here--perhaps we should go looking on the
rubbish heap of history formanjari bhava as well, for it seems that this is where these self-righteous
judges of Gaudiya Vaishnava history, looking through their narrow prism, have placed it.


Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati +
Bhaktivedanta Swami
Version 1.0
Reflections on Initiation, part 1 by Nitai das
................................................... 2
Reflections on Initiation, part 2 by Nitai das
................................................... 6
Reflections on Initiation, part 3 by Nitai das
................................................... 10
More Reflections on Initiation: Critique of TM book,
part 1 by Nitai 14
More Reflections on Initiation: Critique of TM book,
part 1 by Nitai 19
More Reflections on Initiation: Critique of TM book,
part 1 by Nitai 24
Escape from the hall of mirrors, part 1 by Nitai
das 27
Escape from the hall of mirrors, part 2 by Nitai
das 31
Gaudia Vaisnava Dharma and Sannyasa, by Dr.
Radhagovinda Nath 36
Did BSST Received Dhiksa fr. Gaurakisora D.B.? by
Madhavanada das 40
Boycott the Sahajia Babajis Reflections by Atul
Krishna dasa 45
Sri Radhakunds 108 Sri Krishnadas Baba, by
Karunamayidas 61
My Personal Experience, by Radhapada das 64
................................................... 69
Why is a Guru-parampara Indispensable
? 74
Part 1
Nitai Das
June 13, 2005
Recently, among the many other projects I have
started and not finished, I was working
on Visvanatha Cakravartins Krsna-bhavanamrta, a
delightful poem embodying the
raganuga-bhakti practice of smaran. a or
visualization. The very first verse of the text
contains the word parampara, which, among other
things, may be translated disciplic
succession. The verse reads like this in my
I surrender to the rain-cloud Krsna Caitanya, who
instantly destroys the world of
darkness and refreshes the whole world through
uninterrupted succession of showers of
his beauty like the beauty of millions of gods of
love. (Krsnabhavanamrta, 1.1)
It is a nice image. Caitanya is like a rain cloud
pouring down his beauty like rain on a
thirsty world. Imposed on this rather poetic,
natural view is the word succession
(parampara). It seems from one angle to spoil
everything. Rain clouds rain
indiscriminately, but in Visvanatha's verse he has
left the natural order behind and
imposed the idea of succession on the image. Since
it doesn't fit the image very easily, he
must have had a very good reason for it. Or perhaps
the image should be one of lines or
bands of rain moving across the landscape the way
one sometimes sees them in the
summer, an intense, dark-blue downpour soaking a
particular area, but leaving the
surrounding areas dry. However one imagines it, the
meaning seems clear: Caitanya's
shower of beauty or light (kanti) is mediated
through successions and for us in the
Caitanya community this means "disciplic"
successions. This verse reminded me of an
insipid little book that was sent to me recently.
Written by someone named Tripurari
(what kind of a Vaisnava name is this, anyway), it
was called Sri Guru Parampara:
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, heir to the
esoteric life of Kedarnatha Bhaktivinoda.
The book is full of goofy errors, sophistry, and
misunderstandings, but criticizing that
silly little book is not the point of this essay.
The author, however, claims that
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati had received diksa
(initiation) in the Gaudiya sampradaya and
this reminded me of my own parting of ways with
The main reason for my departure from ISKCON was
that I came to believe (and I still
do) that Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati had never
received proper initiation into the
sampradaya. This revelation absolutely shook my
world to pieces. I remember sitting on
the roof of ISKCON's Vrindaban guest house the
following day sadly watching the sun
come up. It seemed like a different sun and the
world I saw was a strange and frightening
one. For weeks I had no idea what I was going to
do. The man who broke the news to me
was Dr. OBL Kapoor, elder savant of the Caitanya
Vaisnava tradition and former
member of the Gaudiya Math (his initiation name in
the GM was Adikesava Das). He
himself had found genuine initiation outside the
organization of Bhaktisiddhanta, from
the great bhakta, Sri Gauranga das Baba.
Even though I greatly respected Dr. Kapoor, I
refused to accept what seemed to me to be
extremely bad news on his word alone. I interviewed
others and did my own researc, but
every where I turned I found the course led to the
same unbelievable conclusion.
Bhaktisiddhanta had been refused initiation by
Gaura Kisora Das Babaji and he had
insulted his father's guru, Bipin Bihari Goswami.
His enormous ego and rather sharp
tongue closed the doors of Krsna's realm to him and
to those who have depended on him.
When he was called on his lack of initiation by one
of the Caitanya tradition's greatest
scholar-practitioners of the last century, Pandita
Ramakrsna Das Baba, who was
universally respected and honored by Vaisnavas of
all sampradayas, he turned his venom
on the babas who were following the only recognized
form of renunciation in the
Caitanya tradition. This has had a profound effect
on the functioning of Gaudiya Math
and all its children, one among which is ISKCON.
More will be said about this side of the
problem in future installments of this essay.
Why did I come to believe that Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati was never initiated? This was
almost universally the reason ex-members of the
Gaudiya Math gave for their own
departures from that organization. I had always
been told that after the death of
Bhaktisiddhanta in 1937, the Gaudiya Math gradually
disintegrated as a result of the
struggle for power and greed. The actual impetus I
learned was more principled than
that. It was the result of the discovery of the
inauthenticity of Bhaktisiddhanta's initiation.
The man who began the fracture of the GM was
Bhaktiprasada Puri Das Goswami,
known before his renunciation as Anantavasudeva
das, the leader of the GM who was
hand-picked by Bhaktisiddhanta himself. His reason
was precisely his own discovery of
the fundamental flaw in the parampara of the
Gaudiya Math.
After a four-month long series of lectures on the
Bhakti-sandarbha of Sri Jiva Gosvamin,
begun in Bengal and completed in Vrindaban, he
called all the members of the Math
together, especially the sannyasis, and announced
his own departure from the institution.
He also informed them that their own efforts were
in vain. Without the proper initiation
of their teacher, Bhaktisiddhanta, the mantras he
gave them in initiation were useless.
The institution of sannyasa, too, the renounced
order of life according to the system of
asramas or stages in a exemplary Hindu life, which
was instituted by Bhaktisiddhanta in
Caitanya Vaisnavism, was also groundless (since
Bhaktisiddhanta had given it to himself).
He advised all the sannyasis to go home and get
married. Their pursuit of sannyasa was a
sham and a waist of time. Most importantly of all
he advised them that for their own
spiritual good they get properly initiated from an
authentic lineage within the Caitanya
tradition. This I heard from several aged Vaisnavas
in Vrindaban and Nabadwip who
knew Puri Das personally and who left along with
him or some time shortly afterwards.
He called the members together, especially the
sannyasis, and informed them that their
efforts were in vain. Without the proper initiation
of their teacher, the mantras he gave
them were useless. He advised them to go home and
get married. Their pursuit of
sannyasa was a waist of time. Most of all he
advised them that for their own spiritual
good they go get properly initiated. This I heard
from several aged Vaisnavas in
Vrindaban and Nabadvip who knew Puri Das and who
left along with him or some time
shortly afterwards.
In addition, I did a little research on my own.
During one of my visits to Nabadwip I
visited the bhajana kutir/mandira of Gaura Kishora
Das Babaji and spoke with the pujari
there. I asked him if he knew whether Gaura Kishora
Das Babaji had any initiated
disciples. His answer, after consulting with some
of the other elders of the compound,
was that, as far as he knew, there were only four,
a married couple of modest means and
two others, agriculturalists from neighboring
villages, none of whom were
Bhaktisiddhanta. How he knew this and how reliable
his testimony is, I don't know, but
taken in conjunction with the other evidence it
lends support to the thesis that all that
Bhaktisiddhanta got from Gaura Kishora Das Babaji
were his blessings in the form of a
little dust of Nabadvip sprinkled on his head.
The third bit of evidence comes from an eyewitness
account. Tripurari Maharaj claims
that there were witnesses to Bhaktisiddhantas
initiation (p. 37). He doesnt mention who
they were or even how he knows there were
witnesses. We are expected, I suppose, to
accept it solely on his authority. His authority is
useless, however, and unless he has some
evidence, we can treat the witness claim with the
doubt it deserves. The eyewitnesses I
know of and from whom I heard were eyewitness to
Bhaktisiddhantas admission before
Pandita Ramakrsna Das Baba that he had not received
initiation from Gaurakisora Das
Babaji. Bhaktisiddhanta was in the habit of
visiting Pandit Babaji during his visits to
Vraja since he was without a doubt the most
respected of the Caitanya Vaisnnavas of the
early 20th century. On one occasion, certainly
before 1914 when Gaurakisora Das Baba
passed away, Bhaktisiddhanta highly praised
Gaurakisora Das in Pandit Babas presence.
Pandit Baba asked him if he had received initiation
from him. Bhaktisiddhanta said he
had received it in dream. Pandit Babaji said that
that was fine, but he should receive it in
the flesh as well since that is the only type of
initiation accepted as authentic in the
Caitanya tradition. Bhaktisiddhanta said he would
and ended the visit.
A few years later, in 1917-18, Bhaktsiddhanta
returned to Vrindaban, now the acharya of
the Gaudiya Math, a famous man with many disciples.
He visited Pandita Babaji again.
Babaji was living at that time at the Bhagavata-
nivasa asrama on Ramana Reti Road. He
was ill and was there to recuperate. When
Bhaktisiddanta visited him, Pandit Baba asked
again if he had gotten initiation from Gaura
Kishora Das Baba. His answered that he did
not, at which point Pandita Baba got extremely
angry with him for making disciples
without proper initiation. Pandita Babaji threw him
out of the ashrama and
Bhaktisiddhanta, fearing damage to his reputation,
began his calumny of the Vrindaban
babas and forbade his disciples from meeting with
them. This account was given to me by
Advaita Das Baba from Govardhan, who was the nephew
of Puri Das Gosvami and who
claimed he had heard it directly from Visnudas Baba
who as a young lad had been there
helping Pandit Baba during his stay at Bhagavata-
nivasa. Visnudasa had been in the room
during the meeting between Pandit Baba and
Bhaktisiddanta and heard this exchange
personally. Advaita Das Baba, then quite old. He
was a siksa disciple of the great
smarana teacher Manohar Das Baba of Govardhan. When
I met him he was the
mahanta(abbot) of Govinda-kunda, the asrama of
Siddha Manohara das Baba. I
expressed my anxiety about leaving ISKCON to
Advaita das Baba. I knew I would incur
Bhaktivedanta Swamis anger if I left ISKCON and
sought shelter at the feet of Kisorikisorananda
das Baba as I was thinking of doing. He laughed and
assured me that I had
nothing to fear from Bhaktivedantas anger. His
exact words were "such anger is
powerless". I took my leap of faith shortly
thereafter and have never looked back with any
Does all this prove that Bhaktisiddhanta did not
receive initiation?
It depends on what one means by proof. Some people
set the bar so high for proof that by
that standard nothing can be proved beyond a doubt.
There are still some twisted ones
who claim that the Holocaust did not happen because
it has not been definitively proven
to have happened. I think the preponderance of
evidence falls against Bhaktisiddhantas
having received authentic initiation. It is not
just a matter of hearsay, as some rather thick
and loud demagogues want to claim. The people how
actually lived through those events
were alive when I was faced my difficult choice and
they shared with me their experiences
and insights. Moreover, it is absurd to think that
Bhaktiprasada Puri Goswami would
have made such a momentous choice based on mere
hearsay. He gave up the highest and
most honored post in the GM to live a life of
seclusion and service in Vrindaban. His life
was put in danger because of it and had he not been
hidden by some of the Goswamis of
the Radharamana Temple in Vrindaban, some of the
members of the GM would have
killed him. Finally, there is the fact that the
mainstream Vaisnava community does not
regard ISKCON and GM (IGM) as authentic members of
the Caitanya tradition. This is
most dramatically demonstrated by the fact that
main-streamers do not eat with members
of IGM and as far as possible do not associate with
them. Is this widespread feeling of the
mainstream community towards IGM based simply on
hearsay? I think not. It is based on
the conviction that IGM is not part of the
community of Vaisnavas who trace their
tradition back to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. They are
an apasampradaya, renegade
My advice to ISKCON-men and women and to ex-ISKCON-
men and women and to non-
ISKCON-men and women is the same as that given to
me many years ago by Dr. Kapoor:
get yourselves properly initiated. There are
several members of authentic Vaisnava
parampara around whose lineages are undisputed.
Part 2
Nitai Das
June 14, 2005
In this installment we will have to grapple with
the question of thesuccess of ISKCON.
ISKCON-men will often cite the success of ISKCON as
proof of the power and
authenticity of Srila Prabhupada. Viewed
objectively, however, a strong argument
can be made that ISKCON has not been all that
successful and one might extend that
argument to its mother organization in India, the
Gaudiya Math. A lot, of course, hinges
on what is considered success. It is possible to
lower the thresh-hold of success so low that
anything can be considered success; conversely it
is possible to raise it so high that
nothing can be considered successful. Obviously,
however, some more or less objective
standards are needed to evaluate success. I will
try to find and apply such standards in
three areas that are usually associated with
size and wealth of the organization,
level of advancement of its members, and
effect of the organization or its teachings on
the awareness or consciousness of the
If size and wealth are to be considered evidence of
success, then ISKCON will have
difficulty demonstrating its success. Compared to
many other religious organizations,
ISKCON has done no better and in several cases it
has done worse. According to several
sources, ISKCON had at its peak (mid-1970s ?) less
than 5,000 full-time members in the
United States (Melton, 1982), a number which has
dropped to about 3,000 today. The
current list of centers provided on ISKCONs own
home page has around 75 entries for
the United States. According to an independent
source, ISKCON currently has about a
million followers in the world with about 8,000
full-time followers among them
(Chryssides, 1999). Another independent source
claims that there are 3,000 core
members and about 250,000 lay members in the
United States (New Religious
Movements, University of Virginia, 1998). This
might at first seem quite impressive, but
how does this stack up with some of the other 20th
century religious groups in the United
States? Independent sources place the number of
followers of the Unification Church,
which was founded in 1954 by Rev. Sun Myung Moon,
at between one to three million
around the world (Chryssides, 1999) with some
10,000 full-time members in theWest
(Bishop, 1987). Scientology has according to their
own account eight million followers,
but it turns out that the Scientologists claim as a
member anyone who has ever availed
themselves of their services (auditing, etc) since
the founding of the Church of
Scientology in 1954. Dissident former members,
however, claim that there are less
than 700,000 in the United States. Somewhere
between those two extremes lies the actual
figure. The most recent estimate places the number
of members at 5.6 million worldwide
(Chryssides, 1999), but this again is dependent on
church publications. Of those, there
are around 11,370 full-time members according to
the same estimate. The numbers for
Transcendental Meditation vary from around 50,000
in the world (Melton, 1993) to one
million in the United States and three million in
the world (Occhiogrosso, 1996).
Obviously, it is hard to find reliable tallies of
any of these groups. Nevertheless, assuming
that these figures bear some resemblance to
reality, ISKCON when compared with its
peers has not turned in a very strong performance.
In fact, it seems to have
lagged somewhat behind; all of the other religious
groups cited here appear to have done
better than ISKCON. Or, if one exercises a much
warranted skepticism over the figures
available, ISKCON has at least done as well but
certainly no better. It must be pointed
out, however, that the Unification Church and
Scientology have been in existence for at
least ten years longer than ISKCON and that the
former, at least, still has its leader. This
hardly amounts to the flooding of the world with
preman predicted in the Caitanyacaritamrta.
Nor is it a stunning display of the superiority of
Prabhupadas potency and
authenticity. On the basis of the evidence such as
it is, one would have to claim at least as
much potency and authenticity for the Rev. Moon, L.
Ron Hubbard, and the Maharshi.
Perhaps this is not the way to recognize ISKCONs
success, then. Followers, centers, and
wealth could be merely a manifestation of good
organizational skills and sound business
sense, not empowerment.
Let us consider the advancement of the followers of
ISKCON, then. Perhaps this is where
the secret of ISKCONs success lies. But we are
wandering into the middle of a very
slippery quagmire here. How can one tell how
advanced a devotee is? The bhakti
scriptures give examples of symptoms to look for in
advanced devotees, but do any of the
ISKCONers manifest such symptoms and if so, are
they genuine? These are difficult
questions to answer. I remember how reassuring it
was back when I was a member of
ISKCON to think that someone in the society had
really made visible advancement. We
all believed that Yamuna Devi Dasi, of instance,
had reached the level of bhava. This
must have been a claim that had originated with
Prabhupada. Who would dare to
make up such a thing. I at least stood in awe of
her when I finally met her years later in
Brindaban. What a mind blowing experience then when
one day during his daily massage
Prabhupada turned to me and asked if I knew Yamuna
Devi Dasi. I said that I did and
waited expectantly for Prabhupada to praise her for
how highly developed and saintly she
was. Instead he said: She has spoiled many
brahmacaris and sannyasis! What an
earthquake! I felt like the ceiling had fallen down
on my head. So much for past
greatness; is there any greatness among the current
followers of ISKCON? I am certainly
in no position to say since I have purposefully
removed myself from all ISKCON
association. During the six years I spent as a
member of the organization I met no one
who I thought had advanced very far and worried a
great deal about the rate of my own
advancement. I remember the ludicrous spectacle of
a Brahmananda Swami stealing
money, running off to whore houses in Africa for
months, and then crawling back on his
hands and knees to Prabhupadas feet begging for
forgiveness. Brahmananda was one of
Prabhupadas oldest disciples. Besides that he was
bully. I have personal experience of
that. I need only mention the names Kirtanananda
Swami, Bhavananda Swami, and
Hamsaduta Swami to provide other stunning examples
of ISKCONs failure. I suspect
that not much has changed, that there are still no
devotees who have advanced beyond
the even the lowest rungs of sadhanabhakti. This,
if true, is very sad thing and a very
strange. One would think that someone in the last
forty years would have made some
advancement. The only devotees I have ever seen who
were on high levels of
development were outside of both ISKCON and the
Gaudiya Math. One remembers, for
instance, Sri Krsnacarana Das Baba who could no
longer attend readings of works on
Krsna-lila because tears would start squirting from
his eyes uncontrollably, his hair would
stand on end and slobber would run down his chin.
The other members of the audience
would take more notice of him than of the text
being read. I never saw this happen to
him, but this is how Dr. Kapoor described him to me
once. I also recall sleeping outside
of Tinkudi Babas (Kisorikisorananda Baba) room
when I first joined him and waking
early in the morning to hear him laughing and
talking enthusiastically in his room with
someone. When I peeked in I saw that he was alone.
Those around him told me that he
often did that and that he was talking with Radha
and Krsna and the other gopis. They in
addition claimed that Radha and Krsna were actually
there with him. Those around him
also claimed that they had at various times seen
all of the eight sattvika-vikara appear in
his body. Unfortunately, my Bengali was too poor at
that time to understand what he said
there in his room. Even in my profoundly covered
state, however, I could sense that
something powerful was going on within and around
Can ISKCON boast such advanced devotees? I doubt
it. If there are some similarly
advanced devotees I would be glad to learn of it.
ISKCON doesnt even recognize such
things as achievements, though. To ISKCON-men
selling more books, building more
temples, bringing in more money, making more
disciples are the signs of advancement.
This is all Prabhupada used to talk about. The
wealth of the heart doesnt count for much
in ISKCON. ISKCONs full attention is directed
outside. My thesis is that this is because
the path inside is blocked for ISKCONers and this
is because it has no genuine initiation.
Initiation opens an inner door and as Tinkudi Baba
once said connects one with the
powerhouse Krsna. If that inner path is blocked by
worthless mantras, if that inner door
is locked shut, ones attention is forced outside
and one is stuck with judging ones
success on the basis of external measures. As
Baladeva Vidyabhusana has said in his
Prameya-ratnavali, quoting the Padma Purana:
yad-uktam. padma-purane
sampradaya-vihina ye mantraste viphala matah
As it is said in the Padma Purana:
mantras that have no community of transmission
(sampradaya) areconsidered fruitless.
Community of transmission here means disciplic
succession. Mantras that are not
received through disciplic succession are
powerless. ISKCONs mantras have proven
useless in transforming the hearts of its
initiates. That is anyway how it appears to outside
observers like me. Thus, neither from the point of
view of material success nor from the
point of view of advancement of followers does
ISKCON appear to be in any sense
What about ISKCONs influence in transforming the
consciousness of the West? Has not
ISKCON had a profound effect in transforming
Western culture? Perhaps it is too early
to draw any conclusions on this issue, but at
present it looks like ISKCON and indeed
several of the other religious movements of the
latter twentieth century are destined to
be mere footnotes to the religious life of the
century. I have increasingly noticed how, in
the classes I teach, fewer and fewer of the
students have ever heard of the Hare Krishna
movement. Those who have heard of the movement know
next to nothing about its
teachings and practices. If a student does know
something, it is something negative: that
the Hare Krishnas used to harass people in the
airports and city streets, forcing books
and incense on them and short-changing them
whenever possible, or that they were a cult
that brain-washed their follows. This is ISKCONs
real legacy. Older people associate
ISKCON with the kidnapping of kids and scandalous
murder cases. Penetrating studies
have been done on the psychological profiles of
people who join such fringe groups as
ISKCON, with the objective of getting such people
help so that they will not do such
things in the future. While much of this hype is
based on a misunderstanding of what
ISKCON stands for and a corresponding refusal to
recognize that similar psychological
weaknesses can be found in people who become
members of any evangelical or
fundamentalist religious group, it nevertheless
contributes to the overall cultural
perception of ISKCON. Thus, ISKCON and the other
groups like it have become
manifestations of the feared other. Very few
Americans today would consider it an
honor if their sons and daughters became members of
ISKCON. In other words ISKCON
has given Krsna a bad name in the West.
On the positive side, it can be said that groups
like ISKCON have served to strengthen
and to nourish the pluralism that exists today in
American religion and indeed
increasingly in religion in other parts of the
world. Thus, it can be said that ISKCON has
indeed had an effect of the consciousness of the
world, but perhaps not the one it hoped
to have. The process has not ended yet. The current
rise in fundamentalisms is a reaction
to the increased strength and visibility of
pluralism, to which ISKCON contributed, and
may bring about the ultimate demise of pluralism.
Who can guess what repressive order
may replace it? (Bush?)
The absence of a genuine initiation may account for
the absence of real empowerment in
ISKCON, but what about the power of the holy name?
Surely that is a factor that would
contribute to ISKCONs success. The holy name
requires no initiation, knows no rules or
limitations. The holy name and the holy named are
one and the same and thus the holy
name is always empowered. Since ISKCON practices
and promotes the chanting of the
holy name it must thereby have some connection with
that powerhouse you spoke of. If
ISKCON has had only moderate success, why hasnt
the holy name changed that? This is
indeed an interesting question and that will be the
one I tackle next month.
Select Bibliography
Chryssides, George. Exploring New Religions. London, U.K.: Cassells
Melton, J. Gordon & Robert L. Moore. The Cult Experience: Responding to
the New Religious Pluralism. New York: The
Pilgrim Press (1984 [3rd printing; 1st printing 1982]).
Melton, J. Gordon, Encyclopedia of American Religions. 4th ed. Detroit:
Gale Research Inc. (1993).
New Religious Movements (University of Virginia) (1998) (web
Occhiogrosso, Peter: The Joy of Sects: A Spirited Guide to the World's
Religious Traditions. NewYork: Doubleday (1996)
Part 3
Nitai Das
June 15, 2005
Last month I argued that if one examines the
empirical evidence, there is no support for
the contention that ISKCON and its mother
organizations, the Gaudiya Math and its
splinters, are empowered as one would expect them
to be if they possessed a genuine line
of initiation. I used three criteria: material
wealth and followers, production of advanced
followers, and influence on the consciousness of
the time. One needs only to look at the
beginnings of the Caitanya movement to see what
empowerment looks like. Vast numbers
of people became followers, temples were built to
house the movements many deities,
numerous followers showed signs of advancement on
the path of bhakti, and
consciousness was profoundly transformed. Within a
century a vast literature was created
and the influence of that movement was exerted on
Bengali literature for several
centuries. As an example of the last criterion, one
need only recall the huge numbers of
songs and poems written in Sanskrit, Bengali, and
Braj-bhasha about the love of Radha
and Krsna. So profound and lasting was this
transformation of consciousness that
centuries later it influenced perhaps Bengals
greatest poet Rabindranath Tagore who,
using (maybe the words adopting, adapting, or
downright pilfering would be better words
to use here) the figures and moods of bhakti poetry
in his Gitanjali, won recognition from
the world as Indias first and only Nobel prize
winner. Perhaps that prize really belongs to
Mahaprabhu and his many poet followers.
Since the big bang of those beginnings, however,
not much of that magnitude has
happened. The universe has continued to expand at a
steady rate, but the only major
milestone in the last five centuries seems to have
been the expansion of the movement
beyond the boundaries of India to the rest of the
world. Credit for that only partially rests
at the feet of Prabhupada (Bhaktivedanta Swami).
Other representatives of the Caitanya
tradition came West before him, learned and
charismatic devotees like Premananda
Bharati and Mahanamabrata Brahmacari preceded him
by over a half a century. Though
from our perspective at the end of the 20th and
beginning of the 21st centuries, their
efforts seem to have failed, in actuality, during
their times they met with a good deal of
success in spreading the faith. They wrote books
and dissertations, produced journals,
established temples and asramas, and gave lectures
to hundreds. Premananda even made
numerous disciples whom he took to India with him
and who carried on in their own ways
after his untimely death. The Gaudiya Math, too,
sent representatives like Swami Bon to
try to establish the movement in Europe and boasted
a few intelligent and high-profile
disciples like Sadananda and Walter Eidlitz, author
of several important studies of
Caitanya Vaisnavism. Prabhupadas success may well
turn out to be no greater than theirs
and more long-lasting.
Still, it is enticing to think that perhaps over
the centuries the Caitanya movement
became too complacent, too self-satisfied with the
rich inner world it had been given
access to. Having been given, by the grace of their
living successions, the keys to the inner
door in initiation, it became very hard to resist
using those keys to enter into the eternal
inner world of lila. Why indeed would one want to
resist such a thing? Therefore, perhaps
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, Bhaktivedanta Swami, and
others like them are to be seen as
unwitting instruments in the hands of Mahaprabhu,
instruments capable of doing things
for the spread of the movement that duly initiated
members find very difficult to do. If
the inner door is closed and locked, one is forced
to live and work among the externals,
amidst the money, the followers, the public
relations, the publications, the land deals, the
lawsuits and the temples. One is funnelled into a
life of busy-ness (or business) if the
inner eye remains shut. Thus, ISKCON and its parent
organizations might be seen as
something like loud noise makers, attracting the
attention of the people of the world with
a carnival-like atmosphere and drawing them to an
awareness of the world of Caitanya
Vaisnavism. Once those people have been put in
orbit around Mahaprabhu it would be
easy for some small percentage of them to make the
transition into association with
Mahaprabhus authentic followers. If this thesis is
correct, then making this transition,
though important for some, is not for everybody.
Some must remain locked out in the
external realm as part of the carnivale, at least
for a few more lifetimes, in order that the
process may go on and the sirens may continue their
song. This seems to be what has
happened and is continuing to happen with IGM
(ISKCON/Gaudiya Math).
Maybe something like the scenario outlined above
was in Dr. Kapoors mind when he
shattered my safe little ISKCON world by informing
me of the absence of initiation in
ISKCON and the Gaudiya Math. He himself, as I
mentioned before, had been reinitiated
already by Gauranga Das Baba and I recall quite
clearly his emotional
description of the day on which he met his
initiating guru (Baba). Dr. Kapoors
suggestion for me was that I too take initiation
secretly and remain within ISKCON. This
was apparently what he had done, since he had kept
up his relationships with his old
Gaudiya Math god-brothers, kept his GM initiation
name, and at least on the surface
appeared to be no different from them. When I asked
him for initiation, he wisely
declined. Instead he recommended Tinkudi Baba as
the most advanced of the bhaktas in
Braj at the time and as the best candidate for my
initiating guru. He mentioned other
possibilities as well, speaking highly of
Krsnacarana Das Baba and others. That was when
I began to visit Tinkudi Baba, meeting him for the
first time at Cakleshar on the banks of
the Manasasarovar near Govardhan. But that story is
for another installment.
Somehow Dr. Kapoors advice didnt sit very well
with me, however. I had just had my
head chewed off a month earlier by Prabhupada in
Mayapur over a plan I had devised to
create an accredited guru-kula and that in front of
many of the GBC. I can still see the
smirks on their greasy, self-indulgent faces. His
words still ring in my ears, too: Do you
think the world needs more scholars?! No! It needs
more devotees! I never could accept
the idea that one could not be both a scholar and a
devotee and, quite frankly, I still
dont. I felt, therefore, out of place in ISKCON
and I considered it somewhat
hypocritical to take initiation secretly from
someone else and then pretend to be
Prabhupadas disciple still. I began from that time
to plan my departure, looking for an
opportunity to slip away quietly and unnoticed into
the morning mists of Braj. But that
too is a story for another time.
Looking back at that time from the present I am
convinced I did the right thing. Sure, I
could have secretly helped correct ISKCONs
impotence by bringing in an authentic
initiation line. Perhaps others have done this and
many of the mantra now transmitted in
ISKCON have been brought to life. There were many
rumors of various other disciples of
Prabhupada receiving initiation from other
Vaisnavas like Lalita Prasada Thakur. My
own disciples, if ever I had any, would have been
benefitted no doubt and perhaps the
worship of that heart-guru (caittya-guru)
accomplished in the first of the inititation
mantras and gayatris given in genuine initiation
would have helped me guide ISKCON on
more wholesome paths. Still, there is a horrible
flaw and obstacle at work in ISKCON
and its parents that nothing short of complete
separation can correct. This flaw is also the
strongest evidence against the idea that the
Gaudiya Math and ISKCON are instruments
in Mahaprabhus plan. It is to that flaw that we
must now turn.
Apart from ISKCONs impotence due to lack of
initiation, it suffers from the serious
commision of offense to the holy names. Repeating
the holy name requires no initiation
and has no limits in terms of proper place, time,
or practitioner. Anyone can utter or
repeat the holy names and reap the benefit of being
in the presence of the holy named,
Krsna, through his holy names. The only obstacle
that can interrupt this positive
influence is committing an offense to the holy
names. That is precisely what has infected
the Gaudiya Math and its offshoots (ISKCON). This
offense began with Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati himself and is inherited by everyone who
counts him or herself a follower of his.
First of all in IGM there is the most obvious
offense to the holy name, the first listed on
the traditional list of ten offenses, blasphemy of
the saintly (sadhuninda). This began in
the Gaudiya Math after Bhaktisiddhanta was severely
criticized by Pandit Ramakrsna
Das Baba for not being authentically initiated by
Gaurakisora Das Baba (see the my first
essay). Sarasvatis egotistic response was to blast
the babas one and all and why he was at
it why not throw in the caste Goswamis, too. This
offensive practice became part of the
very institution of the Gaudiya Math and its
offshoots. We heard it often enough from
Prabhupada in person and in his writings. It became
the basis of the instruction to avoid
anyone claiming to be a Vaisnava outside of ISKCON.
That extended even Prabhupadas
own god-brothers from the GM. I understand that
Prabhupada eventually realized the
seriousness of this offense and for I hear that on
his death bed, he called leading
members of the Vrindaban Vaisnava
communitytogether, his god-brothers and caste
Goswamis alike, and asked for their forgiveness.
Too little, too late? Who knows. Real
Vaisnava are a humble and forgiving bunch.
The really serious offense to the holy name,
however, is one that few think recognize. It
arises from neglect or disrespect of the guru
(gurv-avajna), the third offense. Not to take
proper initiation is to commit the offense of
neglecting the guru and that, too, is a
powerful obstacle to the holy name. The great
commentator Visvanatha Cakravartin gave
an interesting characterization of the way this
offense works in his commentary on the
Bhagavata Purana 6.2.9-10. He says:
Some people are always engaging their senses in the
sense objects
like cows and asses and dont know, even in their
dreams, who
is God, what is devotion, who is the guru. Such
inoffensive persons
are saved even without a guru by repeating the holy
name in
the manner of a semblance of holy name
(namabhasa) like Ajamila
and others. Others, however, have discriminating
knowledge: Hari
is to be worshipped, worship is the way to attain
him, the guru is
the instructor of that, many people of the past
have attained Hari
by means of the devotion taught by the guru, and
yet, on the basis
of claims: initiation, good practice, and
expiation are not needed;
the mere touch of this mantra, composed of the name
of Krsna, on the tongue brings the
result, and on the basis of those very examples
of Ajamila and others, they think: why should I go
to the
trouble of finding a guru? By kirtana of the holy
names alone I will
get the Lord. Because of this great offense of
neglecting the guru,
they will not attain the Lord. However, when that
offense becomes
eliminated, in that lifetime itself or in another
lifetime , they, too,
will find shelter at the feet of a guru and reach
the Lord.
From this it appears that in some ways it is better
not to know about the importance of
the guru than it is to know about importance of the
guru and not to take shelter of one. I
conjecture that this is exactly what
Bhaktisiddhanta did. Perhaps he really wanted to
initiation from Gaurkisora Das Baba, but for some
reason was unable to and could not
find another who met his high standards. That is
understandable and even admirable. But
to start accepting disciples without have made that
initial offering of oneself to Krsna in
the moment of surrender to a guru, that is
inexcusable. Moreover, those who now believe
he was not properly initiated or who at least
honestly doubt that he was properly initiated
and yet are reluctant to get themselves properly
initiated suffer from that same offense.
The result is the same: the effectiveness of
repeating the holy names is impeded. Not
until after the offense is destroyed and one has
found shelter with an authentic guru does
one get Krsna.
In conclusion, where do we now find ourselves? Two
results have been arrived at
concerning the Gaudiya Math and ISKCON: first, they
are cut off from the powerhouse
by the absence of proper initiation and second
neglect of that absence is offensive to the
holy name stopping even the holy name from acting
to purify and perfect their followers.
I noticed this second phenomenon quite dramatically
toward the end of my stay in
ISKCON. During my last days in ISKCON I was given
the position of head pujari of the
Krsna Balarama Temple in Vrindaban. I decided it
would be a good opportunity to do
more rounds of japa (chanting on beads). I
specifically wanted to try to chant one lakh
(100,000 names or 64 rounds on the beads) a day as
the scriptures (Caitanya bhagavata)
recommend. With practice I did reach the level of
doing one lakh a day. The result was
surprisingly unimpressive, however. I still had
high hopes, but I didnt feel that power and
that presence that I hoped I would. Later, after I
took shelter with Tinkudi Baba, far
away from anything ISKCON, and he made it my sole
responsibility to chant three lakhs
a day and extraordinary things began to happen. The
holy name became effective again.
At that time I had not received initiation from
Baba yet, but the holy name was having an
overwhelming effect on me. That effect or change of
heart was indeed what Baba was
waiting for before giving me initiation. The only
explanation is that previously, when I
chanted a lakh in ISKCON I was guilty of offense by
association with offenders and the
holy name acted only weakly for me. Only after I
left that atmosphere did I begin to feel
the great power of the holy name.
Critique of Tripurari's little tan
Part 1
Nitai Das
September 15, 1999
This month I thought that I would take a look at
some of the issues raised in the little tan
book by Tripurari Maharaj (TM) called Sri Guru-
parampara (Mill Valley, CA: Harmonist
Publishers, 1998; no ISBN). Some of you may recall
that it was one of the stimuli that
started this series of essays of mine. One senses
that TM tried in this book to take an
open-minded and accommodating approach to the topic
and for that he is to be
congratulated. Why I myself am even cited in the
text! That is generosity indeed. I will try
in what follows to maintain that atmosphere of
generosity. Unfortunately, the
understanding presented in the book is profoundly
flawed. To try and examine all of the
failings of the book would require another book of
equal or greater length and that is way
beyond my intentions. Therefore, I want to focus on
only three major issues: the question
of the siddha-pranali, the question of the siksa-
parampara, and the myth of the fall of the
Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition in the 19th century.
Let's begin with the question of the siddha-
pranali. TM unfortunately misunderstands
what the siddha-pranali is and I am afraid that I
might be at least partially to blame for
that. In the first place, the siddha-pranali is not
a separate rite or diksa that is received
later than the mantra diksa. It is an expansion of
the mantra diksa. In some of my
previous writings I may have given the impression
that it is a separate rite apart from the
primary rite of initiation. For that I apologize.
The single most important rite in Gaudiya
Vaisnavism is mantra diksa. At that time one is
accepted into a line of gurus going back to
Sri Caitanya or his immediate followers. This is
called the guru-parampara and is very
important because it is the channel through which
Mahaprabhu's mercy comes to one.
The mantras one receives then are empowered by
every member of that line and knowing
who they are is very important. That is why in the
Gaudiya tradition one is given their
names in a list like the one on this web-site. One
should offer obeisance to every member
of that chain each day and before doing any
devotional practice. It is by their grace that
one succeeds. Not doing so would be like sitting
out on the end of a branch of a tree
while sawing it off at the trunk. That is the chain
that one has to catch hold of if one
wishes to be pulled out of the ocean of repeated
birth and death and each link is
In the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition outside of ISKCON
one receives sixteen mantra and
gayatri. These are the gurumantra and gayatri,
caitanya-mantra and gayatri, nityanandamantra
and gayatri, advaitacarya-mantra and gayatri,
gopala-mantra and kama-gayatri,
radha-mantra and gayatri, gadadhara-mantra and
gayatri, and srivasa-mantra and gayatri.
There may be some variations in these mantra in the
different lines of the tradition, but
these are the mantra I received from Tinkudi Baba
and the ones others said they too
received. Each mantra and gayatri of course is
preceded by the one syllable seed
appropriate to that mantra or gayatri. Without
these mantra and gayatri one is not
qualified to do any higher service like puja,
arati, or smarana. Note that there is no
(aka brahma-gayatri: om bhur bhuvah svar tat
savitur ..) As far as I know this
mantra has nothing to do with Gaudiya Vaisnavism or
with the worship of Radha-Krsna.
It is the mantra given to brahmin boys during the
upanayana initiation which marks their
entry into the study of the Veda. Its introduction
into the mantra diksa appears to be one
of the many fabrications of Bhaktisiddanta and we
will return to some of those later.
Chanting the Holy Name of course does not depend on
proper initiation. There is no
required initiation rite for the Holy Name in this
One is transformed during the mantra initiation
from a pravartaka (beginner) to a
sadhaka (practitioner). As a practitioner one has a
number of choices open to one for
devotional service most of which do not require the
siddhapranali. If one has a strong
desire to do raganuga sadhana-bhakti, however, and
that desire is the chief qualification
for such a practice, one needs the siddha-pranali.
The siddha-pranali is nothing more
than the siddha or manjari names and descriptions
of that same line of gurus that one
received at initiation. Each is believed to be a
participant in the eternal sport of Govinda.
One learns one's own siddha name, color, service,
and so forth as well as the gurus's from
the guru at that time as well. One can then use
that information to visualize one's self as a
manjari assistant to the guru-manjari and his guru-
manjaris as they serve Radha and
Krsna. This visualization is at the core of the
practice called "remembering the sports of
Radha and Krsna during the eight periods of the day
(asta-kaliya-lila-smarana)". If one
does not have the desire to do this form of mental
service, and many don't, one does not
need the siddha-pranali. Thus, it is not a separate
diksa and for many it is not strictly
speaking necessary. What one cannot do without,
though, is the mantra diksa and the
guru-parampara. Thus, when TM says: "All opposition
to Bhaktisiddhanta contends that
he did not receive the siddha-pranali initiation to
the esoteric worship of Radha and
Krsna from either Bhaktivinoda or Gaura Kisora (p.
3)", he is simply wrong. The
contention is that Bhaktisiddhanta did not get
mantra diksa and guru-parampara.
Without mantra diksa and guru-parampara there is no
question of receiving a siddhapranali.
When I left ISKCON it was not because I wanted some
siddha-pranali-diksa, it was
because I became convinced (and I am even more
convinced today) that Bhaktisiddhanta
did not receive mantra diksa and guru-parampara
from anybody. To return to an earlier
analogy, I became convinced that the chain or rope
that I was holding onto in hope of
being pulled out of the ocean of "becoming" was
tied to absolutely nothing. TM tacitly
recognizes this when he says: "Bhaktisiddhanta did
not teach his followers to worship the
diksa guru of Gaura Kisora Das Babaji .. (p. 3)".
The reason Bhaktisiddhanta didn't was
that he didn't know who the diksa guru of Gaura
Kisora Das Babaji was. Neither does
TM or anyone in the Gaudiya Math and ISKCON. My
contention is (based on an eyewitness
account of his own admission before Pandit
Ramakrsna Das Baba) that
Bhaktisiddhanta didn't know who his parama-guru was
because he never received diksa
and guru-parampara from Gaura Kisora Das Babaji. On
the other hand, Gaura Kisora
Das Babaji was notoriously difficult to get
initiation from (he once accused an initiation
hopeful quite crudely of wanting to butt-fuck him)
and even when one of his disciples
asked about guru-parampara he was, according to
Haridas Das's account, tremendously
evasive telling him instead to chant the Holy Name.
He emphasized the Holy Name over
everything and did not recommend lila-smarana.
Nevertheless, it is highly unlikely that
Gaura Kisora Das Babaji, who was not a brahmin and
who cared nothing for the caste
system, would have given Bhaktisiddhanta the surya-
gayatri in initiation. (See Gaura
Kisora Das Babaj's jivani in Sri Sri Gaudiya
Vaisnava Jivana, dvitiya khanda, by Haridas
Das. 3rd printing, Gaurabda 489 [1975], pp. 39-52.
Haridas Das's account of Gaura
Kisora Das Baba is quite interesting. What is most
interesting about it, though, is that
there is no mention of Bhaktisiddhanta at all.
Bhaktivinoda is mentioned, but mostly in
the context of Gaura Kisora's pleasure at having
eluded him by hiding out in a whore
house. I don't think that there was any great
enmity between Haridas Das and either
Bhaktivinoda or Bhaktisiddhanta, apart from the
usual dissatisfaction Navadvipa
Vaisnavas felt toward them for claiming Mayapura
was on the other side of the river. It is
strange that an important person like
Bhaktisiddhanta would not be mentioned, though.
Perhaps the diksa-seeker whom Gaura Kisora Das
Babaji accused of wanting to butt-fuck
him and later beat up with an umbrella was
Bhaktisiddhanta. In Haridas Das's account,
that person is never named, but was from a place
called Noakhali. I have no idea where
that place is. Gaura Kisora Das Baba, however, ends
by giving that person the Holy
Name and tells him if he chants for one year
without fail he will meet the Lord and if not
he should come back to Gaura Kisora Das Babaji. If
this is Bhaktisiddanta, perhaps his
name was not mentioned out of regard for his
reputation and the feelings of his
What I received from Tinkudi Baba (who lived out in
lonely places like Prema-sarovara,
not Radhakunda as TM claims) was mantra diksa and
guru-parampara and, because I
asked for it, thinking I would like to practice
lila-smarana at some point, he also gave me
the siddha-pranali. I have not as of yet begun the
practice of lila-smarana, but it is
comforting to know that I could if I wanted to. And
I may yet want to. Now, however, I
am certain that the rope I cling to when I sit to
do my mantra is attached firmly to the
ocean-liner of Sri Caitanya and that I am being
dragged, for the most part unwillingly I
must admit, toward the distant shore of Goloka.
It is interesting to note that TM mentions Ananta
Vasudeva and Sundarananda
Vidyavinoda in his book without clearly saying who
they were. Ananta Vasudeva was also
known as Puri Maharaja and was not only learned,
but was the man chosen by
Bhaktisiddhanta to replace him after his death.
Sundarananda Vidyavinoda was one of
the leading writers and thinkers of the Gaudiya
Math and the editor of the Math's
monthly journal for years. A few years after
Bhaktisiddhanta's passing, for some reason
the year 1941 sticks in my memory, Puri Maharaja
and Sundarananda Vidyavinoda left
the Gaudiya Math, but not alone. A number of
followers left with them and settled in
various places around Vraja to do bhajana, i.e.
hari-nama and lila-smarana. I heard the
following from one of them, then an old baba in
Govardhan. When Puri Maharaja
discovered the lack of initiation in the Gaudiya
Math lineage, he called all of the leading
sannyasi in the Math organization together and
informed them of his discovery. He
advised them: "You all may as well go home and get
married. Continuing this charade is
useless". (It has never been clear to me what
charade Puri Maharaj had in mind, the
Vaisnava charade or the sannyasa charade. Judging
from his later actions he probably
meant both) He then took his own advice taking off
his saffron robe and heading to
Vrindaban where he at first hid from the anger of
his former god-brothers (this part
sounds quite familiar to me). When he arrived in
Vrindaban he was given shelter by
Vishvambhar Goswami, one of the Radharaman
Goswamis. Shortly thereafter he publicly
renounced the Gaudiya Math and apologized for all
of the offenses he committed as a
prominent member and leader of it. He later married
and settled in Vrindaban producing
over the years one of the finest collections (more
than fifty volumes) of Gaudiya scripture
ever to be produced. This hardly sounds like
someone who had lost his sakti-sancara
(empowerment by Krsna).
The departure of Puri Maharaja strikes me as an
incredibly courageous and honest thing
to do. Here Puri Maharaja was in the highest seat
of power in the Gaudiya Math,
appointed by the founding acarya himself and
himself therefore the acarya of the
institution at the time. He could very well have
covered up the flaw and carried on.
Instead, at great risk to himself and at great
loss, he informed his god-brothers and set
out to put himself back on the correct path. Many
of his god-brothers, however, split off
into their own factions, struggling for control of
the institution or to establish their own
institutions, and tried to cover up the truth,
labelling Puri Maharaja as fallen and
claiming that he ran off with a woman. They fought
each other for years for pieces of the
juicy Gaudiya Math pie. After that time the Gaudiya
Math and its offshoots were firmly
founded on greed and deceit. The books the Math and
its family produced afterwards
were with few exceptions poorly edited and filled
with errors. None of them match up to
anything like the quality of the work produced by
either Puri Dasa (no longer a sannyasi)
or Sundarananda Vidyavinoda after they left the
Well, here I am at the end of an installment having
said much and yet with so much more
to say. Experienced writers know (not that I am
one) that they can never quite tell where
they will end up when they sit down to write. I
have only scratched the surface of one of
the three issues that I wished to discuss in this
essay and I am afraid I have also let
generosity slip out the door. Haven't I just called
the leaders of Gaudiya Math after Puri
Maharaja greedy and deceitful? Let me try and usher
some generosity back in by pointing
out that though the leaders of the Math may have
been crooked and deceitful, the rank
and file members probably had no idea of what was
going on. Prabhupada, who was still
being a chemist in Allahabad, probably only heard
that Puri Maharaja had fallen down
with a woman, shrugged, and turned back to selling
shaving cream and toothpaste. The
followers no doubt remained sincere.
We need to dig more deeply into the siddha-pranali
question. Where did the practice
come from? Who originated it? Why is it important
to the Gaudiya tradition? Who
should practice it and when? These are all
important issues as are the related questions
of the siksa-parampara and the supposed fall of the
Gaudiya tradition in the 19th
century. I will turn to these things in the next
installment. Look for that in a few days
rather than a month, since I am bursting with
Critique of Tripurari's little tan
Part 2
Nitai Das
October 21, 1999
Throughout my life it seems I have repeatedly found
myself in the position of the critic. It
is not a role that I particularly love, since it is
invariably unpleasant to criticize another's
work, but a role that seems to be constantly thrust
upon me. Indeed, over the years I have
lost a number of friends because of it. It seems to
be my sad fate to be the gadfly. There
seems to be nothing I can do about, however,
because it still irritates me when I see
stupidity passed off as wisdom. Tripurari's book is
bursting at the seams with stupidity and
I just cannot resist lancing it like the infected
boil it is. My friend (I haven't criticized him
yet, you see) Minaketana Rama Das forwarded a piece
of a conversation between
Prabhupada and some of his devotees about me after
I left ISKCON. Since it gets straight
to the point of this essay I want to cite a bit of
it here:
Hari-sauri: That was one thing that Nitai put in
his letter, that the teachings of ISKCON
are completely opposite or contradictory to what is
actually in the Sastra.
Prabhupada: Now he has become tiger. He wants to
kill that philosophy. When he did not
know anything he came to us. Now he has become
learned, he wants to criticize. The
same philosophy. "You have made me tiger, now I can
see you are my eatable." (laughs)
He could not find out any other eatable. "I shall
eat you." The rascal. What can be done?
(Roarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Time for a little lunch!)
What I said years ago in my parting letter
to Prabhupada is unfortunately still true today.
ISKCON has got it exactly backwards,
could not possibly get it more backwards than it
has and Tripurari's little book is a superb
example of that.
An example of what I shall call "the ass-backwards
principle" is found on page 8 of TM's
book where, quoting Bhaktisiddhanta, he says "First
maranam (ego death) then
smaranam." Not only is this completely contrary to
scripture, this is straight from the
mouth of the big bird himself. No wonder the
Gaudiya Math and ISKCON went astray.
Smarana of which siddha-pranali is an important
part is a variety of sadhana bhakti, that
is to say practical bhakti that is a means to
attaining the goal of preman. It is not sadhya
bhakti, that is bhakti as the final result or goal.
It is not the end result of practice, but the
means towards achieving that end result. Rupa
Goswami describes smarana as part of
raganuga bhakti in the second wave of the eastern
division of his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu
in which he is concerned exclusively with sadhana.
Bhava-bhakti and prema-bhakti make
up the third and fourth waves of the eastern
division respectively. Those are the results of
sadhana. In the section on bhava-bhakti Rupa
describes the arising of krsna-rati, love of
Krsna, and in the chapter on prema-bhakti he
describes that love when it becomes more
condensed and is experienced or relished by the
devotee. To put it more clearly in the
words used here: "smaranam leads to maranam, not
maranam to smaranam." Maranam is
the goal and smaranam is the means to that goal.
Bhaktisiddhanta (shall I call him BS for
short ?) has it ass-backwards.
Let us place this discussion in the context of
Rupa's nine stages in the development of
bhakti. Those nine stages are, as everyone knows:
faith (sraddha), association with the
good (sadhu-sanga), activity of worship (bhajana-
kriya), stopping of harmful things
(anartha-nivrti), steadiness (nistha), taste
(ruci), attachment (asakti), feeling (bhava),
and love (preman) (Brs. 1.4.15-16). Where does
smarana fit in this scheme? Smarana is
an activity of worship as are all types of sadhana.
It therefore is taken up in the third
stage, activity of worship, before the stage of
stopping of harmful or unhealthy things.
There is an implied causality operating in this
process. Through one's faith one
associates with the good. From the good one learns
how to execute the practice. As a
result of practice one's unwanted habits are
gradually stopped. When one's unwanted
habits cease one becomes unshakable in one's
practice. Being unshakable or unfailing in
practice leads to a taste for things related to
Krsna. Taste leads to developing a stronger
attachment. That strong attachment leads to the
feeling of love for Krsna and the
presence of that love for Krsna leads to the
experience of bhakti-rasa or what I call
"sacred rapture" which is also called preman. This
is kindergartner stuff.
On the stage of bhajana-kriya there is a fork in
the path. Some choose vaidhi-bhakti as
their bhajana-kriya, others choose raganuga as
their bhajana-kriya (see Brs. 1.3.269 and
1.3.292-3). Rupa makes it clear that these are two
separate, but parallel paths when he
distinguishes between the results of each in his
chapter on bhava-bhakti. Those who
follow the path of vaidhi develop one kind of bhava
(see Brs. 1.3.7, 1.3.9 for an example
of vaidhi-ja bhava) and those who follow raganuga-
bhakti develop another (see Brs.
1.3.14 for an example of raganuga-ja bhava).
Different examples of preman are given in
the chapter on prema-bhakti, too (see Brs. 1.4.6-
This view is consistent with the position of the
Bhagavata Purana on the intimate sports
of Krsna. At the end of the five chapters on
Krsna's Rasa lila with the gopi, the Purana
tells us:
anugrahaya bhutanam manusam dehamasritah
bhajate tadrsih krida yah srutva tat-paro bhavet
(Bhag. 10.33.36)
He (Krsna) has taken this human form to show
compassion to all beings and he engages
in such sports, the hearing of which makes one
intent on him.
And how does one benefit from hearing these
intimate sports? The Bhagavata says two
verses later:
vikriditam vrajavadhubhir idanca visnoh
sraddhanvito 'nusrnuyad atha varnayed yah |
bhaktim param bhagavati pratilabhya kamam
hrdrogam asvapahinotyacirena dhirah || (Bhag.
One who with faith hears about this sport of
Visnu's with the gopi and who describes it
quickly attains the highest devotion to the Lord
and easily destroys that disease of the
heart, lust.
These intimate sports of the lord with the gopi are
a kind of medicine to cure the disease
of lust. Whoever heard of waiting to take a
medicine for a disease until the disease is
cured? If one has a serious disease and has a
medicine, but refuses to take it, the disease
is never cured and one dies. This is the brilliant
course Bhaktisiddhanta has launched
Gaudiya Math and ISKCON on. This is ass-backwards.
There may be more to this than
mere buffoonery, however. There may be a more
malicious dimension to it all. If Krsna
has come into this world in order to attract the
lost and suffering living beings back to
him by pulling up the curtain and revealing the
sweetness of his eternal activities and if
someone else is trying to cover them back up and
hide them away, discount them, then
that person is actually interfering with and
hindering the lord's redemptive visit to the
world. That person is undermining the work not only
of Krsna and Caitanya
Mahaprabhu, but also of those who originated and
promoted one of the most powerful
and important practices in the Caitanya tradition,
the practice of smarana/siddha-pranali,
which is nothing more than remembering the sports
of Krsna and Mahaprabhu
throughout the day and night. Who are those
Before we explore that question, though, let me
comment on a few of the pieces of
support that TM rustles up for his position. He,
for instance, notes that Radhakrsna
Goswami (17th cent.) recommends renunciation of
household life as a prerequisite for
smarana (p. 8). What Radhakrsna Goswami actually
recommends is celibacy
(brahmacarya) as a qualification for the practice
of raganuga-bhakti, which means
essentially lila-smarana (Sd. 9.27). As evidence
Goswami cites a verse from Rupa
Goswami's Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (Brs 1.4.7):
na patim kamayet kamcit brahmacaryasthita sada |
tam eva murtim dhyayanti candrakantir varanana ||
(Padma Purana ?)
Beautiful faced Candrakanti, meditating on that
form alone, ever situated in celibacy,
would not desire any husband.
So far this looks good; this young lady is
definitely practicing celibacy. But wait! Where
did you say that verse came from? That's from the
fourth wave of the eastern division
where Rupa is describing preman, the ultimate
result of practicing raganuga bhakti. That
is the end result of the practice, not the
qualification for starting the practice. It is
absurd to demand that one already have achieved the
result of a practice before one even
begins it. This is assbackwards. In this case it is
the fault of Radhakrsna Goswami. Why
would he have made such a mistake? His knowledge of
scripture is far more vast than
mine. Still, it is a mistake and, whatever caused
the good Goswami to make it, it must not
be taken as binding. Instead, the verse and Rupa's
use of the verse in his work support the
point that I have been trying to make here.
Smarana/siddha-pranali is a practice that
leads one toward perfection and cannot therefore
require perfection as a prerequisite.
Moreover, since it has as one of its results the
overcoming of sexual desire, it can be, and
in fact should be undertaken by those who have not
yet conquered sexual desire.
Radhakrsna Goswami (9.29) points out one caveat in
the practice of smarana of the
confidential sports of Radha and Krsna, citing a
passage from Jiva Goswami's Bhaktisandarbha
(para. 338). This passage was surprisingly missed
by TM in his vain attempt to
shore up his ass-backward position. He might have
been able to twist this into some
semblance of support for his point of view. TM, of
course, can't read any of these texts
unless someone translates it for him. He is as
illiterate and as helpless as a baby. Any way,
Jiva Goswami quotes the passage of the Bhagavata I
cited above (vikriditam ..) and gives
the following commentary on it:
"one quickly gives up the disease of the heart,
lust and so forth that are not prone to sin
(?). While the superiority [of those sports with
the gopi] is established in general, among
them the worship (bhajana) of him sporting with his
most dear lover Radha is the highest
of all. That is self-evident. But that confidential
sport is not to be worshiped by those
whose senses possess human (or manly)
transformations (i.e. penile erection or other
forms of arousal) and by those whose feelings are
those of the parents, sons, or servants
because that is contrary to their own moods.
Sometimes the confidentiality is partial [as
with their kissing and embracing, etc.] and
sometimes complete [as with their sexual
union]." In other words one should not practice
smarana of Radha and Krsna's
confidential sports if one gets sexually aroused by
them. If one approaches those sports
sincerely from the siddha identity of a manjari
servant of Radha whose responsibility it is
to facilitate their pleasure, not one's own, one
can generally avoid this problem. This is in
fact at the very core of the practice; one learns
gradually to morph one's sadhaka identity
into that siddha identity. To approach it in any
other way is to collapse into voyeurism. If
one is not able to remember the confidential sports
of Radha and Krsna without getting
aroused then perhaps one should not do the practice
until one can.
Let us now return to the question of who were the
originators of the practice of
smarana/siddha-pranali. TM quotes Bhaktivinoda
Thakura who in his Jaiva-dharma
traces it back to Mahaprabhu himself (p. 7).
Mahaprabhu gave it to Vakresvara Pandita,
his kirtana partner, who passed it on to Gopalaguru
Goswami and Gopalaguru to his
disciple Dhyanacandra Goswami. The later two wrote
"methods" (paddhati) on it. This
may well be true, but it ignores another important
side of the practice. Vakresvara
Pandita, Gopalaguru, and Dhyanacandra are
relatively less well known members of the
Caitanya tradition. This gives the mistaken
impression that the practice of
smarana/siddhapranali developed among a peripheral
group of followers and is not
central to the Caitanya Vaisnava enterprise. The
first time we hear of the idea of a
siddha-deha which is at the core of the siddha-
pranali in any Caitanya Vaisnava text is in
Rupa Goswami's Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, in the
famous seva sadhaka-rupena verse (Brs.
1.2.295). The first time we hear of the manjari is
perhaps in Raghunatha Dasa's Vilapakusumanjali
(tvam rupamanjari sakhi ..., verse 1) or perhaps in
Gauraganoddesadipika. It is difficult to determine
the relative age of these works.
Nevertheless, it seems clear that the practice
developed in the Vrndavana circle of
Mahaprabhu's followers and was particularly well
suited to the simple and sparse life of
Vraja. Gopalaguru settled in Vrndavana after the
disappearance of Vakresvara Pandita
and Kavi Karnapura also retired to Vrndavana. In
fact, Raghunatha Dasa's address to
Rupamanjari at the beginning of his Vilapa-
kusumanjali may well indicate that Rupa
Goswami was already involved in the practice at the
Rupa was profoundly indebted to his elder brother
whom he regarded as his teacher.
Perhaps Sanatana had a hand in the development of
the practice as well. Vrndavana
insider Krsnadasa Kaviraja presents the teachings,
including those on the siddha deha, as
having all been given to Sanatana by Mahaprabhu
(Cc. Madhya, chaps. 20-24). Sanatana
in turn passes them on to his brother Rupa who
records them in his books. Sanatana's
own first book, Krsnalilastava, is an interesting
precursor to the practice. It combines the
holy names of Krsna suitable for the recounting of
the first forty-five chapters of the
Tenth Canto of the Bhagavata. Thus it is has both
nama-kirtana and lila-smarana
combined with 108 acts of obeisance spread
throughout it. In addition, in the chapter in
Sanatana's Brhad-bhagavatamrta called "Abhista-
labha" (2.6) in which Gopakumara visits
Goloka, he presents Krsna's lila in a form that
resembles to a high degree the form that
the daily sports will take in the hands of
Krsnadasa Kaviraja and Visvanatha Cakravartin.
Another Vrndavana insider, though one somewhat more
removed than Krsnadasa
Kaviraja, our Radhakrsna Goswami in his Dasa-sloki-
bhasya records the tradition that it
was Rupa himself who revealed the practice
primarily in the seva sadhaka-rupena verse
and in various of his stotras, but because of its
confidential nature he confined it
to his own followers and never wrote about it in an
ordered, detailed way. When his
followers encouraged him to do so, he was already
very old and close to death. One the
verge of death he taught it to Krsnadasa Kaviraja
in detail and asked him to publish it.
Krsnadasa Kaviraja honoring Rupa's request wrote
about it in great detail in the
enormous Govinda-lilamrta (Dasa-sloki-bhasya pp.
8-9, Haridasa Sastri's edition). The
seed of the daily sports of Radha and Krsna is
contained in the Astakaliya-lila-smaranamangala-
stotra which is often attributed to Rupa Goswami.
This practice of
smarana/siddha-pranali is therefore one of the core
practices of the Vrndavana Goswami,
quite probably conceived by them and certainly
expanded and expounded by them. As
such it has found a place of centrality in all
sectors of the Caitanya Vaisnava tradition,
except in ISKCON, which as decided to place the
cart before the horse instead of the
other way around. Perhaps nobody says it better the
Sri Rupa himself in his
Upadesamrta, verse 8:
A follower of someone
who is passionate for Him,
should pass one's time
living in Vraja,
gradually applying the mind and the tongue
to the remembering and chanting
of His names, forms, acts,
This is the essence of instruction.
This is the essence of instruction and it involves
both remembering and chanting, both
smarana and kirtana, not one or the other. Those
who pretend to be followers of Rupa
(rupanuga) should pay more attention to this
Critique of Tripurari's little tan
Part 3
Did You Say Siksa-parampara?
Nitai Das
March 14, 2000
Way back in October I promised that the next essay
in this series would examine the
question of siksa-parampara, the phony substitute
for a real guru-parampara invented by
Bhaktisiddhanta to camouflage the fact that he had
no real guru-parampara. Oops! That
just slipped out! Oh well. This I hope will be my
last essay on TM's little book or
on anything else relating to the Gaudiya Math or
ISKCON. Quite frankly, the line of
thought and literature created by those
organizations is so offensive to real Vaisnavas
even reading their works to critique them is
disruptive of and harmful to the cultivation
of bhakti. At the end of this essay I will suggest
a couple of possible remedies to this
problem, but I consider it highly unlikely that
those remedies will ever be applied. Instead
of dwelling on the flaws of those pseudo-Vaisnava
institutions, I want to focus future
essays on my own experiences at the feet of Sri
Tinkudi Baba, the Vaisnava siddha with
whom I found shelter after leaving ISKCON who was
both a baba and a hereditary
I wish to begin my discussion of siksa-parampara by
pointing out that if those opposed to
the idea of a siddhapranali wish to cast doubt on
it as a genuine institution of the
Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition because it appears only
with the second or third generation of
followers of Caitanya and even then among
relatively minor members of the Vrndavana
circle like Goplaguru Gosvamin, Vakresvara Pandita,
and Dhyanacandra Gosvamin, how
much more should one doubt the authenticity of the
institution of siksa-parampara which
only appeared the other day and again among an even
more minor Vaisnava community.
Moreover, if one wishes to argue that there is no
scriptural support for the institution of
siddha-pranali the argument applies with even
greater force to siksa-parampara for which
there is absolutely no scriptural support anywhere
in the vast ocean of Gaudiya texts, not
even in the works of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the
father of Bhaktisiddhanta. It is pure
invention, the invention of Bhaktisiddhanta
comparable to his invention of a Gaudiya
form of sannyasa (see the accompanying article,
"Gaudiya Vaisnava Dharma and
Sannyasa" by Dr. Radhagovinda Nath). The siddha-
pranali at least has some support in
Rupa Gosvamin's discussion of raganuga bhakti in
the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.294-
96) and in Jiva Gosvamin's discussion of initiation
in the Bhakti-sandarbha (283) where it
is said, quoting Agama, that initiation (diksa)
bestows divine knowledge. Jiva points out
that divine knowledge is knowledge of the true
nature of the Lord in the mantra and of
one's specific (visesa) relationship to Him. This
specific relationship is, of course, one's
true identity in relationship to the Lord, or in
other words, one's siddha-deha (there being
no difference in the spiritual realm between one's
self and one's body). Here is where the
nonsense of a siksa-parampara begins to unravel.
What is
communicated at the core of initiation is
knowledge. It is not just the giving of mantra. In
addition, this knowledge is not any knowledge: the
number of planet systems there are in
the universe or the number of ocean rings there are
or how many sections of the spiritual
realm there are or whether living beings were once
in Goloka or not. It is the most
essential knowledge, knowledge of who one really is
in relationship to the Lord. Thus,
initiation or diksa IS siksa, the most essential
and indispensable siksa one can receive.
One can certainly get by without the rest of what
counts as siksa, but one cannot get by
without this siksa if one ever wishes to play under
the skies of Goloka. To replace the
guru-parampara with a siksa-parampara obscures and
derails this fundamental function
of initiation. But this is only the first of
several idiocies that mix together to form the idea
of siksa-parampara.
The second idiocy comes with the word parampara. A
parampara is a lineage or
succession and is meant to specify a list or a
succession of singular things or people. Thus,
it applies quite well to the situation of the
initiating guru because a member of the
tradition is only supposed to have one initiating
or mantra guru. That Jiva Gosvamin says
quite clearly in his Bhakti-sandarbha (207). After
all, one only has one identity in
relationship to the Lord and that s learned from
the mantra guru. Jiva says in the
previous section of the same work (206), however,
that there can be many siksa gurus.
They teach the methods of worship or the
fundamentals of the philosophy or the
meanings of the various sacred texts. Different
teachers may be expert in different
aspects of the tradition. What sense does keeping
track of a parampara make in that
circumstance. A person may have three or four siksa
gurus and each of those may have
had three or four siksa gurus. One quickly loses
the thread of the succession. In fact, it is
impossible to construct a succession in such a
circumstance. An older siksa guru may take
siksa from the disciple of a disciple if that
disciple has mastered some subject from yet
another siksa guru. Then one's succession becomes
an endless loop. The idea, therefore,
of a siksa-parampara is sheer nonsense.
A third idiocy arises from what is implied by the
imposition of a siksa-parampara. Take
for instance what is implied by an early version of
the siksa-parampara taken from Jan
Brzezinski's excellent, but somewhat narrowly
conceived (since when does Gaudiya
Vaisnavism refer only or even primarily to the
Gaudiya Math and ISKCON) essay on this
subject called "The Parampara Institution in
Gaudiya Vaisnavism" (Journal of Vaisnava
Studies, vol. 5, no. 1).
Thelist is as follows (p. 152):
Caitanya (d. 1534)
Svarupa Damodara (d. 1540)
Sanatana Gosvamin (d. 1556)
Rupa Gosvamin (d. 1556)
Raghunatha Dasa Gosvamin (1586)
Krsnadasa Kaviraja (1612)
Narottama Dasa Thakura (ca. 1650)
Visvanatha Cakravartin (ca. 1710)
Baladeva Vidyabhusana (ca. 1725)
Jagannatha Dasa Baba (ca. 1911)
Bhaktivinoda Thakura (ca. 1917)
Gaurakisora Dasa Baba (1915)
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati (1937)
Bhaktivedanta Svami (1977)
This is the list found in Prabhupada's Bhagavad-
gita As It Is (1972) and in the
introduction to Bhaktisiddhanta's Anubhasya on the
Caitanya-caritamrta (1956). Where
is Jiva Gosvamin? Where is Gopala Bhatta Gosvamin?
Where is Kavi Karnapura? Jan's
fifth note on this list mentions that even Baladeva
was not included in Bhaktisiddhanta's
list (fn. p. 152). What about Ramananda Raya,
Srinivasacarya, Prabodhananda,
Radhakrsna Gosvamin? How about Vrndavana Dasa,
Locana Dasa, and Murari Gupta?
Are none of these great Vaisnavas worthy of giving
siksa? Are the tradition's greatest
theologian, greatest ritualist, and greatest
Vedantin not worthy of being siksa gurus? Did
those not on the list contribute nothing worthwhile
to the enrichment of the Gaudiya
Vaisnava tradition? This is patently ridiculous. On
the other hand, if the succession list is
not meant to be exclusive, then what on earth is it
for? Here are those we should learn
from, who have taught us something; the rest have
not. The idea of a siksa parampara is a
worthless concoction and one that implies something
offensive. The fact is, anyone can be
a source of siksa. The examples of this abound. A
famous one is, of course, the case of
Bilvamangala's being instructed by a prostitute
named Cintamani, but Krsna can and
does teach through anyone.
Part 1
Nitai Das
In the last issue, I said I would describe my
departure from ISKCON and some of my
experiences both before and after leaving. The
beginning of the end occurred when Dr.
Kapoor dropped his bombshell on me, informing me
that Bhaktisiddhanta was not
properly initiated. When, after several days, the
shock finally subsided somewhat, I began
to consider my options. I had by then left
Prabhupads traveling entourage where I had
for almost three years been the Sanskrit editor,
and had settled in Vrindaban. In
addition, I was then serving as the head pujari for
the Krishna-Balarama Mandir. Krishna
and Balarama are particularly beautiful images and
it was a great pleasure to serve them.
I got to live in a nice room in the new guest
house, eat good prasada, teach some of the
evening classes, attempt to educate the Gurukula
kids in Sanskrit, and take my two-hour
turns in the twenty-four hour kirtan.
I was a respected, senior member of the community.
Living in Vrindaban was great for
someone with even a little facility with the
languages. In the afternoons, when the rest of
the bhaktas were coming out of their siestas, I
would occasionally sneak out and attend a
class on the Harinamamrta-vyakarana, the Sanskrit
grammar composed entirely of the
names of Krsna written by Sri Jiva Goswami, at
Haridas Shastris ashrama not far from
the temple. Haridasa Shastri was a wonderfully
learned Vaisnava with nine tirthas after
his name, each tirtha representing an above average
expertise in an area of Sanskrit
philosophy and literature. A Bengali educated in
the traditional system (the Pathsala or
Tol system) in Benares, he apparently had assisted
Krsnadas Baba of Kusumasarovara in
his efforts to edit and publish all of the major
works of the Gaudiya tradition. He had also
been a siksa disciple of the great Vaisnava scholar
and saint, Pandit Ramkrishna Das
Baba. At the time that I began attending his
classed he was engaged in reprinting all of
the works previously published by Krsnadas Baba and
some others besides. In the
afternoon, he offered free classes on any of the
Goswami works to anyone who showed
up. There were usually a half a dozen men young and
old, probably from various
surrounding ashramas, there to study with him.
Unfortunately, my Hindi and Bengali
were not at that time strong enough for me to make
much of his detailed explanations of
the text, so I was an infrequent student.
Occasionally I succeeded in sneaking out in the
evenings, usually when someone boring
like the then temple president, Aksayananda
Maharaja, or some other foolish visiting
sannyasi gave the evening lecture. Instead I went
to hear the enthralling Nrsimha
Vallabha Goswami read and elaborate one of
Visvanatha Cakravartins short poems. His
lectures were then being given in the Radhadamodara
Temple. There I sat among the
white-clad little old ladies and men listening as
the great Goswami teased out the rasa of
every line, sometimes of every word, of
Visvanathas beautiful Prema-samputa. His
language, though Bengali, was so Sanskritic that
even I could follow it. What a master! I
will never forget how on one particular evening, in
a particularly emotionally charged
part of the text, I heard a loud honk and a thud a
couple of rows behind me. A bhakta
had keeled over in a faint and one of the
neighboring ladies was fanning him. Goswami
looked up, paused for a bit to be sure that the man
was alright or at least being cared for,
and then continued reading. Such eruptions of bhava
were not uncommon at the readings
in Vrindaban and they happened fairly frequently in
Nrisimha Vallabhas readings. All in
all things were pretty good. The place was brimming
with interesting people and it was
Still, I could not get past the disappointment. I
felt like I had been scammed. It was as if I
had been sold something very valuable and suddenly
it turned out to be a fake. All those
years we had been told, and in turn told others,
that ISKCON was the only real
descendent of the religious movement of Sri
Caitanya, and that turned out to be a lie. I
had given up everything and devoted myself to
following and serving Prabhupad in
whatever way I was able. My family had cut itself
off from me and I from it; my father had
even pronounced me dead; and for what? I really
felt cheated and angry. I decided that I
had come too far to give up then, and besides,
although living in Vrindaban was
wonderful, there were some irritants that came
along with living in the ISKCON complex.
I had developed a desire to chant 64 rounds of
Hari-nama and it was hard to find time to
do that in the temple context, especially in a
culture that did not value such practices. I
was constantly subjected to suspicion because of
that and because of my excursions into
the town in the evening to hear readings.
Eventually, I was told that I was no longer
allowed to visit the town in the evenings. Worse,
however, was the sense of spinning my
wheels that I felt at the Krsna-Balarama temple. I
had the feeling that none of us were
making any advancement. There was something corrupt
and corrupting in the
atmosphere and I couldnt quite put my finger on
what it was. I could tell a couple of
stories that would illustrate this corruption, but
that would carry us too far afield. Suffice
it to say that I felt a disease while staying
The next time I visited Dr. Kapoor I expressed a
desire to get properly initiated. I may
have even asked him if he would initiate me. He had
already told of his emotional
meeting with Gauranga Das Baba. He politely
declined and recommended instead, and
in extraordinary terms, a baba who lived way out in
the bush, He said this baba was a
siddha-mahapurus. a, a great one who had realized
Krsna-preman, one of only a few alive
in the holy abode at that time. Dr. Kapoor said
that this baba was known by different
names, Maunibaba because he observed periodic vows
of silence, Bangali Baba because
he was a Bengali, Tinkudi Baba from his nickname as
a child, but that his initiation name
was Kisori-kisorananda Baba. He also told me that
this baba was quite unusual because,
although he came from a highly respected family of
caste Gowsamis tracing back to
Nityananda Prabhu, he had left family life behind
and had adopted a life of deprivation
and solitary worship. He warned me that getting
initiation from him would be difficult,
because he led an extremely austere life, living
out in the wildest parts of the Vrajamandala
where few people dared to go. Dr. Kapoor spoke of
others, too, who occupied
very high places in the climb towards Krsna-rati.
He mentioned, in particular,
Krsnacarana Das Baba, who eventually became the
guru of my friend and colleague,
Jagannath Das.
The name Tinkudi Baba operated like a powerful
mantra in my mind. It kept returning
to me again and again. I had no idea where he was
and how I would ever meet him,
though. My only choice was to wait. I dont recall
how I met them, but I had become
friends with a couple of Vrajavasis, a young man
name Parimal Bishwas and his
grandmother Vinaparni. They had settled in
Vrindaban and lived in a small rented house
near the Ranganath temple. Occasionally, I visited
them and joined them for dinner.
Vinaparni was an excellent cook and I knew them
both to be Vaisnavas. It was perhaps
only a couple of days after first hearing the name
of Tinkudi Baba from Dr. Kapoor that I
asked Parimal about this Baba. He looked up with
surprise on his face and blurted out:
He is my guru! How did you hear about him? I told
him about my conversations with
Dr. Kapoor and repeated the good doctors praise
for the baba. I also asked him what he
knew about the initiation of Bhaktisiddhanta.
Parimal was the first of those I talked with
about it to confirm it. He had learned of it from
his grandmother, who it turned out had
formerly been a disciple of the Gaudiya Math, and
who was among those who left
somewhat after the time of Puridas. When I asked
her later, she, too, confirmed Dr.
Kapoors statement. She had been closely connected
with Haridas Sarma who had acted
as Puridass secretary towards the end of his life.
Haridas Sarma had helped Puridas
publish the later volumes of the wonderful set of
editions of the Gaudiya Vaisnava texts
that Puridas is famous for. Haridass name is given
as the publisher of the Puridas
editions beginning sometime in the 1950s.
I asked Parimal if he would help me meet the baba.
He responded with an enthusiastic
affirmative and a few days later came to tell me
that Baba was in Cakleswar on the bank
of the Manasasarovar near Govardhan. He was there
to celebrate the ceremony of the
feeding of the sixty-four saints (cau-sasti mahant
seva) to honor a great Vaisnava who had
just passed away. Parimal agreed to take me there
and introduce me. A few days later I
was on a bus to Mathura and from Mathura out to
Cakleswar with Parimal by my side.
When I first met Baba, tears did not begin flowing
from my eyes like Dr. Kapoors did
when he and his wife met their guru, Gauranga Das
Baba. I didnt feel like I had met an
old friend again after a very long time. Instead, I
was a bit surprised at Babas
appearance. It was only slowly, after watching him
move about giving directions to his
disciples and others on how to celebrate the
entrance of a fellow devotee of Krsna into
eternal sport that I began to get a sense of who he
was. I first noticed the way he dressed.
He wore only a kaupin or loincloth over his
genitals and a cloth over his shoulders and his
hair was long, stringy, and uncombed, hanging down
to his shoulders. Around his neck
were some of the largest tulsi beads I had ever
seen and on his forehead was the tilak
(sectarian mark) typical of Nityananda-paribar
(associates of Nityananda), made not out
of the white, powdery gopi-candana that was typical
of ISKCON and Gaudiya Math, but
out of the dark, thick, greyish mud which, as I
later found out, came from Radhakunda.
Except for the tilak, he looked more like a Sakta
than a Vaisnava. I suddenly realized that
I had seen his picture a year or two before in a
tiny stall in one of the markets of
Navadwip where I had gone to buy a copy of the
classic book on the Holy Name (Sri Sri
Nama-cintmani by Kanupriya Goswami. The stall
owner, after bringing out the book,
brought out a picture of Tinkudi Baba thinking I
would also want one of those. I took one
look at the picture and thought to myself why does
he think I want a picture of that mad
tantric? I had no idea who I was looking at at that
As I watched him I began notice how genuinely
jovial he was and how humble. He
seemed thoroughly happy. He had next to nothing and
yet he was happy. All of his
clothes were made of burlap. Even his slippers were
made of burlap. Apart from that he
had nothing else but his beads. I couldnt imagine
Prabhupad walking on such cloth with
his bare feet even once, let alone wearing it
constantly. What a difference there was
between the really humble, simple lifestyle of this
poor servant of Krsna, who depended
for everything on Krsna, and that of Prabhupad, who
lived like a king wearing silk and
gold and complained if his food wasnt prepared
just right. It was as if at some point
Krsna had offered these two devotees of his a
choice. Prabhupad had chosen Krsnas
wealth, his army so to speak, and Baba had chosen
Krsna himself. A whole new world of
Vaisnavism began to open up before me in the
presence of Tinkudi Baba, a world strange
and beautiful and, truth be told, also somewhat
terrifying, especially to someone like me
who had not fully surrendered to the will of Krsna.
How much easier it appeared to be to
be a Prabhupad and sit on a fancy lion-throne
surrounded by thousands of doting and
adulating disciples. Bba sat out in a lonely kutir
in the distant reaches of Vraja, wild
snake-infested places where few people dared to go.
He ate whatever could be begged
from the local villagers, and if they gave nothing,
that is what he had.
Reflecting back on my first experience of Baba a
couple of things stand out. The first is
the realization that part of the shock of my first
meeting with Baba was contributed by
the sense of having come face to face with
something very ancient in India. His
nakedness, his simplicity, his possessionlessness,
his austerity, and as I later discovered
later his ecstatic madnesses, all point to a kind
of religious lifestyle and experience that is
quite ancient in India. One need only recall the
naked philosophers that Alexander the
Great encountered when he came to India, three
centuries before the common era. One
of these gymnosophists accompanied Alexander back
to Greece and displaced Aristotle
as the conquerors teacher. Even in the time of
Alexander, however, such asceticism was
ancient. The hymn of the Rig Veda called The Long-
hair (10.136) indicates similar
practices at least seven centuries before
Alexander. The second verse of that hymn reads:
The ascetics, swathed in wind, put dirty red rags
When gods enter them, they ride with the rush of
the wind.
(OFlaherty, p. 137)
Certainly much has changed in the intervening
thirty centuries. Then it was Rudra; now it
is Radha and Krsna. Still, much remained the same.
I felt like I had arrived in the
company of Rupa and Sanatana. Certainly, they lived
much like this.
The second thing is that in Baba I am reminded of
the belief in the righteous man in
the Jewish mystical tradition called Kabbalah. The
righteous man or tsaddiq is like a
pillar that extends to heaven and upholds the
entire world. It is said in the tradition: the
righteous one is the foundation of the world. If
it weakens, the world cannot endure. If
the world contains just one righteous person, that
person sustains the world. (Matt, p. 78)
I wonder if it is similar with the siddha-
mahapurus. a, that they are the foundation of the
world. Without them the world would collapse. The
other thing about the tsaddiq is that
often it is impossible to recognize one. There is a
wonderful story from the Zohar called
The old man and the ravishing maiden in which the
righteous one appears as an old
donkey driver who seems rather cracked. Similarly,
I wonder if the siddha is often to be
found in unlikely places. Perhaps, he is not to be
found on the simhasana in front of the
lights and cameras, but out in the darkness lit up
only by the dim glow of a kerosene
latern and perhaps it is only because of him that
Krsna has not smashed the whole world.
Part 2
Nitai Das
After I met Tinkudi Baba, sometime in 1975, the
world seemed like a different place
altogether. The despair I felt when I discovered
the absence of authentic initiation in
ISKCON turned into hope. I was filled with a new
enthusiasm. I went back to my normal
life at the Krsna Balarama temple in Vrindaban
where I had settled after leaving
Prabhupadas traveling party.
For about two years I had travelled with Prabhupada
as his Sanskrit Secretary. During
that time we circled the earth at least four times.
I had joined the party in 1973 because
the editors at the Press were worried about a slow
down in the pace at which my
predecessor, Pradyumna Prabhu, was working. At that
time Prabhupada was translating
the Bhagavata Purana, Cantos Four, Five, and Six.
It was the Sanskrit Secretarys job to
collect the tapes that Prabhupada made each
morning, get them typed, check them over
for typos or uncertainties, add the diacritics to
the transliterated Sanskrit verses and
quotations (sometimes hunt for those quotations,
too), and make any minor editing
changes that were needed. If there was any question
about a translation or citation, the
editor went straight to Prabhupada to ask about it.
Pradyumna had travelled with
Prabhupada for about a year or two, but after a
while he began to lapse into periods of
inaction or at best ineffective action during which
the typed manuscripts, hot off the holy
Dictaphone, so to speak, began to pile up.
Eventually even Prabhupada became
frustrated. He once affectionately referred to
Pradyumna Prabhu as a dead horse and
pointed out that it was useless to try to beat a
dead horse into action. At last, Prabhupada
agreed to adding another member to the party to
help Pradyumna get caught up. At that
time I was the head of the Sanskrit Editing
Department at the Press which was then in
Brooklyn and, well, I jumped at the opportunity to
travel with Prabhupada. Naturally,
neither my wife at the time, Rastrapalika, nor my
chief assistant, Jagannatha Das, were
very pleased, my wife, because of the separation
involved, and Jagannatha because he felt
it should have been him, since he had no family
ties. Perhaps he was right.
My time traveling with Prabhupada was a magical
time. At first Pradyumna and I
travelled together with Prabhupada working jointly
to diminish the backlog. Then at
some point Pradyumna dropped off the travelling
party for a while, I forget why. That left
me to handle the editing alone. At some points I
was the only traveling secretary,
handling the duties of all the others in the
traveling party: cooking for Prabhupada, giving
him his daily massages, seeing to his laundry, and
helping him with correspondence, and
editing his manuscripts. Perhaps in a later
installment I will recount some of my
experiences as one of Prabhupadas traveling
secretaries. For now, however, suffice it to
say that after nearly nearly two years of nearly
ceaseless wandering around the globe with
Prabhupada, I was happy to settle down in
Vrindaban, edit the tail end of the Bhagavata
backlog, teach Sanskrit to the new Gurukula
students (Gurukula was the name of the
ISKCON school in Vrindaban) and, at Prabhupadas
request, work on a curriculum for
the Gurukula that would get the school accredited
by the government of India. Those
were the tasks I returned to, somewhat reluctantly,
after meeting Baba.
Working on the Gurukula curriculum was fun and
interesting, however. My plan of action
was to find a curriculum that was already
accredited by the government of India and
reproduce it, but using books from within Caitanya
Vaisnava tradition. I decided to check
into the traditional Sanskrit school system to see
what they used as a curriculum. I visited
some of the local Vrindaban Pathasalas (schools)
and even enrolled in one for a time.
Working from a copy of the curriculum they used,
which was established and supported
by the respected Sampurnananda Samskrta
Visvavidyalaya in Benares, the primary
Sanskrit institution in India, I began replacing
the texts with comparable ones belonging
to the Caitanya tradition. I visited several of the
leading Caitanya Vaisnava scholars in
Vrindaban to ask for advice on texts to incorporate
in the curriculum. I visited Sri
Nrisimha Vallabha Goswami, Dr. Achyut Lal Bhatt
Goswami, Haridas Shastri, Vanamali
Das Shastri, Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor and many others who
were learned in the
Caitanya tradition. Based on their advice I created
a curriculum that had everything the
traditional curriculum had, except that most of the
texts were written by the great
Vaisnava teachers in the tradition of Mahaprabhu.
The areas of study included in the
traditional curriculum were Sanskrit grammar
(vyakarana), literary criticism (alankarasastra),
ritual (smrti), philosophy (darsana), literature
(sahitya), astrology/astronomy
(jyotisa), arithmetic/ mathematics (ganita), and an
optional choice of modern languages
(Hindi, Bengali, English, etc). The course of study
generally lasted eight years and
concluded with the bestowing of the degree or title
Sastri on those who successfully
passed the exams. The first set of exams, one in
each of the eight areas, was administered
after three years, the second set after another
three years, and the degree exams two
years after that. There were higher degrees like
Acarya and Vidyavaridhi comparable to
the Masters and Doctoral degrees, but I didnt
worry about those then. Those generally
required an original piece of research. There were
a few texts from outside the Caitanya
tradition that my informants thought were so
fundamental that they recommended they
be part of any Vaisnavas education. These were
texts like the Vedanta-sara of
Sadananda, the Vedanta paribhasa of Dharmaraja
Adhvarindra, the Tarkasangraha of
Annambhatta, and a few others. The curriculum I
developed then has more or less
become the basis for the curriculum of the Caitanya
Sanskrit Tol currently operating
through Nitais Bhajan Kutir.
Apart from my work on the curriculum, editing, and
teaching in the Gurukula, I would
often go in the afternoons to visit Dr. Kapoor. He
would offer me some prasadi (offered)
sweets from his household deities and we would talk
for hours about points of philosophy
and practice. Dr. Kapoor was very kind to me and
took some risks with me that I hope he
never came to regret. As we sat together in the
small sitting room of his house which was
part of the compound of the Radharamana Temple, his
hand was always in his bead bag
and the Mahamantra was always being repreated just
beneath his breath. He told me
much about his own religious life, his conversion,
as a young philosophy professor, from
the aridity of monistic Vedanta to Caitanya theism
at the hands of Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati, his first meeting, much later, with
Gauranga Das Baba, the power of the line of
Bodo Baba (Sri Radharamana Carana Dasa Baba) who
was the guru of the guru of Sri
Gauranga Das Baba, the wonderful ability of both
Bodo Baba and Ram Das Baba
(Gauranga Das Babas guru) to create kirtans
spontaneously that answered unspoken
questions in the minds of those who happened to be
listening. He explained a great deal
about the meaning and power of the famous chant
that has become the trademark kirtan
of the tradition following Bodo Baba:
bhaja nitai gaura radhe syama
japa hare krsna hare rama
Worship Nitai and Gaura (Caitanya),
Radha and Syama.
Utter Hare Krsna Hare Rama
Dr. Kapoor claimed that the short Bhaja Nitai Gaura
chant compressed the whole of
Caitanya Vaisnava practice into a few sweet and
rhythmic words, easy to remember and
easy to chant. He said it had extraordinary powers,
that apart from inducing powerful
religous ecstasy it could cure the sick and even
raise the dead. He also told me of how at
various times in his life when he was in some kind
of difficulty or confusion, Bodo Baba
himself had appeared to him in his dreams and shown
him his mercy by giving him help
and guidance. Since the first of those experiences
the Bhaja Nitai Gaura chant had been
a source of solace, protection, joy for him. Though
Dr. Kapoor didnt tell me about how
this chant came about during those talks, I
recently looked up the account of how it was
revealed in the biography of Bodo Baba called
Nectar of the Acts [of Bodo Baba]
(Carita-sudha) compiled by Ram Das Baba. Here is a
paraphrase of the biographys
account of that event.
This extraordinary chant was revealed by Bodo Baba
in the midst of an intense kirtan he
led during a prolonged stay in Krishnagar. While
singing a particular kirtan song Bodo
Baba went into a deep trance. Tears began to flow
from his eyes in streams and his body
was covered with goose-bumps. An instant later his
body shook violently like a tree in a
powerful wind and he fell unconscious on the
ground. The devotees surrounded him and
began to chant the Holy Name. Seeing in his body
the rising and falling of waves of
powerful emotions, the devotees became astonished.
When he became paralyzed with
emotion, it seemed as if his body was devoid of
life. Then in an instant he would laugh, in
the next moment he would cry, a moment later he
would shiver and a moment after that
he would be covered with goosebumps. After a while
he came halfway to consciousness
and stutteringly uttered:
bhaja nitai gaura pabe radhe syama
japa hare krsna hare rama
The meaning here is a little different from the
form above:
Worship Nitai and Gaura (Caitanya)
and you will get Radha and Syama.
Recite Hare Krsna Hare Rama
Some of the devotees who surrounded him began to
sing these words and that grew into a
kirtan that lasted long into the night. One group
would sing the first line and another
group would respond with the second, each group
seemingly trying to overpower the
other. Some time later during the kirtan Bodo Baba,
leaning against a wall, his eyes half
open, his body drenched in tears and covered with
goose-flesh, a smile on his face, raised
the pointing finger of his right hand and swayed
back and forth in intense emotion. At
some point, too, a wonderful, mind-attracting aroma
filled the place, but none of the
devotees could find its source. Around about
midnight, the kirtan began to wind down,
but Bodo Baba continued to be overwhelmed with
At the time that Bodo Baba fell into his ecstasy,
he was singing a song which apparently
he composed. The short Bhaja Nitai Gaura chant
seems to have condensed out of that
longer song as its essential meaning. As such, the
longer song is a kind of commentary on
the short one. That longer song is this:
Nitai and Gaura dance like Radha and Krsna
Everyone sings hare krsna hare rama.
If you really want this Gauranga,
become a servant of Nityananda.
Even one who says only with his mouth:
I am a servant of Nityananda
will perceive the true form of Gaura.
The love of the gopi as in the Bhagavata
one will get only from Nityananda in this world.
Nityananda is the giver of love;
Gauranga is his greatest treasure.
In the pleasure of the Rasa dance,
one will meet Sri Radharamana.
Climbing aboard the boat hare krsna hare rama,
cross over the ocean of rebirth to Vrndavana.
My Nitai frolics, my Nitai plays,
All who are maddened with love he makes his own.
Here my Nitai dances, overwhelmed with emotion.
Whomever he finds, even a Candala, he takes on his
Dr. Kapoor told me that contrary to the
misinterpretations of various ISKCON and GM
members, the juxtaposition of Nitai-Gaura and
Radhe- Syama is not meant to imply the
identification of Nityananda with Radha. Such an
identification is never made in the line
of Bodo Baba. Only someone completely ignorant of
the history and meaning of the song
would make such a claim. This song is clearly about
the power of Nityananda as the one
who can conduct one to the feet of Gauranga who is
in turn the joined form of Radha
and Krsna. The power and influence of Nityananda is
so much a part of the teaching of
Bodo Baba that those who knew him and those who are
initiated in his line consider him
to be a saktyavesa avatara or empowered incarnation
of Nityananda. The idea that one
must approach Mahaprabhu through Nityananda is not
an uncommon one in the
Caitanya tradition.
Dr. Radhagovinda Nath
(From the Appendix to his edition of the
Caitanya-caritamrta of Krsnadasa Kaviraja)
translation by
Neal Delmonico (Nitai Das)
Some people ask about the place of the institution
of sannyasa (formal renunciation) in
the religious tradition of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.
Therefore, a little reflection on this topic
will be done here. In what condition is taking
sannyasa appropriate? That is the first thing
that should be considered. The Maitreyi Upanisad
yada manasi vairgyam jatam sarvesu vastusu |
tadaiva sannyased vidvan anyatha patito bhaved
"When detachment to all things is born in the mind,
then one should renounce.
Otherwise one would become fallen."
That Upanisad also says:
dravyartham anna-vastrrtham yah pratiharthameva va
sannyased ubhaya-bhrastah sa muktim naptum arhati
|| (2.20)
"For things, for food and clothing, or for power,
one who renounces for any of those
things is fallen both now and in the future and
does not deserve liberation."
But Mahaprabhu himself has said that in the Age of
Kali there is no prescription for
sannyasa citing as evidence the Brahma-vaivarta
asvamedham gavlambham sannyasam palapaitrikam |
devarena sutotpattim kalau paca vivarjayet ||
"The asvamedha sacrifice, cow-killing (in the
Madhuparka rite), renunciation, offering
meat to the forefathers (?), begetting sons by
means of the husband's younger brother;
these five are to be rejected in the Age of Kali."
From this it is understood that even for one who
has the qualification specified in the
sruti cited above sannyasa is not recommended in
the Age of Kali.
In Varanasa, after listening to the primary meaning
of the Vedanta-sutra from
Mahaprabhu at the house of the Maharastrian
brahmana, one of Prakasnanda Sarasvati's
chief disciples sitting in the ashram thinking
about the Lord's explanation of Vedanta
"I consider the statements
of Sri Krsnacaitanya
to be completely true.
In the Age of Kali
we do not overcome
the cycle of rebirth by sannyasa." (C.c., Madhya,
From this, too, it is understood that in the Age of
Kali sannyasa is without utility.
What has been said above, however, is only the
general rule. Let us see whether there is
any specific rule mentioned in the statements of
Mahaprabhu or not.
In Varanasi, in the context of describing "that
which is to be conveyed" (abhidheya-tattva,
ie. bhakti) to Sanatana Gosvamin, on the topic the
behavior of Vaisnavas, Sri
Mahaprabhu said:
Giving up association with the unholy,
this is the practice of Vaisnavas.
One who associates with women is one;
the other is the unholy non-devotee of Krsna.
Rejecting all these and varnasrama-dharma,
without possessions one should find
one's only shelter in Krsna. (C.c., Madhya, 22.49-
This instruction of Mahaprabhu is about the
rejection of varnasrama-dharma for
Vaisnavas. Varnasrama-dharma means the caste system
and system of stages of life. In
scripture is found the prescription for four stages
of life the student stage of celibacy,
the householder stage of marriage, the stage of the
hermit, and the stage of renunciation
(sannyasa). Renunciation is the fourth stage of
life. For those who practice the path of
bhakti, Mahaprabhu has said that this (sannyasa) is
also to be rejected. Rejection of the
system of castes and stages is counted as one of
practices of Vaisnavas.
In the context of the sixty-four limbs of bhakti as
means (sadhana-bhakti), the Lord has
not given any instruction for sannyasa. Instead he
has said: "knowledge and renunciation
are never parts of bhakti." (C.c., Madhya, 22.82)
The Gosvamin headed by Rupa, who follow the
footsteps of Sri Mahaprabhu, have
established the example of worship in the Vaisnava
tradition and have published books,
such as the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu showing the path
of worship. In their books, an
instruction for the practice of sannyasa is not
found anywhere. Also, none of them took
sannyasa. They only wore the cloth of those without
possessions (niskicana). Sri
Sanatana Gosvamin received one piece of an old
cloth from Tapana Misra at Varanasi
and with that made a kaupin and outer cloth. This
is the dress of one without possessions.
When Sri Jagadananda went to Vrindaban, he one day
invited Sanatana Gosvamin for
food. A sannyasi by the name of Mukunda Sarasvati
gave Sanatana an outer cloth.
Sanatana tied that outer cloth on his head and went
to keep
Jagadananda's invitation. Then:
Seeing the reddish cloth, the Pandita
became overwhelmed with love.
Thinking it the remnant of
Mahaprabhu, he questioned him:
"Where did you get this reddish cloth?"
"Mukunda Sarasvati gave it," replied Sanatana.
Hearing that, sadness arose in the Pandita's mind.
Taking up the rice pot, he came to hit him. (C.c.,
Sanatana was embarrassed. Seeing that, Jagadananda
Pandita placed the pot on the stove
and said to Sanatana:
You are the chief of the associates of Mahaprabhu;
There is no other as dear to Mahaprabhu as you.
You wear another sannyasi's cloth on your head.
When something like this happens, how can one
tolerate it?
(C.c., Antya, 13.55-6)
Then Sanatana said:
Right! Pandita Mahasaya!
No one is as dear to Caitanya as you.
This kind of unwavering faith in Caitanya is
suitable in you.
If you did not show me, how would I learn this?
To see that, this cloth was tied on my head;
Unprecedented love have I seen before my very eyes.
It is not fitting for a Vaisnava to wear reddish
I will give it to some visitor; what need have I
with it?
(C.c., Antya, 13. 57-60)
Here Sanatana has said: "It is not fitting for a
Vaisnava to wear reddish cloth." Here this
is not a reddened cloth or a red-colored cloth.
This is the color of cloth that Mahaprabhu
used as an outer cloth (saffron), because
Jagadananda Pandita mistook it for a remnant
of Mahaprabhu. This was the outer cloth of a
sannyasi named Mukunda Sarasvati. This
was the color of cloth that sannyasis used as outer
cloths. Reddened (rakta) means dyed
or colored cloth. From Sri Sanatana's statement it
is understood that far from taking
sannyasa, Vaisnavas should not even wear cloth
colored like that of sannyasis. Someone is
perhaps able to say that the Ramanuja Sampradya or
the Madhva Sampradaya is
Vaisnava, but in these communities sannyasi are
found. In answer to this it is said that the
practices of each community of practitioners is in
accordance with attainment of that
community's desired goals. The objective of the
Ramanuja Sampradaya or of the Madhva
Sampradaya is not the same as that of the Gaudiya
Sampradaya. The object of worship of
those two communities is the Lord of the Supreme
Heaven, Narayana; the object of
worship of the Gaudiya community is Sri Krsna, the
son of leader of Vraja in Vraja. The
mood of those two communities is the mood of
godliness in Vaikuntha; the mood of the
Gaudiya community is the mood of pure sweetness
free of knowledge of godliness in
Vraja. The desired objective of those two
communities is the liberations headed by
sharing of a world (salokya), etc.; the desired
objective of the Gaudiya community is
service (seva) whose purpose is only the happiness
of Krsna in Vraja. Desire for
liberation is contrary to the mood of the Gaudiya
community, contrary to worship
(bhajana). For this community:
Obstacles to Krsna-bhakti
are all auspicious and inauspicious works.
That is one living being's
trait of the darkness of ignorance. (C.c., Adi,
The darkness of ignorance
is called the fraudulent (kaitava):
All desire for piety, wealth,
sensuality, liberation, and so forth. (C.c, Adi,
The Bhagavata's "highest religion free from fraud"
is the religion to be practiced by the
Gaudiya community. The observance of varnasrama-
dharma is favorable to the
attainment of the liberations headed by sharing a
world. For this reason, those who desire
liberation observe varnasrama-dharma.
The Tattvavadi teacher who followed Sri Madhvacarya
said to Mahaprabhu in connection
with his community's means and goal:
Offering varnasrama-dharma to Krsna,
this is the highest means for the devotee of Krsna.
Attaining the five kinds of liberation and going to
this is the highest objective according to
(C.c., Madhya, 9.238-9)
Sri Ramanujacarya, too, in his commentary on the
Brahma-sutra and on the Gita has
talked about the observance of varnasrama-dharma.
Previously it was said that sannyasa is a part of
varnasrama-dharma. Since the Ramanuja
community and the Madhva community, both desirous
of liberation, observe varnasramadharma,
taking sannyasa is not prohibited for them. This
for them is a specific rule. But
the Gaudiya community is not desirous of
liberation; varnasrama-dharma and the
sannyasa that is included in it is not suitable to
their form of worship. The sannyasa that
is found in Vedic scriptures is the sannyasa of
varnasrama-dharma. Other forms of
sannyasa are not found in Vedic scriptures. The
sannyasa that was started in the Buddhist
community, which is inimical to the Vedas, is not
the sannyasa that is approved by the
Vedic scriptures. The community of sannyasi of ten
names was started by Sri
Sankaracarya, to many in imitation of the
Buddhists. Whether the titles of the ten-named
sannyasi, Giri, Puri, Vana, Bharati, and so forth,
were in use among the sannyasi who
followed the Vedic scriptures is not known. In
later times many accepted the form of
sannyasa in imitation of Sri Sankara, but did not
take the titles of the Sankara tradition.
Whether their sannyasa is the sannyasa endorsed by
the Vedic scriptures or not is a
subject for the consideration of scholars.
Madhavanada das
Let me make it very clear that I am not interested
in an intense back-and-forth knee-jerk
stubborn quarrel over anything mentioned in the
thread topic title. I am also not trying to
convert anyone to anything, just in case somebody
was going to say that. I am interested
in the historical facts surrounding the initiation
of Bhaktisiddhanta. I trust our intelligent
audience can understand this.
Here are my notes on the subject matter of the
initiation of Bhaktisiddhanta:
a) Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was in the habit of
visiting Ramakrishna Dasa Pandita
Babaji during his visits to Vrindavana since he was
without a doubt one of the most
respected of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas of the 1920s
and 1930s. On one occasion Sarasvati
was highly praising Gaura Kishora Babaji in Pandita
Baba's presence. Pandita Baba asked
him if he had re-ceived initiation from him.
Sarasvati said he had received it in a dream.
Pandita Babaji said that that was fine, but he
should receive it in the flesh since that is the
only type of initiation accepted in the Caitanya
tradition. Bhaktisiddhanta said he would
and ended the visit. Years later Sarasvati returned
to Vrindavana as the acarya of the
Gaudiya Matha, a famous man. He visited Pandita
Babaji and was asked again if he
had gotten initiation from Gaura Kishora Dasa Baba.
His answer was the same, at which
point Pandita Baba got extremely angry with him for
making disciples without proper
initiation. This incident was witnessed by Sri
Kisori Mohana Gosvami, Sri Kisori Dasa
Babaji and Advaita Dasa Babaji of Govardhan.
b) There is no indication of Sarasvati's being
initiated by Babaji Maharaja in any of his
objective biographies, objective meaning compiled
by anyone who would not be bound
out of prejudice to accept the statement of
Sarasvati, being a follower of his. The brother
of Sarasvati, Lalita Prasada Thakura, denies
Sarasvati's receiving diksa from Babaji
Maharaja. The pujari and other residents of Gaura
Kisora Dasa Babaji's bhajana kutira
knew of only four disciples of Babaji, but
Sarasvati was not among them.
c) Sarasvati did not reveal the parampara of Gaura
Kisora Dasa Babaji to his followers.
In fact, even the name of Babaji Maharajas diksa-
guru was not revealed by Sarasvati.
Now, why would a disciple not reveal the diksa-
parampara of his guru? It is a common
practice that at the time of diksa the guru reveals
his guru-pranali, or the succession of
gurus back to the time of Sriman Mahaprabhu and His
d) According to Hari Bhakti Vilasa (2.8.5), at the
time of diksa the guru bestows the
specific sectarian signs he carries unto the
disciple: sampradayika mudradi bhusitam tam
krtanjalim In his commentary on this verse, Sri
Sanatana Gosvami explains:
sampradayikam guru-paramparasiddham, "This
sampradayika refers to the guruparampara,"
and mudra tilaka maladi, "And mudra refers to
tilaka and strings of beads."
Consequently the recognized parivaras, like
Nityananda-parivara, Advaita-parivara,
Narottama-parivara and Syamananda-parivara, have
their specific tilaka-svarupa. If
Sarasvati received diksa, why is it that he and his
followers have adopted a tilaka which
was not worn by his diksa-guru, who must have at
the time of diksa given a specific tilakasvarupa
to Sarasvati?
e) Wherefrom did Sarasvati receive the sacred
thread and the brahmagayatri, which he
passed on to his disciples? Certainly not from
Gaura Kisora Dasa Babaji, who was a
vaisya by birth, and did not chant the brahma-
gayatri, nor wear a sacred thread.
f) What is the origin of the specific set of
mantras given in the line of Sarasvati? Hari
Bhakti Vilasa mentions Gopala Mantra and Kama-
gayatri as diksa-mantras. The
paddhatis of Gopala Guru and Dhyanacandra give an
elaborate list of mantras for
raganuga-sadhana, but the guru-mantra
and guru-gayatri given by Sarasvati are different
from the ones given in these paddhatis.
Then let us turn to some of the source material I
have at hand. I find the following
statement of Bhakti Vikash Swami of ISKCON, who is
compiling a biography on
Bhaktisiddhanta, very interresting:
In 1932 Visvambharananda dasa Babaji, on behalf of
many babajis and caste Goswamis
in Vrndavana, published a book opposing
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his Mission,
citing extensively from sastra to support his
arguments. He challenged that the line of
parampara traced from Jagannatha dasa Babaji
through Bhaktivinoda Thakura to Gaura
Kisora dasa Babaji and then to Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati was unauthorized.
Visvambharananda claimed that although Sarasvati
Thakura was supposed to be the
disciple of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, he was
disqualified in several ways. First, Sarasvati
Thakura did not accept as bona fide the recognized
lineage of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji,
whose guru was in the Advaita-parivara.
Furthermore, since Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji
had never used a japa-mala, and had not given one
to Sarasvati Thakura at the time of
initiation but had simply placed some Navadvipa
dust into his hand, Visvambharananda
argued that such an initiation was not bona fide.
The implication was that Sarasvati
Thakura had not actually received pancaratrika-
diksa from Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, so
how could he confer it upon others? Nor had Gaura
Kisora dasa Babaji worn a brahmana
thread, so on what authority did Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati wear one? Moreover,
Visvambharananda argued, Sarasvati Thakura claimed
to be a follower of Bhaktivinoda
Thakura, who was initiated by the caste Goswami
Bipina Bihari. Why then did
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati not accept guru-parampara
by seminal descent? Bhaktivinoda
Thakura had given him a Nrsimha mantra for
worshiping the Deity, yet Sarasvati
Thakura was giving a Radha-Krsna mantra for this
purpose. Wherefrom did he derive
this mantra, and on whose authority did he
distribute it? Visvambharananda further
objected that since Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was a
sannyasi without a sannyasa guru,
how could he give sannyasa to others? Sarasvati
Thakura responded by explaining the
concept of bhagavataparampara, or siksa-parampara.
He maintained that the essence of
parampara lies in the transmission of
transcendental knowledge, not merely in a list of
contiguous names. The life of the parampara is
maintained by the maha-bhagavatas, who
embody the essence of scriptural knowledge.
Therefore, to trace the parampara through
such maha-bhagavatas truly represents parampara. He
said, "Bhaktivinoda Thakura is
Kamala Manjari, a personal associate of Radharani.
He ordered me to establish daivavarnasrama.
I must obey his order. The acarya is not under the
sastra. The acarya can
make sastra. Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the acarya, has
inspired me in various ways. By his
mercy and that of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja
and the previous acaryas we are
going on, not caring for the precise technicalities
of smartas. "Although this concept of
bhagavata-parampara appears to be new, it is based
on the essential understanding of the
scriptures. Something new given by an acarya but
based on sastra is called vaisistya
(a special characteristic). Acaryas Ramanuja and
Madhva both apparently introduced
something new, but because their teachings were
based on sastra they came to be
accepted. Phalena pariciyate: 'An action should be
understood by its result.' My
commitment to devotional service and my preaching
activities speak for themselves. Owllike
persons cannot see this, but those who are honest
will accept it." Bhakti Vikash
Maharaj relates, "It [the quote from BSST] is
almost certainly not verbatim, especially as
it was originally spoken or written in Bengali. It
is as told to me by the late Jati Shekhar
Prabhu, a disciple of SBST."
I find it significant that even an insider will
admit that a traditional pancaratrika-diksa most
likely never took place, although a kind of
initiation was there, which they experience as
The following statement is given in a biography,
compiled by Bhakti Kusum Sraman
"With the permission of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura,
Srila Sarasvati Thakura accepted
Bhagavati initiation from Srila Babaji Maharaja in
the month of Magha (January-
February) 1900 A.D."
It is unknown to me what the "Bhagavati initiation"
means. Perhaps it means a kind of
informal initiation, in the spirit of "Bhagavata
parampara". The BBT printing of Brahma
Samhita states:
"In 1905, following the advice of his father,
Siddhanta Saraswati accepted spiritual
initiation from Gaurakisora dasa Babaji."
It is obvious that the authority of this statement
is questionable, given the five-year error in
the date compared to the Gaudiya Matha edition,
which I recall draws the time from
Bhaktisiddhanta's own writings in "The Harmonist".
Then I have some accounts related by Nitai Das on
record, from the time when he began
to study the issue:
The eyewitnesses I know of and from whom I heard
were eyewitness to Bhaktisiddhanta's
admission before Pandita Ramakrsna Das Baba that he
had not received initiation from
Gaura Kishora Das Babaji.
Bhaktisiddhanta was in the habit of visiting
Pandita Babaji during his visits to Vrindaban
since he was without a doubt the most respected of
the Caitanya Vaishnavas of the 1920s
and 1930s. On one occasion Bhaktisiddhanta was
highly praising Gaura Kishora Das in
Pandita Baba's presence. Pandita Baba asked him if
he had received initiation from him.
Bhaktisiddhanta said he had received it in a dream.
Pandita Babaji said that that was fine,
but he should receive it in the flesh since that is
the only type of initiation accepted in the
Caitanya tradition. Bhaktisiddhanta said he would
and ended the visit. A few years later
Siddhanta returned to Vrindaban, now the acharya of
the Gaudiya Math, a famous man.
He visited Pandita Babaji and was asked again if he
had gotten initiation from Gaura
Kishora Das Baba. His answer was the same, at which
point Pandita Baba got extremely
angry with him for making disciples without proper
initiation. Pandita Babaji threw him
out of the ashrama and Bhaktisiddhanta, fearing
damage to his reputation, began his
calumny of the Vrindaban babas and forbade his
disciples from associating with them.
This account was given to me by Advaita Das Baba
(I'm unsure if this is the correct name
of this baba after all these years) in Govardhan
who said he was witness to the admission.
. . . . . . . . . .
In addition, I did a little research on my own.
During one of my visits to Nabadwip I
visited the bhajana kutir/mandira of Gaura Kishora
Das Babaji and spoke with the pujari
there. I asked him if he knew whether Gaura Kishora
Das Babaji had any initiated
disciples. His answer, after consulting with some
of the other elders of the compound,
was that, as far as he knew, there were only four,
a married couple of modest means and
two others, agriculturalists, none of whom were
Bhaktisiddhanta. How he knew this and
how reliable his testimony is, I don't know. The
diksa-connection between
Bhaktisiddhanta and Gaura Kishor Dasa Babaji was
also denied by Sri Lalita Prasad
Thakur, his brother, who certainly was around and
well informed of the incidents
surrounding Bhaktisiddhanta. He also expressed how
Bhaktivinoda was dissatisfied with
Bhaktisiddhanta's attitude towards Vipin Vihari
Gosvami and several other senior
Vaishnavas, and therefore refused to personally
initiate Bhaktisiddhanta, despite
bestowing pancaratrika-diksa and siddha-pranali to
Lalita Prasad and some other
disciples of his.
The following statement was given by a western
sannyasi of the Gaudiya Matha:
"There were witnesses to the initiation. Because
there was a witness to the initiation of
Saraswati Thakura, even after 100 years the
opposition has not been able to make much
of that rumor. Now of course the witness is also
dead, but one of his relatives still lives in
Vrindavana and knows something of the event."
I would tend to conclude based on the
considerations above that Bhaktisiddhanta did not
receive pancaratrika-diksa as it appears in the
Hari Bhakti Vilasa, though there certainly
was a kind of guru-disciple relationship between
him and Gaura Kisora Babaji, and some
kind of event of acceptance of disciplehood may
have taken place. The crucial question at
hand is whether diksa-mantras were given.
Reflections on a lecture by Sri Narayana
compiled by Atul Krishna Dasa
On June 10, 2001, in Den Haag, Holland, Sri
Narayana Maharaja of the Gaudiya
Vedanta Samiti addressed his audience in strong
words, which were later transcribed and
widely published under the title Boycott the
Sahajiya Babajis. In this essay, we shall
review the allegations Sri Narayana Maharaja
presented to the public, and weigh their
validity on the basis of the evidence at our
Let us open the presentation with the opening
sentences of Sri Narayana Maharaja:
>>I want to explain something so that you will be
very careful. I am receiving questions
about the books published by the babajis of Vraja.
They accept Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu,
Sri Nityananda Prabhu, and Sri Sri Radha-Krishna
Conjugal. They have not written their
own books. They only take books like Stava-mala by
Srila Rupa
Gosvami, Stavavali and Vilapa Kusumanjali by Srila
Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Radharasa-
sudhanidhi by Sri Prabhodananda Sarasvati, and
other Gosvami books.<<
To begin with, we should recognize the active
concern of Sri Narayana Maharaja. In his
lecture, he does not refer to the aggregate literal
production of the Babajis of Vraja. His
main concern appears to be on the titles written by
Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji of
Radhakunda. It should be obvious, since Stavavali,
Vilapa Kusumanjali and Radha-rasasudhanidhi
are available in English with the commentaries of
Sri Ananta Dasa Baba,
and many devotees have asked questions particularly
on his literatures. Needless to say,
they are popular among devotees inclined to the
path of raganuga, being the only
available English editions with elaborate
Let us now review the allegations of Sri Narayana
Maharaja and the actual teachings of
Sri Ananta Dasa Pandita along with our remarks. Sri
Narayana Maharaja states:
>>First of all they dont accept that the Gaudiya
Sampradaya is one of the sakhas, branches, of the
Brahma-Madhva Sampradaya, although this fact
has been clearly explained by Sri Kavi Karnipura,
Srila Jiva Gosvami, and then by Sri Baladeva
Vidyabhusana Prabhu.<<
It is a fact that Sri Kavi Karnapura in his Gaura -
ganoddesa-dipika, as well as Baladeva
Vidyabhusana in his Prameya-ratnavali, have
presented a disciplic succession linked with
the lineage of Sri Madhva Acarya. It is a
historical fact beyond challenge that Sri
Madhavendra Puri, the paramaguru of Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu and the guru of Sri
Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Advaita Prabhu, was a
disciple of Sri Laksmipati Tirtha, who
came from the Madhva lineage. Certainly everyone
accepts this as an established fact.
The question is on the nature of this connection
whether it is one of substance or one of
form only. What is the particular significance of
the Madhvite process of worship on the
vidhi-marga in the raganuga-bhajana of the
Gaudiyas? Where is the eternal connection
of internal servitude between the Gaudiyas and the
early acaryas of the Madhva line?
The fact is that most Gaudiyas are not even
conversant with the lives and the writings of
the acaryas in the line of Madhva.
Though much of the Madhvite philosophy was
incorporated into the doctrines of the
Gaudiyas, it is beyond argument that the concepts
of upasana (the process of worship)
and upasya (the object of worship) of the two are
different. The Madhvites practice
upasana on the vidhi-marga, filled with aisvarya,
whereas the Gaudiyas worship is one of
raga-marga, where madhurya predominates. The
Madhvites worship Nartaka-Gopala
alone, whereas the Gaudiyas never desire to serve
Sri Krishna without Sri Radhaji.
Baladeva Vidyabhusana has recognized certain
differences of opinion with
the teachings of the Madhva sampradaya in his
commentary on Tattvasandarbha:
bhaktanam vipranam eva moksah, devah bhaktesu
mukhyah, virincasyaiva sayujyam,
laksmya jiva-kotitvam ity evam matavisesah
daksinadi-deseti tena gaude pi
madhavendradayas tad upasisyah katicid babhuvur
ity arthah.
Only a brahmana devotee is eligible for
liberation, the demigods are
foremost among devotees, Brahma attains sayujya-
mukti (merging
in Brahman), and Laksmidevi is included among the
jivas these
are differences in opinion. Nevertheless
Madhavendra Puri and
some others from Bengal became his followers.
Moreover, we find the following words spoken by
Sriman Mahaprabhu
Himself to an acarya of the Madhva sampradaya in
the Caitanya
Caritamrita (Madhya-lila, 9.273-276):
suni tattvacarya haila antare lajjita
prabhura vaisnavata dekhi, ha-ila vismita
acarya kahe tumi yei kaha, sei satya haya
sarva-sastre vaisnavera ei suniscaya
tathapi madhvacarya ye kariyache nirbandha
sei acariye sabe sampradaya-sambandha
prabhu kahe karmi, jnani, dui bhakti-hina
tomara sampradaye dekhi sei dui cihna
sabe, eka guna dekhi tomara sampradaye
satya-vigraha kari isvare karaha niscaye
Hearing these words of Sriman Mahapbrahu, the the
acarya of the Tattvavada
sampradaya became ashamed, and was struck with
wonder upon seeing His degree of
The acarya said, Whatever you have told, that is
the truth proclaimed in all scriptures,
and the firm conviction of the Vaisnavas. However,
whatever Madhva Acarya has firmly
established, that we practice due to our sampradaya
connection with him.
Prabhu said, Karmis and jnanis are both devoid of
bhakti. In your sampradaya, I can see
symptoms of both. All in all, the only
qualification I see in your sampradaya is your firm
acceptance of the truth of the Lords form.
Hence it should not be a surprise that a majority
of the Gaudiyas have little
or no identification as members of the Madhva
>>Secondly, they think that Sri Prabhodananda
Sarasvati and
Prakasananda Sarasvati are the same person,
although there is so
much difference between them. This cannot be so.
Will a person of
the Ramanuja sampradaya go down to become a
mayavadi like
Prakasananda Sarasvati, and then again become
Sarasvati, who was so exalted that he became the
guru of Srila
Gopala Bhatta Gosvami? This idea is absurd.
Sarasvati and Prakasananda Sarasvati were
contemporaries. Will the
same person go back and forth, being a Vaisnava in
South India,
then becoming a mayavadi, again becoming a Vaisnava
Vrndavana, and again becoming a mayavadi?<<
Sri Narayana Maharaja presents a simplistic
refutation with little evidence to back up his
idea. His argument would be very strong if it was
proven that the Prabodhananda of
South India the uncle and guru of Gopala Bhatta
was the same person as the
Prabodhananda Sarasvati of Vrindavana, the author
of Vrindavana Mahimamrta. The
fact is that not much is known about Prabodhananda,
or either of the Prabodhanandas,
given that they are likely not the same individual.
There is no historical record of Prabodhanandas
moving from South India to
Vrindavana. To the contrary, according to the
Anuraga Valli (AD 1696) of Manohara
Dasa, Gopala Bhatta left for Vrindavana after the
death of Vyenkata Bhatta and his two
brothers, one among whom was Prabodhananda. Hence
it is clear that according to this
account, Prabodhananda did not spend the later part
of his life in Vrindavana.
Anyone may contest the authority of this scripture
as well as that of the earlier Prema
Vilasa, in which similar accounts are related, but
the fact remains that there is no
evidence to prove that the Prabodhananda of South
India and the Prabodhananda of
Vrindavana were the same person.
The similarities between the lives of Prakasananda
Sarasvati and Prabodhananda
Sarasvati is yet another subject matter, but we
shall not discuss it here, since it is not
foundational to the argument of Sri Narayana
As his next concern, Sri Narayana Maharaja presents
the following:
>>Thirdly, they dont give proper honor to Sri Jiva
Gosvami, and
this is a very big blunder. This is a vital point.
They say that Jiva
Gosvami is of svakiya-bhava, that he never
supported parakiyabhava,
and that he is against parakiya-bhava. They say
that in his
explanations of Srimad Bhagavatam and Brahma-
samhita, in his
own books like Gopala Campu, and especially in his
Sri Ujjvalanilamani
tika, he has written against parakiya-bhava. This
is their
greatest blunder. We dont accept their statements
at all.<<
In his commentary on Visvanathas Raga Vartma
Candrika (2.7), Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji
examines in depth the various statements of Sri
Jiva Gosvami on the subject matter of
svakiya and parakiya-vada, and concludes his
All the learned and wise devotees will admit
without hesitation that
Sri Jiva Gosvamipada, who established the
eternality of all of the
Lord's pastimes in his Sri Bhagavat Sandarbha,
could never have
described those most elevated pastimes that are
filled with
extramarital love as being non-eternal. Therefore
it can be easily
understood that when he ascertained the
pastimes as being non-eternal, he did not speak out
his own philosophical
Therefore he wrote at the end of his commentary on
the verse
laghutvani atra yat proktam of Sri Ujjvala
Nilamani's Nayaka Bheda
Prakarana: svecchaya likhitam kincit kincit atra
parecchaya. yat
purvapara sambandham tat purvamaparam param In
commentary I write some things according to my own
wishes and
some things according to the wishes of others. Any
conclusion that is
filled with consistency from the beginning to the
end is written
according to my own wish, and that which is not
filled with
consistency from beginning to end is written
according to the wish of
others. Thus it is to be known.
Hence the teachings of Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji
should not be an object of concern for Sri
Narayana Maharaja in this regard. Perhaps Sri
Narayana Maharaja has misunderstood
something Panditji has written, or perhaps he aims
to boycott some other babajis,
although he mentions the writings of Sri Ananta
Dasa Babaji in the beginning of his
Sri Narayana Maharaja goes on to state:
>>For some unqualified persons he [Jiva] has
written in that other
way, but the babajis of Vraja cannot reconcile
this. They are ignorant
persons. They became opposed to Srila Jiva Gosvami
and took the
side of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, even
though in fact
there is no dispute between Jiva Gosvami and
Visvanatha Cakravarti
Perhaps Sri Narayana Maharaja may now feel some
peace in his heart, since we have
demonstrated that there is at least one babaji in
Vraja who agrees with him in this regard.
Baba, like Sri Narayana Maharaja, also states,
Thus it is thought by those who cannot
understand the deepest purport of Sri Gopala
Sri Narayana Maharaja then returns to the issue of
the Gaudiyas doctrinal
connection with the Madhva tradition:
>>The babajis say that we are not a branch of the
line of
Madhvacarya. They say Madhvacarya is of a different
opinion than
the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. But this is quite wrong. We
have so many
specialties that are there in the line of
If Sri Madhvacarya and the Gaudiyas were of one
opinion, where would there have been
a need for Baladeva to compile the Govinda Bhasya
as the Gaudiya commentary on the
Vedanta in the famous meeting at Jaipur? Why did
the commentary of Madhva not
suffice, if the Gaudiyas were one in opinion?
Certainly there is much in common in the
doctrines of Madhva and the Gaudiyas, and there are
also numerous parallel conceptions
with the teachings of the other sampradaya-acaryas.
However, this does not
make the Gaudiyas completely one in opinion with
acarya Madhva.
As we have mentioned, there are significant
differences between the two lineages in their
conceptions on the process of upasana and on the
object of upasana. Sri Narayana
Maharaja himself admits in his Prabandha Pancakam
>>Although there is some slight difference of
opinion between
Gaudiya Vaisnavas and Sri Madhva in regard to
Brahman, jiva and
jagat, this simple difference of opinion is not the
cause of a
difference of sampradaya. The difference between
sampradayas has been created on the basis of a
difference in
upasya-tattva (the object of worship) or on the
basis of gradations
of excellence between aspects of para-tattva. Even
if there is some
slight difference in regard to sadhya, sadhana and
this is rarely considered to be the cause of a
difference of
sampradaya. Actually, it is the difference in
realisation of paratattva
or upasya-tattva (the worshipful Supreme Truth)
which is
the main cause of distinct sampradayas.<<
Nevertheless, Sri Narayana Maharaja then goes on to
quote the following passage from
the Sriman Mahaprabhur Siksa by Sri Bhaktivinoda
There is a technical difference between the
philosophical ideas
which the previous Vaisnava acaryas have propagated
because there
some slight incompleteness in those philosophical
ideas. The
difference in sampradaya is due to this technical
Although the logic of presentation in Sri Narayana
Maharajas works remains veiled to us
due to our poor fund of understanding, we
nevertheless deducted the main cause of
distinction between the sampradayas from his own
statement as follows:
A difference of conception in upasya-tattva, the
Supreme Truth, is the main cause of distinction
between the
Also, we understand the following from what Sri
Narayana Maharaja said:
The difference between Vaisnava sampradayas has
been created on
the basis of gradations of excellence between
aspects of paratattva.
Hence it is certainly clear that there is a
distinction between the Gaudiya sampradaya and
the Madhva sampradaya, since the Gaudiyas regard
Sri Sri Radha-Krishna Yugala of
Vraja as their upasya, whereas the Madhvites regard
Sri Aisvarya Krishna as their upasya.
In regards to whether they are the same upasya or
not, Sri Laghu-bhagavatamrta
(1.5.461) states:
krsna nyo yadu-sambhuto yah purnah so sty atah
vrndavanam parityajya sa kvacin naiva gacchati
The Krishna who appeared in the Yadu-dynasty is
different from
the Krishna who never goes away from Vrindavana.
If anyone was to argue that the difference in
upasya is not so specific, it is only a
in terms of tattva, not of rasa, then for this
argument Sri Bhakti-rasamrtasindhu
(1.2.59) states:
siddhantatas tv abhede pi srisa-krsna-svarupayoh
rasenotkrsyate krsna-rupam esa rasa-sthitih
In terms of philosophical consideration, Visnu and
Krishna are
nondifferent in nature, but in terms of rasa the
form of Sri Krishna,
the reservoir of rasa, is superior.
Thus Sri Narayana Maharaja would have to accept all
the Vaisnava sampradayas as one
sampradaya, since they all worship Visnu-tattva.
Indeed, the members of Nimbarka
sampradaya even worship Radha- Krishna, yet we
still regard them as a separate
sampradaya due to slight differences in sadhya,
sadhana and sadhaka-tattva.
We shall not delve into the numerous philosophical
differences between Sri Madhva and
the Gaudiyas in fear of making this document too
lengthy. Some of them have already
been described in the first section of this
document. Let it suffice that Madhva taught the
concept of dvaita, or absolute duality, whereas Sri
Caitanya Mahaprabhu presented the
refined concept of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva, the
doctrine of simultaneous oneness and

Sri Narayana Maharaja then presents another
>>Also, they say that because Caitanya Mahaprabhu
took sannyasa
from Kesava Bharati, a mayavadi, He, Himself, must
be a
mayavadi. We dont accept this. Mahaprabhus actual
guru was
Isvara Puripada, He only took vesa, red cloth, from
Kesava Bharati,
and there is no harm in this. Madhvacarya also did
this, and
Ramanujacarya as well. Sannyasa can be taken in
this way.
However, Mahaprabhu took gopala-mantra and other
from Isvara Puripada.<<
Firstly, we would appreciate if Sri Narayana
Maharaja would specify who says and
where says, since after all, he presents several
allegations, which add up to his
designating these babajis as avaisnavas in the
latter half of the lecture. It should not be
the habit of a senior spiritual leader to make
blanket statements on spiritual communities
or their representatives. Nevertheless, for some
reason Sri Narayana Maharaja tends to
generalize his allegations, which in turn leads to
numerous false accusations, as will be
shown in this document.
It would be interesting to know which are the other
mantras Sriman Mahaprabhu
received from Sri Isvara Puripada, since the kama-
gayatri is not given in the Madhva-line.
Sri Narayana Maharaja proceeds with the case:
>>Another point is that the babajis dont accept
that Srila Baladeva
Vidyabhusana is in the Gaudiya Vaisnava line. They
are vehemently
opposed to this understanding. However, if Baladeva
Prabhu is out of our Gaudiya sampradaya, then who
is our savior?
He went to Galta Gaddi in Jaipura and defeated the
Sri Vaisnavas.
He told them that Srimati Radhika should be on the
left of Krishna.
He wrote a commentary on Vedanta-sutra called
and that commentary has been accepted as the
(commentary representing the Gaudiya Sampradaya).
If Baladeva
Vidyabhusana Prabhu is not in our sampradaya, then
sampradaya is He in? All his commentaries are in
the line of Srila
Rupa Gosvami and our Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas. If
Prabhu is out of our sampradaya, everything will be
finished. This is
a vital point.<<
We shall now proceed to quote the words of Sri
Ananta Dasa Babaji from his
commentary on the Prema-bhakti-candrika, in regards
to how he views the position of
Baladeva, who wrote the Vedanta-bhasya of the
Gaudiyas to establish the authenticity of
the Gaudiya-sampradaya.
I will constantly study the commentaries on the
Bhagavata, like
Vaisnava-tosani and Krama-sandarbha, plus the
series Six
Sandarbhas that explain the purport of the
Bhagavata, plus the
commentaries by the Gosvamis followers Srila
Cakravartipada and Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana
(Sudha-kanika-vyakhya commentary on verse 11)
Moreover, Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji states in his
commentary on the 94th verse of Vilapa
According to Gaudiya Vaishnava acaryas like Srila
Jiva Gosvami
and Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana, bhakti means
attachment or
constant attraction to God.
Thus Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana is accepted as a
follower of the Gosvamis in the
Gaudiya sampradaya. In addition to the statement
above, anyone who studies the works
of Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji, may discover how he
quotes the authoritative statements of
Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana on numerous occasions.
We request Sri Narayana Maharaja to specify the
babajis who are vehemently opposed to
Baladevas being in the Gaudiya line. Otherwise the
public may misunderstand this vital
>>Also, these babajis say that if anyone wears the
saffron cloth of
sannyasa, he is not in the Gaudiya Vaisnava line.
They have no
correct idea. It is stated in Caitanya Caritamrta:
kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
yei krsna-tattva-vetta, sei guru haya
[It does not matter whether a person is a vipra
(learned scholar in
Vedic wisdom) or is born in a lower family, or is
in the renounced
order of life. If he is master in the science of
Krishna, he is the
perfect and bona fide spiritual master. (Madhya-
lila 8-128)]
Krishna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami has written kiba
nyasi. Nyasi
means sannyasi. Isvara Puripada, Madhavendra
Puripada, and all
renunciates in their line were sannyasis in saffron
cloth. There are
so many associates of Caitanya Mahaprabhu who wore
saffron cloth.
Svarupa Damodara also wore saffron cloth. What harm
was there?
Saffron cloth is the sign of renunciation. It is
the color of anuraga,
attachment for Krishna. Because it is a color, it
is worn by sadhvis.
Sadhvi means a married lady, a lady who is not a
widow. Married
means having Krishna as ones beloved. We are not
widows, but
those who wear white cloths are widows.<<
Sri Narayana Maharaja gives numerous examples of
Gaudiya sannyasis contemporary to
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but he fails to present
any follower of the Gosvamis who
would have adopted saffron cloth and tridanda.
Indeed, all of the examples he gives are
of ekadandi-sannyasis, not tridandi-sannyasis as
is the custom among the followers of
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ordered the Gosvamis to
establish the Vaisnava sadacara for
the future times to come, and we are to follow the
codes of behavior they set for us to
follow .
The Hari-bhakti-vilasa (4.147 & 152) states in
lucid language in regards to the Gaudiyas
nagno dviguna-vastrah syan nagno raktapatas tatha
Wearing red cloth is like walking naked.
sukla vasa bhaven nityam raktam caiva vivarjayet
Always wear white and give up red cloth.
Even if anyone was to argue that rakta-vastra means
only the red cloth of mayavadisannyasis,
it should be noted that the very cloth Sriman
Mahaprabhu wore was a raktavastra,
and so were those of His sannyasi associates. At
their time, the Hari Bhakti Vilasa
was not yet written. Besides, sukla vasa bhaven
nityam, wear white cloth at all times, is a
strong positive injunction for the future times.
Moreover, there are no positive injunctions for
accepting saffron cloth and tridanda in
the writings of the Gosvamis. Hence some have
disapproved of the newly founded
sannyasa tradition. Additionally, it is noteworthy
that the customs of sannyasa embraced
by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his followers were
largely adopted from the Ramanuja
sampradaya, not from the Madhva sampradaya they
claim to follow and certainly not
from the Sankara sampradaya in which the associates
of Sriman Mahaprabhu mentioned
by Sri Narayana Maharaja accepted sannyasa.
Should there be exceptions to the rule, it does not
in itself justify the establishment of a
new rule.
Sri Narayana Maharaja then proceeds to question the
term babaji:
>>From where has this word babaji come in our
line? From whom
has it come? Isvara Puripada, Madhavendra Puripada,
Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, and after Him, Sri
Rupa Gosvami,
Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha Bhatta
Gosvami, Sri Jiva
Gosvami, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, and Sri
Raghunatha dasa
Gosvami. After them, Krishna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami
Vrndavana dasa Thakura, and then Narottama dasa
Syamananda dasa, Srinivasa Acarya, and Visvanatha
Thakura. Where is the word babaji? Was anyone known
as babaji?
From where did this word babaji come? The babajis
have no reply.
These Vaisnavas were all paramahamsa, not babaji.<<
According to Sri Narayana Maharaja, the Jaiva
Dharma of Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura is
not a fictive book, but a historical account, as he
stated on a lecture on September 21,
2001, in Mathura:
In Jaiva Dharma he presented tattva in such an
interesting way
that it appears like a novel. It is not a novel,
however. Everything in
it is true history.
Anyone who is acquainted with this title knows that
practically every renunciate saint
there carries the title babaji after their name.
The events of the title date back to the
times of Gopala Guru Gosvami, which is soon after
the disappearance of Sriman
Mahaprabhu. Thus it appears that the concept
babaji is not a novelty at all. But where
did the term come from? Sri Narayana Maharaja
himself explains on this very same
>>In Vraja, the Vrajabasis all used to call
Sanatana Gosvami baba.
They called Sanatana Gosvami bara-baba, elder
sadhu, and Rupa
Gosvami chota-baba, younger sadhu. After them,
others in their line
took white cloth; but then, after the time of
Visvanatha Cakravarti
Thakura, they deviated. Some, like Jagannatha dasa
Madhusudana dasa Babaji, and Gaura Kisora dasa
Babaji, took this
babaji name out of humility, and everyone used to
call them that.<<
Thus it is evident that the term babaji has been
an affectionate address for ascetics
dedicated to a life of devotion at least since the
time of the Gosvamis. In the course of
time, the term babaji has naturally evolved into
a concept applied to the renunciates of
the Gaudiya tradition. This should not be a reason
to boycott anyone particularly not so
because even in the Gaudiya Matha babaji-vesa is
Then Sri Narayana Maharaja descends from the realm
of philosophical discussion into
the realm of generalized personal attacks:
>>Presently, those who are bogus persons, but were
previously in
the Gaudiya Matha, have become lusty and have thus
been kicked
out from the Gaudiya Matha. Now they have become
We invite Sri Narayana Maharaja to prove his theory
valid by presenting several practical
examples, for otherwise his claim is not a valid
principle, but rather meaningless namecalling
based on isolated incidents.
Then Sri Narayana Maharaja levels yet another
unfounded allegation:
>>The babajis especially criticize Srila
Bhaktivinoda Thakura,
saying that he didnt have a guru. This is a bogus
idea. Srila
Bhaktivinoda Thakura preached the name and the
glories of Sri
Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the Gaudiya Vaisnava
sampradaya to the
whole world. He wrote hundreds of books. Still, the
babajis say he
did not have a proper guru, and that Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
Prabhupada also had no proper guru.<<
To the best of our knowledge, the only one to
discredit the guru-parivara of Sri
Bhaktivinoda Thakura was his son Bimal Prasad, or
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, as he was
later known, who refused to recognize the
authenticity of Bhaktivinodas diksa-guru Sri
Vipina Vihari Gosvami despite Bhaktivinodas praise
of the same in his voluminous
writings. Indeed, in his autobiography Svalikhita-
jivani, Bhaktivinoda relates how Prabhu
Gaura Himself led him to the Gosvami.
Also, it is unknown to us that anyone would have
challenged the authenticity of Sri Gaura
Kisora Dasa Baba. The question is in regards to
whether Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
received diksa or not, and consequently whether he
was authorized to initiate in turn or
not. The reasons for concern are as follows:
1. In the presence of several witnesses, Sri
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
himself admitted to Pandita Ramakrishna Dasa Babaji
having only received
initiation in dream from Gaura Kisora Baba.
2. There is no mention of Sarasvatis receiving
initiation from Gaura Kisora
Baba in any of the Babas authorized, objective
biographies, nor do others
outside the Gaudiya Matha related with the Baba
know of this. Also the
brother of Sarasvati, Sri Lalita Prasada Thakura,
denies his having received
3. Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati did not reveal the
diksa-parampara of Sri
Gaura Kisora Baba. In fact, even the name of Babas
diksa-guru was not
revealed by Sarasvati to his followers.
Traditionally a guru reveals his
parampara to the disciples. Instead, Sarasvati
created a parampara of his
own design, which he entitled bhagavat-parampara.
4. At the time of initiation, the guru gives the
disciple the specific tilaka
markings of the parivara he represents. Baba came
in the Advaita
parivara, which has a very distinctive tilaka-
svarupa among the various
Gaudiya parivaras. If Sarasvati indeed received
diksa from the Baba, why
did he not adopt the external signs of lineage
accordingly, but instead
applied a tilaka of his own design?
Onwards to the next allegation:
>>Those in the babaji line say that our Guru
Maharaja, Srila Bhakti
Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and even Srila
Swami Maharaja, were not in the proper disciplic
line, and that they
have no guru-parampara. But it is actually the
babajis who are not
in the guru -parampara.<<
Here Sri Narayana Maharaja presents a reversed
counter-argument with noactual
substance. Will he now demonstrate to us how the
babajis are not inthe guru-parampara?
Will he first specify which babaji he means? Thenwe
could see whether this particular
babaji belongs to a certain unbroken diksa lineage
dating back to the associates of Sri
Caitanya Mahaprabhu or not, and whether his
teachings are in allegiance to the
sampradaya's precepts.
Sri Narayana Maharaja then presents us with a piece
of fabricated history:
>>I saw in France that so many devotees have given
up Srila
Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, and they have become
They took babaji-vesa, dor-kaupin and so on. Then,
after two years,
they fell down with mataji-babajis. They accepted
and lived with
divorced ladies.<<
On a lecture in Germany, dated December 14th 2001,
Sri Narayana Maharaja supplied us
with more details on this incident:
Some of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja's
disciples once came
to me asking, Please help us! Please give us
siddha-pranali. I
replied, I cannot help myself. How can I help
you? These disciples
then went to the sahajiya babajis at Radha Kunda.
Those sahajiya
babajis then gave them siddha pranali for five anna
paisa, although
they never knew the meaning of siddha-pranali. Real
has been explained by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. I was
searching for these new babajis, and I have now
heard that they are
Nevertheless, the historical fact is that only one
disciple of Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami has
ever accepted babaji-vesa and dor-kaupina at
Radhakunda in the 1980s. He indeed left
the life of an ascetic, but he has never met Sri
Narayana Maharaja. Thus it is unclear to
us why Sri Narayana Maharaja relates such obscure,
imaginary stories to an innocent
Sri Narayana Maharaja then labels the babajis whom
he boycotts:
>>If you read their books this poison may come.
avaisnava-mukhodgirnam putam hari-kathamrtam
sravanam naiva kartavyam sarpocchistam yatha payah
(Padma Purana)
[One should not hear anything about Krishna from a
Milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous
effects. Similarly,
talks about Krishna given by a non-vaisnava are
also poisonous.]
Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvamis Vilapa Kusumanjali,
and other
books like Krishna Bhavanamrta, Radha-rasa-
sudhanidhi, and
Stava-vali are all good books. They are amrta,
nectar. However, you
should not hear them from non-vaisnavas; otherwise
the bogus
ideas of such non-vaisnavas will come, and you will
be deviated. Be
very careful about this.<<
In other words, after presenting a vast number of
invalid accusations, he now designates
the unspecified babajis as non-vaisnavas, from whom
the poison of deviation emanates.
Needless to say, even if he boycotts a particular
individual to whom his strong criticism
may apply, the public will misunderstand the object
of his critique, because he keeps
mentioning titles by Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji, to
whom his allegations do not apply, as we
have clearly demonstrated.
There is yet another allegation Sri Narayana
Maharaja has in store, a popular one:
>>Another point is regarding bhajana-pranali.
Instead of giving the
proper process to the appropriate persons, without
giving proper
training, without considering whether a person is
qualified or not,
these babajis give their own version of bhajana-
pranali. Their socalled
disciples do not know who is Krishna or what is
bhajana. They
dont know any definition of bhakti, and they dont
even know how
to clean themselves after passing stool. They dont
know anything.
What will become of them?<<
We wonder whether Sri Narayana Maharaja has
actually acquainted himself with the
standards and procedures of the unnamed babajis
whom he boycotts, or does he simply
say whatever he likes, based on hearsay? We request
him to present to us the babajis who
give siddha-pranali to people who do not know how
to wash their hands after passing
stool. Moreover, we request him to present to us
the babajis who give siddha-pranali to
people who are not conversant with the basic truths
of Gaudiya siddhanta. On the day
when he does this, we will ask him whether they are
the same people who publish the
books he boycotts.
Then Sri Narayana Maharaja goes on to present the
final tale of victory :
>>About ten years ago I went on Vraja Mandala
Parikrama with
Pujyapada Janardana Maharaja. We went to Radha-
Kunda, and
there we challenged the babajis. We had a
discussion for three
hours, but no one came. I have also challenged
those babajis in my
book, Five Essential Essays, but no one responded.
After reading
that book they wanted to take us to court, and I
challenged them,
Yes, we will see you in court. But they never
came. Their lawyers
had advised them not to go to court, as they would
have lost
It is beyond our imagination how one can have a
discussion for three hours without
having anyone to speak with, and then claim to have
successfully and victoriously
challenged someone. Perhaps it would be good for
Sri Narayana Maharaja to remember
how he refused to address the questions of this
humble self, because he saw that the
inquirer was not in a fully submissive state, and
consequently unable to comprehend the
answers he would have given.
Onwards to the concluding sentence of Sri Narayana
>>I have come to tell you these things only to make
you all careful.
Dont be bewildered. Try to be very strong, knowing
all these
Indeed, we became careful as a result of attending
this speech, and moreover, by studying
the transcript of the same. In fact, we even became
fearful over what would happen to our
devotional lives, should we continue to
wholeheartedly adopt the abundantly unfounded
criticism cast forth by Sri Narayana Maharaja and
his followers.
(Madrasi Baba)
Many westerners know 108 Sri Krishna das Babaji
(Madrasi Baba), as he selflessly guided
thousands of them to the main shrines around
Srimati Radharanis sacred pond, Sri
Radhakund. My first encounter with him occurred in
November of 1978, and by his
kindness I was able to remain for 5 months at
Radhakund. He lived there for 36 years,
from the time he received the:
diksa-mantra (This is an initiation rite in which
a disciple receives the set of mantra that
form the basis of meditation on and worship of Sri
Caitanya, Radha-Krsna, and their
main associates.)
and siddha-pranali (The eternal names and
identities of the members of ones initiation
lineage. These are the names they have in the
eternal sport of Radha and Krsna).
initiation from Siddha Sri Sakhicharan das Babaji
who was a parivara [a member of the
lineage] of Sri Narottama.
His most memorable trait was his attitude of
service which was expressed by a constant
disposition to render any type of service, in
particular toward the residents of
Radhakund, but also toward anyone else he met. He
was cestotkuntha always alert to
serve just for the sake of serving. Of course there
are many persons endowed with such a
spirit of disinterested service in so many
different fields, but Babas spirit of service was
prompted by an uncommon loving force which didnt
belong to this world. Although it
was evident that his entire being was floating in
this magic bliss-giving love divine, I
wasnt yet ready at that time to accept him as a
guide. I was entrapped, sentimentally,
intellectually, mentally and physically, in the
strong grip of numerous erroneous
conceptions about the nature of Gaudiya Vaisnavism
(and Vaisnavism in general),
especially concerning its practice and the system
of parampara or disciplic succession.
Unfortunately, I refused to recognize two
correlative points: the uninterrupted succession
of masters and disciples and the transcendental
revelation of Bhaktidevi through that
system and the idea that the internal practice of
Gaudiya Vaisnavism (lilasmarana and
manasi seva) applied not only to the jivanmukta
level (the souls state of spiritual
emancipation), but also to the conditioned one
before that. Although aware of my
misconceptions, Baba still gave me shelter, located
a place for me to stay, fed me, and
even nursed me during a period of sickness.
I remember that once we stood on the road just near
Sri Radharamana Mandir, and
though I was harshly opposing him in some matter, a
strong outburst of his
transcendental emotions hit my inner being. At that
moment, much to my surprise, I
spontaneously told myself: He is my guru. This
thought rejoiced my heart, but just for a
moment, because my invasive, stained reason refused
to accept it. Despite such a
handicap, a transcendental loving relationship ran
between us, and I was always very
happy to be in his company. He was like the good
father and I was like the bad son, but
we were still linked to each other by bonds of
affection. By his mercy, Sri Radhakund,
and all the different, lovely places surrounding
it, always remained deeply impressed in
my heart, even after I had left it.
Nine years later I came back motivated by an eager
desire to render service to Baba and
learn something more about manjari-bhava-sadhana.
Kartik month was in full swing,
hundreds of pilgrims had arrived from Bengal to
celebrate it and the main program was
to go and listen to the 3 daily lectures of Pandit
Sri Ananta das Babaji which Baba always
recorded and translated for us in the evening. It
was very hot as usual during this period
of the year, and most of the devotees in the
audience including myself didnt wear shirts.
After a few days, during one patha
[reading/lecture] I suddenly noticed that I was the
only one wearing a brahmin thread among all those
swanlike, saintly devotees, and this
made me feel very embarrassed. Over the following
days my uneasiness increased to such
an extent that my reason dictated to me that I
should give up that brahmin thread. I
thought to myself: After all, I wasnt born in a
Brahmin family; so why should I wear its
One morning, after having passed through the sanga,
I halted in front of Sri
Bankebihariji Mandir, bowed down to Sri Radhakund,
sprinkled the usual 3 drops of
water in my mouth, and then deposited my brahmin
thread as a offering to Sri
Radhakund. After that I felt the heavy load of my
false pride related to that thread stop
haunting me like a ghost. The power of Sri
Radhakund, Baba, and the assembled
Vaisnava saints had exorcised from me an infernal
spirit. The next day Baba conveyed
to me Pandit Sri Anantadas Babajis congratulations
for my act. As I used to sit not far
from him during his patha, he noticed that my
false brahmins pride was absent from
my chest.
I didnt have any intention of receiving diksa-
mantra initiation from Baba, because I still
mistakenly thought of myself as already initiated
by another guru. Nevertheless I felt like
surrendering to him, serving him closely, and
learning from him the things related to
manjari-bhava-sadhana. Though I didnt tell him
anything of my intentions, somehow he
understood them, and one day to my surprise and
great satisfaction, he asked me to assist
him in accompanying him to the toilet during the
night and in drawing water from the
well for his wash afterwards. To my even greater
satisfaction he told me that I could sleep
on the floor in his room.
Although I came now so close to Baba, I was feeling
somehow disconnected with him.
Despite our mutual affection and the compatibility
of our characters, I sensed that
something was missing, something necessary for
there to be a real, complete relationship
with him. Although his two other disciples were not
as intimate with him, I noticed the
presence of a very special, supernaturally personal
link between them and Baba, which I
didnt have and which intrigued me.
At one point, feeling more and more the presence of
this inexplicable gulf that separated
us, I approached Baba and asked him if he would
give me a new japa-mala after first
blessing it by chanting Harinama on it. His reply
was a categorical no. He pointed out
that as I already had received Harinama from
another guru, it wasnt necessary that he
should also give it to me. Although I insisted,
Baba didnt change his mind, leaving me
without words and in complete despair.
Few days later, Pandit Sri Anantadas Babaji was
about to start his usual reading in the Sri
Radharaman. temple. Before sitting down in the
midst of the audience, I hung my rosary
bag on the washing line above my head, after
completing the round I was chanting. When
the patha was over, I stood up to take my rosary
bag, but to my great surprise it was
empty; my rosary had disappeared. Puzzled, I
searched everywhere in the courtyard, but
without success. I immediately excluded the
possibility that someone from the assembly
had taken it, because, firstly, I didnt believe
that a devotee would be interested in
stealing the mala of an other devotee and,
secondly, I had been sitting under it. If
someone had taken it I would have noticed. Rather
than upsetting me, however, this
incident pleased me, because now I had a good
reason to ask Baba for a new mala. So I
told him what had happened and said: You see Baba!
Now you should give me a new
mala and bless it by chanting on it. Otherwise how
can I continue my Harinama? In this
way Baba gave me a new mala. His mercy didnt stop
there, however. Some time later,
during a morning parikrama [circumambulation] of
Sri Radhakund, he stopped and told
me, with tears of transcendental ecstasy in the
eyes: I was looking for a name for you,
and the name karunyaghanavigraha came to my mind.
It is a name of Srimati Radharani
which means that she is the personification of
condensed mercy. She is so merciful! In his
Astottara-satanamastotra, Sri Raghunathadasa
Gosvamin has named Her
Karunavidravaddeha or one whose body melts out of
compassion. So henceforth you
can have the name Karunyaghanavigraha Dasa. Due to
the length of this name Baba
later changed it to Karunamayiyasa which basically
means the same thing. Babas mercy
didnt end there either, and towards the end of
Niyamaseva (Kartik-vrata), he announced
to my great surprise that if I consented he would
give me diksa-mantra initiation. I was
moved, although I still thought of myself as a
disciple of another who was both my
vartma-pradarsaka and Harinama guru. I still also
wrongly believed him to be my diksa
guru. My opposition to the idea was only fleeting,
because after seeing that Baba was so
enthusiastic to give me initiation, I readily
agreed, not wanting to hurt his feelings by
refusing. So at a moment chosen as auspicious, the
morning of the 5th of November,
Baba gave me the krsna-diksa-mantra together with
the other diksa mantra. He also
explained to me their different meanings and how to
conduct worship of Sriman
Mahaprabhu and Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. Obviously,
he also revealed to me the names
of the uninterrupted line of gurus going back to
Sri Narottama, together with their
spiritual identities, both in the world of Gaura
and in the world of Sri Sri Radha and
Krsna. I was then officially and spiritually
affiliated with that great lineage.
I have to confess that only after initiation by
Baba, did I begin to understand that proper
initiation into a bona fide line of diksa-mantra
transmission was not just a formality. It is
Gods created system, widely prevalent in India,
through which Sadhana-bhaktidevi
[bhakti as cultivation] makes Her appearance in a
candidate for prema-bhakti [divine
Later Babas mercy extended to the point of
revealing to me the details of my own
siddha-svarupa (the manjari-ekadasa-bhava or the
eleven details of the manjari identity).
He also taught me his gurudevas gutika or manual
for the practice of remembering Sri
Sri Gaura-govindas transcendental pastimes and the
nature of my own service to them in
a mentally conceived siddha-deha [eternal
body/identity]. The next step is to advance
through the different stages of this practice and
ultimately to transcend this mundane
world through the blessing of manjari-bhava-prema-
bhakti (the Love Divine of a gopimanjari).
Radhapada Das
Jaya Radhe!
My name is Radhapada Das, formerly known as Rati
Das. After spending 20 years in
ISKCON (more or less, in good times and bad) I
received diksa from the Mahanta of
Radhakunda, Baba Sri Ananta Das Pandit.
One may ask what prompted me to do it? Basically, I
did it because I didnt see any light
coming from the end of the ISKCON tunnel. In other
words, I didnt see even a ray of
hope for discovering my spiritual identity
(spiritual svarupa), nor did I get any guidence
in geniune raganuga-bhakti.
(Bhakti that takes as its model the passionate love for
Krsna of the people of Vraja, that is, the close
servants, friends, parents, and lovers of his youthful days
in the land of Vraja)
Now, some may say, and especially those who knew me
as Rati Das, that I was too
impatient. I should have given it more time. More
than anything, I should get more strict
and serious about spiritual life as given to
devotees in ISKCON by Srila Prabhupada. In
answer to them I say that I gave it plenty of time.
Second there are those a thousand
times more serious and strict than me in ISKCON,
whom I dont see as having attained
any profound level of spiritual advancement or as
being able to teach the techniques of
raganugabhajana. Dont get me wrong, there are
advanced devotees in ISKCON, but only
by ISKCON standards. There are many who have a
taste for chanting the Holy Name in
kirtan or in japa and others that can give great
talks on the philosophy and the pastimes.
There are many who can perform austerities like
nirjal ekadashis and relish deity
worship, and also there are devotees who simply
like to talk about Krsna Of course, we
cannot forget the great souls who have taken the
message of Krsna a to the farthest and
most remote regions of the world. Certainly they
all are worthy of my deepest respect and
veneration. Yes, there are quite a few dedicated
devotees serving in a selfless manner.
However, I really dont believe that there are
devotees of this institution or of the
Gaudiya Mataha that are having revelations like
those described in the biographies of the
great siddha-s and in the Goswami grantha-s
[writings]. In my own personal life, I have
felt a vivid transformation of consciousness after
taking diksa from my Gurudeva in
Radha Kunda. It is said that diksa is the process
by which transcendental knowledge is
transmitted into the heart and obstacles are
destroyed. I can honestly say that this was
what I experienced after diksa. The many years of
hearing and chanting the songs and
teachings of Narottama Dasa Thakura and
Bhaktivinoda finally cystalized in my
consciousness. No longer were these teachings some
mysterious puzzle that I would solve
only after death. They were manifesting themselves
to me directly. These teachings were
slowly being unpacked out of the mystery box and
becoming tools for bhajan [personal
worship]. The teachings of the Goswamis were
becoming more meaningful to me. In
addition, it became more and more apparent that
what I had been practicing before was
not the real bhakti-sadhana [the practice of
bhakti] of a follower of Sriman
Mahaprabhus sampradaya [community].
I must admit that after twenty years of hearing
Vaisnava aparadha [offensive language or
behavior directed at Vaisnavas] of the devotees of
true sampradaya-s, I was a little
skeptical about the authencity of the Gaudiya
Vaisnava guru-pranali [lineage of teachers],
known to most devotees in ISKCON as the Babajis.
When I first used to visit
Radhakunda during the month of Kartik, I had no
connection with what was going on
there, other than hoping that one day, I would
attain some krpa [mercy] from Sri Radha
by bathing there at Sri Kunda, doing parikrama
[circumambulation] and listening to
Krsna lila [pastime] lectures by an ISKCON
sannyasi's [renunciant] there. The world of
the Gaudiya Vaisnava-s seemed alien to me. I could
not relate to the austere appearances
of the devotees and places there, especially when I
had been hearing for years that
everyone there is a dreaded sahajiya However, just
before and after my wife and I
became truly initiated, as we began to become
familiar with the Vaisnavas and the
environment, we began to discover a richness there
undescribable by words, but available
through experience. Behind the hard, austere
appearances of the devotees that we met,
we noticed very blissful personalities among them.
Sometimes they appeared to me to
possess intoxicated feelings of inner bliss that I
had not seen in ISKCON or Gaudiya
Matha devotees. My experience in ISKCON was that
despite the opulent surroundings of
devotees, many appear morose, uptight or anxious.
After some time in ISKCON, I began
to seriously consider that I joined a religious
society that promised to free one from the
problems of life, viz. birth, death, old age and
disease, but that failed to give to many even
basic satisfaction or peace of mind. Moreover, the
lives of many of these devotees were
plagued with the ongoing, tumultuous problems
raging within the ISKCON society itself.
My wife and I became acquainted with a German lady
named Anuradha initiated by
Prana Krishna Baba of Radhakunda. We would visit
her often in her humble room in
front of Radhakunda. One day, when we came to visit
her, there was a devotee there
from Switzerland whom I knew from before, who had
just received diksa from Ananta
Das Pandit. When she announced that he received
diksa, something came over me. I had
this incredible urge to take diksa also and I began
to ask what is being offered there
regarding spiritual life. They explained to me:
siddha-pranali, (This is the same as guru-pranali, the
lineage of ones gurus going back to the
immediate associates of Sri Caitanya, except that one is
taught their siddha or eternal names and
identities in Krsnas sport).
manjari-svarupa (Manjari-svarupa Is the most common
identity adopted by the members of the
Caitanya tradition. It is the identity of a younger female
friend of Radha. The manjari combines
feelings of friendship and desire for service towards
Radha. They thus often have access to the most
confidential interactions between Radha and Krsna).
and manasi seva (This is service performed, or rather
visualized, in the mind. This is the major
method of learning and cultivating the identity of the
manjari in Caitanya Vaisnavism).
Then I began to consider things more carefully. I
knew about these things before, having
read books by O.B.L. Kapoor and Bhaktivinoda
Thakura, but now I had encountered
devotees who were practicing it. In a few days we
were introduced to Ananta Das Pandit
and we began to visit him regularly and ask many
questions. I was encouraged to read his
translated commentary on Ragavartma-candrika by
Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada,
which when I began reading I couldnt put down. I
was blown away by the combination of
the deep philosophy of Visvanatha and Ananta Das
Pandits explanation of the verses
regarding raganuga-bhakti. I was convinced. My wife
also read the book and she was
eager to take diksa, too.
At that time, I was not so sure about the break in
the disciplic succession of
ISKCON/GM. I had heard something previously, but it
was not clear to me. I was not
very interested in the subject either. My main
concern was to step up into higher
education and become specialized in learning
about manjari-bhava upasana [the
method of worshiping with the feelings of a
manjari], which I was convinced one cannot
get in ISKCON/GM. I had had enough of the work now
samadhi [realization] later
philosophy. My membership in ISKCON was already
casual. I had lost faith in
gurus/GBCs and the teachings that went with them.
Going back home, back to
Godhead by becoming a dedicated ISKCON career
member had lost its appeal for me
years ago. In the temple where my wife was from in
Slovenia, the leading book distributer
once gave a Srimad Bhagavata lecture and said that
a person who chanted the Holy
Name all day was a sahajiya. I even heard that in
one kirtan there, while a devotee was
singing the names of Sri Radha, another devotee
plugged his ears with his fingers and
sung out: Jaya Visnupada, Jaya Visnupada (the
name of his guru back then). So I had
had enough of the un-Gaudiya Vaisnava, offensive
environment of ISKCON. I was
hoping deep in my heart for something better to
come my way. However, the issue about
leaving my ISKCON guru still disturbed me a bit. I
even remember crying one night
before I took diksa. Still, I felt that moving on
was the proper thing to do. And you know
something, after I did it, I never ever regreted
One problem we faced was that my wife and I were
working as Gurukula teachers in the
ISKCON temple in Vrindaban. Our main concern was
how we were going to receive
diksa without letting anyone know. We wanted to
stay in Vrindaban, and I liked teaching;
we didnt want to get kicked out. So the solution
was dont tell anybody. We were
undercover for over two years. Then slowly, slowly,
we started letting our guard down, till
eventually we were discovered. We saw it as Sri
Radharanis krpa telling us it is time to
move on, to be true to ourselves, and to stop
In the recent year I have come to terms with the
Bhaktisiddhanta issue, that is, his not
getting diksa from Gaurakisora Das Baba. I must
admit it was depressing to have the big
bubble pop regarding the things we were taught
about Bhaktisiddhanta, Bhaktivedanta
Swami, ISKCON/GM. I felt misled. Discovering that
one had spent twenty years living
and telling others about things that were not a
part of real Gaudiya Vaisnavism can be
disheartening. On the other hand, if it were not
for ISKCON, I would never have heard
about Sri Caitanya, Radha-Krsna, Vraja Dhama, the
Goswamis, and so forth. So I owe
ISKCON a great deal for pointing me in the right
direction. I think that I was probably
not ready for real bhajan back then, that I needed
the institutional teachings and facilities
to prepare me for the path of following the
Sometime ago someone presented me with this
premise: Try to stretch your imagination.
What if a manjari from the spiritual world, Nayana
Manjari (supposedly the manjari
svarupa of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati) decided to
come down to this world and start
his/her own lineage? Could it be possible? The
first problem with that idea is why would
a nitya-siddha, an eternal associate from Vraja
Dhama, descend to this world without the
Lords association?
se saba sangir sange je kaila vilasa
se-sanga na paiya kande narottama dasa
Being unable to obtain the association of Lord
Gauranga, accompanied by all of these
devotees in whose association He performed His
pastimes, Narottama Das simply weeps.
It is generally observed that the nitya-siddha-s
accompany the Lord when He descends to
enact pastimes. If a parsada (eternal associate) of
the Lord did descend after God had
wound-up his pastimes in this world, then for what
purpose? Surely, it would be to teach
something to the world, especially to the devotees
of the Lord. It would be greatly
appreciated, glorified, and remembered for all time
to come by the Vaisnava community.
However, from a historical point of view, that was
not the case with Bhaktisiddhanta
Saraswati. Except for among his followers, he was
not accepted within the mainstream of
Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Furthermore, he heavily
critized the Babajis and caste Goswamis,
the standard followers of Mahaprabhu. At least in
my opinion, it doesnt seem likely that
an eternal associate of God, who embodies
transcendental emotions and sattvika
qualities [qualities of peacefulness and goodness]
would start a war with other devotees
of the Lord.
This was one of the issues I had sorted out
regarding my previous connection with
ISKCON/Gaudiya Math. I became convinced, after
objectively analyzing the evidence
available, that Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati did not
take diksa from Gaurakisora Dasa
Babaji, as claimed by ISKCON/GM. The result is a
spiritual practice within these
institutions that does not empower its followers to
relish and experience the topmost
spiritual flavors of the Vrajabhakti that Sriman
Mahaprabhu has kindly brought down
into this world, as documented and savoured by the
Lords confidential associates
themselves, the Goswamis of Vraja. When we speak of
a follower of Mahaprabhu it
means a loyal adherent to the teachings and
conclusions written down by the revered
Goswamis. It is mentioned in Caitanya-caritamrta
that Sriman Mahaprabhu praised the
writings of Rupa Goswami, and He therefore blessed
him and asked all the other
associates to bless Rupa Goswami with the power to
describe bhakti. Similarly, the Lord
blessed Sanatana Goswami, Raghunatha Das Goswami
and so forth. There is no
entrance into the kingdom of madhurya-rasa [the
experience of sweetness or erotic love
for Krsna] in Vraja without accepting their
teachings, because they are Sriman
Mahaprabhus instruments for the propagation of
bhakti. Sriman Mahaprabhu is the
combined form of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in Vraja.
Their confidantes, the manjaris,
descended in male forms as the Six Goswamis of
As I mentioned earlier, I was discovered in ISKCON
Vrindaban to have taken initiation
from Ananta Das Pandita Baba. This was one reason
for our leaving our service as
teachers there, although we were not kicked out.
Actually, the administrative heads there
were very kind to us throughout our service there,
as well as when our inner life and
connection with the Radhakunda Vaisnavas was
discovered. Our main consideration for
leaving was financial. It is tough to live in
Vrindaban as grhastha [householder]
foreigners. We also anticipicated some trouble from
diehards within ISKCON. That was
another reason for our leaving. I have probably
disrupted relationships with devotees in
ISKCON and lost my status as an older devotee and
kirtan singer in the society.
However, I gained other friends, and especially the
merciful glances of some of the
Gaudiya Vaisnava residents of Radhakunda. I did
lose opportunities to lead kirtan in
ISKCON, but I got the opportunity to lead them with
the Gaudiya Vaisnavas near Sri
Radhas Lake. In addition, I received a very deep
bhajan process, techniques in
remembering and worshiping Radha-Krsna. It is a
genuinely fulfilling and real internal
experience. This bhajan is not dependent on a
hierarchical system of managerial leaders
who may acknowledge your contributions or not, or
on enjoying the thrill of big festivals.
It is the path of a life spent inwardly cultivating
your loving relationship with Sri Radha-
Krsna, guided mercifully by a true guru.
My humble advice is this for those who are hesitant
to traverse the path of bhajanas
taught by the Goswamis, starting with diksa in a
bona-fide sampradaya: put aside the
deep-rooted misconceptions implanted by the
ISKCON/GM teachings against Babajis,
the siddha-pranali, smarana, etc., and with a
sincere heart, see if you really want to be a
true follower of the great Mahajans [saints]. Spend
some time reading the Goswami
grantha-s [books] and associate with devotees who
have taken diksa in the authentic
Gaudiya Vaisnava lines.
Jaya Sri Radhe!
Dear Nitai,
I have some questions regarding points that are
made in Tripurari Maharaj's book which
you have debated on your web page and some points
that are made on some recorded
speeches of Satya Narayan on the issues of
siddhanta and proper parampara. Ramadasa
dasa referred me to you because he could not find
all the answers I was looking for.
About myself, by the way, I have been viewing the
siddha pranali threads on the vnn and
have some doubts about the parampara of Saraswati
Thakur. So I am glad that there are
some who are speaking out boldly. I am intensely
interested in gathering as much
understanding about the issue as possible before I
go to India and try to meet
someone in one of the disciplic lines that you have
mentioned on your web site. I don't
want to jump forward without properly understanding
all the issues surrounding
parampara so I would be highly grateful if you
could take time to help me with my
questions. In my opinion, all valid questions
regarding parampara should be compiled
and a booklet made for distribution. I don't know
of any source which answers all possible
questions. I have so far had to approach different
people in a scattered way to get all of
my answers. If you have plans for such a project by
chance, I would volunteer my help.
In the tan booklet of TM, it is written that
Bhaktivinoda Thakkur had entrusted his
preaching mission and charge of Chaitanya
janmasthan to Bhaktisidhanta rather to his
elder son, Lalita Prasad. Also it is mentioned that
because of the dispute Bhaktivinoda
had with his guru, Bipin Bihari Goswami, as to the
birthsite of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,
his guru rejected him and thus Bhaktivinoda took
shelter of Jaganath dasa Babaji. It is a
common view in Iskcon that Bhaktivinoda valued his
connection with Jaganath dasa
Babaji more than that of Bipin Bihari. It is also
mentioned in the booklet that
Bhaktisiddhanta was considered as a siddha-mahatma
even by the followers of Caran
dasa Babaji. How much is true of these statements
and if untrue, where is the
documentation to refute it?
Later in the booklet, he mentions that "Jiva
Goswami mentions the eighteen syllable
gopala mantra in relation to raganuga sadhana. In
his Bhakti Sandharba, Jiva Goswami
instructs that this mantra is chanted by advanced
devotees, who when doing so envision
the lila of Krsna, as well as by neophytes, who
chant with a view to attain such a vision."
He further quotes Krsna-karanmrta, "Commenting on
the first verse of Bilvamangala
Thakur, Kaviraja Goswami speaks of two methods of
approach to raganuga practice: one
in which the spiritual identity is assigned and
another in which it is awakened (sphurti)
through spritiual practice at the stage of bhava,
without the need of any forced
meditation." So on the point of chanting Gopala
mantra in conjunction with Krsna nama,
he says that this is the older method of self
realization and that siddha pranali is not
mentioned in the writings of the Goswamis. What is
your reaction to these statements?
And on the point of spiritual identity being
awakened( sphurti) in the sadhaka, this is
something that Satya Narayan refutes in his
lectures. Satya Narayan says that this idea of
the living entity being sat-cit-ananda is a myth.
He says we are sat but the cit sakti must be
implanted by the guru at the time of diksha. So he
says that
Prabhupada's preaching that prema lies dormant in
the heart is false. He says that before
diksha, there is no question of prema being
cultivated. the notion that prema is lust
transformed into love is false. The notion that sex
feeling in human society is the
perverted reflection of the love between Krishna
and the gopis is also false. Also he
refutes Prabhupada's translation of the first sloka
of Bhagavatam where he says that the
material universe appears factual although is
unreal. This is his translation of the word
"amrsa". So Satya Narayan mentions that this is a
Mayavadi's understanding of the nature
of the world as is his understanding of the origin
of Prema. I would like to
hear your opinion on these claims of Satya Narayan.
Personally, his argument sounds
good to me, but I am at a loss then if I try to
discern what magic is occurring in the life of
a sadhaka when his feelings of lust are gradually
dissipated when performing devotional
service(in the Iskcon sense).
This Satya Narayan I speak of by the way, in case
you are not familiar with his name, was
once a disciple of Jayatirtha and had taught in the
Vrindavan gurukula for years before
he left Iskcon a few years ago. He was keeping a
siksa guru by the name of Hari dasa
Sastri for years until he finally was asked to
leave. He wrote the popular book, Even the
Leaves Don't Fall from Vaikuntha.
I pray you can help me with some answers to my
queries and I hope to keep some dialog
with you. I look forward to hearing from you.
Professor Grif
Dear Professor Grif,
I am glad to hear about Satya Narayana. I had the
good fortune of meeting him a few
years ago in Vrindaban. He was teaching at the
Gurukula there at the time. I was very
impressed with him and some what envious. He was
clearly very smart and very good. He
had done what I always wanted to do: sit at the
feet of Sri Haridasa Shastri and study the
works of the Gosvamin. Many years ago I did start
the Harinamamrta-vyakarana with
Haridas Shastri, but since I was part of
Prabhupada's "staff" and traveled with him I had
to discontinue it. Also, my sneaking out of the
Krsna-Balarama mandir in the afternoons
to study with Shastriji was noticed and not
appreciated by the 'powers." Nevertheless, I
am glad to hear that Satya Narayana has left ISKCON
and taken full shelter with Haridas
Shastri. It would be hard to find a more learned
and exemplary guru. Where is Satya
Narayana now and what is he up to?
You are wise to take your time and ask lots of
questions before making such an important
decision. You must find a guru who is not only
authentic (ie in a genuine disciplic
succession), but whom you can love and respect for
therest of your days and beyond. As I
mention elsewhere, the siddha-pranali is strictly
speaking not necessary. It is only needed
if you want to do lila-smarana. Lila-smarana is an
intense and time consuming practice.
Not everyone can do it. Not everyone need do it.
Harinama is the practice of choice in
this age. No initiation is needed and as long as
one can avoid the offenses, or at least try
to avoid the offenses, the Holy Name will take care
of everything, including placing you in
the path of the guru right for you when the time is
ripe. If someone can't do Harinama,
three lakhs (300,000 or 64 +64+64 rounds on japa
mala) or at least one lakh (64 rounds),
it is highly unlikely that he can or should do
lila-smarana. As for the offenses, keep an eye
out for the next section of Manindranath Guha's
Sriman-Namamrta-sindhu-bindu on my
web site. It is a detailed discussion of the
offenses to the Holy Name. Also, Sri Sanatana
Gosvamin's work Sri Krsna-lila-stava, currently
being translated in the Daily section of
the web site is a wonderful combination of the
practices of Harinama and lila-smarana.
The entire work is composed of the Holy Names of
Krsna, but the names follow Krsna's
lila as recounted in the Bhagavata Purana. The
lilas are punctuated by 108 obeisances to
Krsna. It is an entire course of sadhana in itself.
A very powerful text!
I have no plans to come out with a book on the
parampara. My hands are full of things
now that I am unable to make much advancement with.
I heartily encourage you to put
one together, though. You may use whatever I have
written on the subject and I'm sure
Jan wouldn't mind your use of his articles.
Minaketan Ramadas has a translation
of part of the Sundarananda Vidyavinod book on the
guru (Vaisnava-siddhante Sri Gurusvarupa)
that he might contribute. Then of course there is
the GM and ISKCON
position. Put all the materials together and let
people make up their own minds. If I can
be of help, though, I would do so gladly. You ask
so many good questions that it is hard to
answer them all thoughtfully in one sitting. I
think I will concentrate on the Lalita Prasad
Thakur question in this letter. Of course Jan and
Gadadhara Pran, who received
initiation from LPT, are probably better informed
on many of these matters and may
even have some of the documents I will refer to. I
had the good fortune to visit LPT in
Birnagar at Bhaktivinode's family estate and temple
sometime in 1975 after I had left
Iskcon and been at least partially initiated by Tin
Kudi Baba. By the way LPT is the
younger brother of Bhaktisiddhanta, not older. It
was awe-inspiring being in the presence
of someone directly related to Bhaktivinoda, whose
life and work I have always been
inspired by. LPT was quite old then and basically
spent his days in his room sitting or
lying on his bed surrounded by books and
manuscripts, chanting the Holy Name. I believe
he was chanting some five lakhs of Harinama a day.
That is 500,000. At my best I could
only do one and a half lakhs a day and it took me
all day. All of his needs were being seen
to by a middle-aged woman who ran the asrama. She
had his meals prepared and took
care of everything. LPT said that she was the
reincarnation of his mother who had come
back specifically to care for him. He always called
her "Ma." She seemed very peaceful
and very efficient. LPT spoke to us (I think I was
with a god-brother by the name of
Jagadananda Das) at length on the first day of our
visit. His basic point was that
Bhaktisiddhanta was a usurper. His father, he said,
had passed on the responsibility of
spreading Mahaprabhu's religious tradition to him,
not Bhaktisiddhanta and he produced
a letter from Bhaktivinode to him stating something
like that. (Whether it was genuine or
not I cannot say.) He claimed that Bhaktisiddhanta
made the claim of carrying on his
father's work without any authorization to do so.
LPT stated quite bluntly that he had
received initiation from Bhaktivinoda, but that
Bhaktivinoda refused to give it to
Bhaktisiddhanta. One has to wonder why.
He went on to tell a story about Bhaktisiddhanta
that blew my mind. He said that
Bhaktisiddhanta was actually the reincarnation of a
fake guru by the name of Bishikishan
who Bhaktivinoda had incarcerated when he was the
deputy magistrate in Puri.
Bhaktivinoda had this fellow, who was impersonating
Krsna and dancing the rasa dance
with young women, arrested and imprisoned and a few
months later he died in prison
(police brutality?). According to LPT, Bishikishan
swore on his dying breath that he
would get even with Bhaktivinoda and spoil his
life's work. According to LPT he was born
as Bhaktivinoda's son, Bimala Prasada. At this
point he produced a letter written by
Bhaktivinoda to him years later describing the
horrible pains his mother experienced in
giving birth to BP, far worse than ordinary birth
pains, and there may have been a
comment either by Bhaktivinoda or his wife (LPT's
mother) about a great demon residing
in her womb. The rest according to LPT fit this
paradigm. BP insulted
Bhaktivinoda's guru Bipin Bihari by calling him a
fart breather. He went on to teach and
play the guru without any initiation, took over the
organization that Bhaktivinoda had
founded and turned it into the Gaudiya Math.
According to LPT Bhaktivinoda became
so disgusted that he retired to Puri early and went
into seclusion practicing the final
astakaliya and harinama-bhajana with which he ended
his life.
After hearing this story, I remember wondering if
this was merely the result of sibling
rivalry or something more substantial. At any rate,
the documents to support LPT's view
of the situation were right there. That was one of
the most tantalizing parts of the visit.
LPT showed me a couple of almira filled with
Bhaktivinod's letters and manuscripts,
some published and some unpublished. There was a
huge mass of literature there. I got
the impression that what had been published was
only the tip of the iceberg, that there
was so much more of Bhaktivinoda's realizations
buried in those almira. I hope that
someone is trying to protect it and publish it.
Another of LPT's claims was that those
things of Bhaktivinoda that had been published by
the Gaudiya Math had been "edited
and changed". He said that the true position of
Bhaktivinoda would not be known until
the works were restored from the original
manuscripts. All in all, it was an interesting
couple of days. LPT passed away a year or two later
and I have no idea what has become
of the mss or of the ancestral estate of
Bhaktivinod since then.
It does appear that Bhaktivinoda was rejected by
Bipin Bihari for his advocacy of the
Mayapur birth site. There is apparently a letter to
that effect. Bhaktivinoda did value
Jagannatha Dasa Baba's association and
Gaurakisora's too. Perhaps they were not equally
enthusiastic for his, though. Gaurakisora Dasa used
to joke about how he avoided
Bhaktivinoda by hiding out in a whore house in
Navadvipa. Bhaktivinoda's given name
was Kedarnath Datta. He received the title
Bhaktivinoda from the Baghna Para
Goswamis at the request of Bipin Bihari Goswami who
was one of them. Bhaktivinod
proudly retained that title until his death which
indicates that he still valued that
recognition. His books, too, are profoundly
influenced by Bipin Bihari and the teachings
of the Baghna Para Goswamis. Bipin Bihari's
presentation of the dasa-mula "ten Roots"
in a wonderful book called Dasa-mula-rasam was
echoed by Bhaktivinoda in his Sriman
Mahaprabhur Siksa "The Teachings of Sriman
Mahaprabhu" and other works. Also the
form of manjari practice and astakaliya-lila-
smarana (remembering of the lila of Radha
and Krsna in the eight periods) that he advocated
and practiced was that of the Baghna
Para Goswamis. The works and teachings of Bipin
Bihari Goswami were thus massively
influential for Bhaktivinoda. The other questions
you have asked I will have to postpone
answering for now. Look for another installment in
a few days.
All my best wishes,
Nitai Das
P.S. That Bhaktisiddhanta was considered or more
appropriately sometimes referred to
as "siddha" by the followers of Sri Radharaman
Carana Dasa should not confuse you.
Humble Vaisnavas will often refer to other
Vaisnavas or holy men of other traditions,
even those they disagree with, as mahatma or
siddha. It is merely Vaisnava humility and
etiquette. It doesn't mean that the person so
referred to is really a siddha. Only in the
Gaudiya Math and ISKCON are such practices entirely
Why is a Guru-parampara Indispensable?
A guru parampara is an uninterrupted succession of
devotees who have surrendered to
their guru. Without such surrender there is no
Krsna -
yasya prasadad bhagavatprasado - yasyaprasadan na
gatih kuto'pi
(Gurvastakam - 8)
Krsna cannot be approached directly; Krsna will not
accept anyone unless he accepts the
attitude of a servant of His devotee in the form of
the guru.
The Srimad Bhagavata (10.14.29) states:
athapi te deva padambujadvayaprasadalesanugrhita
eva hi
janati tattvam bhagavanmahimno na canya eko'pi
ciram vicinvan
[Moreover, Lord, one who has been blessed with a
tiny bit of the mercy of your lotus feet
knows the truth of the your greatness, O Blessed
One. Not some other one pondering it
over for a long time. -Ed.]
diksa-kale bhakta kore atma-samarpana
"At the time of initiation the devotee surrenders
himself."(C.c., Antya, 4.184)
Srila Rupa Gosvami teaches in the Bhakti-rasamrta-
sindhu (1.2.74) that the first of the 64
means of devotion is sriguru-padasraya, surrender
to a bona fide guru, as well as
"initiation and teaching in Krsna-bhakti."
The Bhagavata (11.21.15) states mantrasya ca
parijanam - "the mantra is purified by the
right knowledge." A mantra without explanation is
powerless, and Sri Visvanatha
Cakravarti writes in his commentary on this verse
that one cannot just take mantras or
their purports from books to reach the same effect
sadgurumukhat yathavat parijanam mantrasuddhih
"The mantra is really pure when it emanates from
the mouth of a bona-fide guru."
guruvaktrad visnumantro yasya karne visatyayam
tam vaisnavam mahaputam pravadanti manisinah
(Brahmavaivarta Purana, Krsnajanma-khanda, 83.34)
"The wise call those persons in whose ears the
Visnu-mantra enters, as it emanated from
the guru's mouth, greatly sanctified Vaisnavas."
Sri Narahari Cakravarti writes about Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu's receiving diksa mantra
from Sri Isvara Puri:
nija diksa mantra tare karnete kohiya
loilena mantra bhumi pori pranamiya ||
(Bhaktiratnakara, 5.2103)
"Sri Isvara Puri spoke his own diksa mantra into
the ear of Nimai, who then fell on the
ground in obeisance."
Furthermore, in verse 2109 of the same chapter it
is said:
sampradaya-nivista hoile karya siddhi hoy
anyatra diksita mantra nisphala niscoy
"Success is achieved after entering a sampradaya
(official tradition), otherwise the mantra
in which one is 'initiated' certainly won't bear
Success cannot be had by practising a mantra
attained from a book. Such accumulation of
book knowledge is an offence to the guru (guror
avaja), which is the third offence to the
chanting of the holy name. Thus people who consider
initiation unnecessary cannot get
the full benefit of chanting Hare Krsna. It is also
an insult to the vaisnava - pariprasnena
sevaya (Gita, 4.34). One should accumulate
knowledge through submissive inquiry from
the saints and by serving them, otherwise Krsna
will never be pleased. Hence the mantra
should also be received in an uninterrupted diksa-
parampara, which is at the same time
an unbroken siksa-parampara. The argument 'the holy
name is transcendental and
therefore not dependent on all these external
rituals' will not work, for on the path of
bhakti everything depends on a service attitude,
particularly towards the guru. The
argument that 'only the siksa parampara or
bhagavata parampara matters' is also invalid,
for Haribhakti-vilasa (2.4) quotes this statement
of Lord Siva from theVisnu-yamala:
adiksitasya vamoru krtam sarvam nirarthakam
pasuyonim avapnoti diksavirahito janah
"All activities of a non-initiated person are in
vain. A person who is without initiation will
take birth as an animal."
The Brahmavaivarta Purana, (Krsnajanma-khanda,
93.79) states:
na gurur mantradat parah -
"No guru is greater than the mantra-guru."
Sri Advaita Prabhu told His son Krsna Misra Gosvami
in Advaita Prakasa (21.153-154):
vaisnavera madhye yei sampradaya hine sampradayi
madhye yei gauraga na mane
krsna bahirmukha sei korimu niryasa
"Again, amongst the Vaisnavas, I consider those who
have no sampradaya (and those who
do have a sampradaya but do not recognise Gauranga)
averse to Sri Krsna and I will oust
Who or what is a Brhmaa?
Q: Can a dra or a mleccha become a brhmaa in this birth?
A: In the Gauya Vaiava missions that operate in the western countries we see everyone
ultimately receiving brhmaa-initiation. But which varrama-society has only brhmaas?
Qualities and birth are non-different kraa gua sago'sya sad asad yoni janmasu (Bhagavad
Gt 13.22). "The cause of birth in either a good or a bad species is one's attachment to a certain
psychological quality (culture, habit)." r Caitanya Mahprabhu has taught His followers td
api suncena "One must consider oneself lower than a blade of grass", not a mleccha claiming to be
equal to a brhmaa. Caste is for life, just as one cannot change one's biological father and mother
during this lifetime. Once born a European one cannot suddenly, during this lifetime, become an
Asian or African. One cannot change ticket mid-flight. A human being can and should not launch
ones own varrama dharma, for it is created by God Himself, and He is the highest authority
catur varya may sa (Bhagavad Gt 4.12) "The four castes are created by Me (God,
Ka), and not by a human being, who wishes to reform society, however elevated he may
have been. In rmad Bhgavata (7.15.14) human concoctions about varrama dharma are
called bhsa dharma, or fallacious religion yas tvicchay kta pumbhir bhso hyramt
pthak: That which has been created by man according to their own whim, separately from the
established ramas, is called abhsa. Finding fault in a brhmaa or trying to usurp his position
will cost you dear, for r Ka Himself says in the Bhgavata (10.64.41-42):
vipra ktgasam api naiva druhyata mmak
ghnanta bahu apanta v namaskuruta nityaa
yathha praame viprn anukla samhita
tath namata yya ca ye'nyath me sa daa-bhk
"O My relatives! Do not harm a brhmaa, even if he mistreats you! Even if he is a sinner, abuses
you or abundantly curses you, you should always bow down to him. Even I bow down to the
brhmaas. Whoever acts otherwise is punishable by Me!"
The best example is Indra, who had to suffer severely for killing the brhmaa Vtrsura, even
though he was a demon.
If the river Gang is considered pure in spite of all dirt, if Go is considered worshipable and
inviolable even if it comes to kill, the brhmaa must also be considered worshipable right from
birth despite his faults. Just like gotva, it is the brhmaatva which is glorified. This brhmaatva
is by birth, just as the gotva of the cow is by birth.
The Lord further tells rutadeva -
brhmao janman reyn sarve prinm iha
tapas vidyay tuy kim u mat kalay yuta
dupraj aviditvaivam avajannantyasyava; guru m vipram tmnam Who and what is a
brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
2 December 31, 2013
The brhmaa is superior to all living beings by birth. Let alone when he is austere, learned,
content and devoted to Me..
Men of crooked understanding, who do not know this, disrespect a brhmaa and are envious of
him, who is identical with Me and their very self." (rmad Bhgavata (10.86.53, 55)
In his commentary to verse 53, r Santana Gosvm says: janman jti mtrea janman
means, just by jti, caste.
Nanda Mahrja told Garga Muni:
tva hi brahma-vid reha saskrn kartum arhasi
blayor anayor n janman brhmao guru
(rmad Bhgavata 10.8.6)
You are the greatest knower of the Vedas, so you are qualified to perform this rite on my sons. A
brhmaa is Guru by birth.
Jva Goswm Vaiava comments in his Toa kjanman jtyeva ki punar jndinetyartha
- He is Guru by caste, what to speak of by knowledge and so?
Jva Goswm Bhad Vaiava Toan janman janma mtreaiva ki punar jndinetyartha
janman means only by birth, what to speak of knowledge and so?
Jva Goswm Krama Sandarbha janman jtyeva By birth means by caste only.
The Bhgavata (7.11.13) declares that a brhmaa must first be born in a family that has always,
throughout the generations, followed all the saskras for the brhmaas
saskr yad avichinn sa dvijo'jo jagda yam
"A twice born brhmaa is he in whose family the (16) purificatory rites have been performed in
unbroken succession and whom Lord Brahm has denominated as such."
rpda rdhara Svm comments on this verse:
dra tu na mantravat saskra yukta jagda na copanayanavantam ato nsau dvija....ato
vivha vyatirikta saskrnavayakatvt upanayanasya tu sarvath niedht na tasya dvijatvam
"The dra is not to be invested with mantras nor with the sacred thread, hence he is not a dvija."
"Other than marriage there is no saskra for the dra, therefore the sacred thread ceremony is
forbidden for him in all respects and he cannot be a dvija." 1
1prabhu hsi kohe svm n mne yei jana; veyra bhitore tre koriye gaana (C.C. Antya 7.115) r
Caitanya Mahprabhu smilingly replied, One [a wife] who does not accept the svm (husband or rdhara
Svm in this context) as an authority I consider a prostitute. Who and what is a brhmaa? A Guru? Or
a sannysi?
3 December 31, 2013
What to speak then of a person who is born entirely outside of varrama?
r Vivantha Cakravartpda comments on this verse:
saskra mantravanto garbhdhndayo yasmin sa dvija. vichinna saskro dvijabandhur
ityartha. ajo brahm ya jagdeti brahma syrambhata eva pravtty dvija jtau viuddha
mt pitka janmaiva mukhya lakaam
"A dvija is a person whose parents have gone through purificatory rites like the garbhdhna
saskra. When there is no unbroken succession of saskras the brhmaa is called dvija
bandhu. This practise is going on since the creation by the unborn Brahm. The main symptom of
the twice-born caste is merely birth from a pure father and mother."
Those who preach mere meritocracy often quote this verse from rmad Bhgavata (7.11.35):
yasya yallakaa prokta puso varbhivyanjakam
yad anyatrpi dyeta tat tenaiva vinirdiet
If what has been declared as a feature of the grade of society of a man is perceived even in
another (person belonging to another caste), the latter should be particularly called by that very
denomination (caste).
rdhara Svm comments on this verse:
amdibhir eva brhmadi vyavahro mukhya na jti mtrd ityha yasyeti. yad yadi anyatra
varntare'pi tad varntara tenaiva lakaa nimittenaiva varena vinirdiet na tu jti
One is not just a brhmaa by birth - the main symptom is good behaviour like self-control. If
such virtue is found elsewhere, in another caste, this determines the person's vara, not just
However, rdhara Svm does not say here that non-brhmaas can receive the sacred thread. If
he did, then he would contradict his commentary of verse 13.
This verse from the Mahbhrata (Anuana Parva chapter 163) is often quoted
na yonir npi saskro na rutam na ca santati
krani dvijatvasya vtta eva tu kraam
"Neither birth, purificatory ceremonies, nor learning, nor progeny, but one's mode of life alone is
the cause for dvijatva." Who and what is a brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
4 December 31, 2013
The meaning of this is that, if a brhmaa leads his whole life in a manner that is not conform to
how a brhmaa must live (as per stras), in his next life, he will attain that mode in which he
led his life. In the same mode often the Vajra Sucika Upaniad is quoted, but this Upaniad says
nothing about giving brhmaa-threads to mlecchas or dras, nor does it say that one should not
be first born a brhmaa to be considered qualified.
rpda Bhaktivinoda explains in his Jaiva Dharma (Chapter 6):
"Cumai: One must take birth in a brhmaa-family to perform yajas and other such
activities, and even one who is born in a brhmaa-family must be purified by the ceremony of
investiture with the sacred thread before he is eligible to perform the duties of a brhmaa.
Similarly, a cala may have become purified by the chanting of harinma, but he is still not
eligible to perform yajnas until he acquires a seminal birth in a brhmaa-family. However, he can
perform the limbs of bhakti which are infinitely greater than yajas."
Cumani: What kind of conclusion is that? That a person not qualified for an ordinary thing
can be qualified for an exalted thing! What is the clear proof for that?
Vaiava dsa: "There are two types of human activity: material activities that relate to practical
existence (vyavahrika); and spiritual activities that relate to the ultimate truth (pramrthika). A
person may have attained spiritual qualification, but that does not necessarily qualify him for
particular material activities. For example, one who is a Muslim by birth may have acquired the
nature and all the qualities of a brhmaa, so that he is a brhmaa from the spiritual point of
view, but he still remains ineligible for certain material activities, such as marrying the daughter
of a brhmaa.
Cumai: Why not? What is wrong with that?
Vaiava dsa: If one violates social customs, one is guilty of secular impropriety, and members
of society who take pride in their social respectability do not condone such activities. That is why
one should not perform them, even if he is spiritually qualified.
r Raghuntha Dsa Gosvmi writes in his r Mana ik:
gurau gohe gohlayiu sujane bh-sura-gae
sva-mantre r-nmni vraja-nava-yuva-dvandva-smarae
sad dambha hitv kuru ratim aprvm atitar
aye svntar bhrta caubhir abhiyce dhta-pada ||1||
"O mind, I grasp your feet and beg you with sweet words: please cast away hypocrisy at all times
and have unprecedented love for my Guru, Vrajabhmi, the people of Vraja, the Vaiavas, the
brhmaas, the mantras given by my Guru, the holy name and the fresh young couple of Vraja."
Here he uses two words, sujana (vaiavas) and bh-sura-gaa (brhmaas). If Vaiavas are
automatically brhmaas in every respect, then there is no need to give two categories. Giving two
categories means each is unique and yet both have something in Who and what is a brhmaa? A
Guru? Or a sannysi?
5 December 31, 2013
common. If a brhmaa is to be worshipped only if he is a Vaiava, then there is no need to
specifically mention brhmaa and Vaiava.
rmad Bhgavata (3.33.6) states:
yan-nmadheya-ravanukrtand yat-prahvad yat-smarad api kvacit
vdo pi sadya savanya kalpate kuta punas te bhagavan nu darant
O Lord! By occasionally hearing and chanting Your divine names, bowing to You or even
remembering You, a pariah (a dog-eater) becomes instantly worshipable as a Brahmin that
performs a Soma-sacrifice. Who can then imagine the benefit of seeing You directly?
However, rla Jva Gosvm comments on Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu 1.1.22, which is r Rpa
Gosvms comment on this verse:
tasmd durjtir evetyatra savanyogyatvepi kraam iti tad-yogyat pratikla-ppamayty artha.
na tu tad-yogyatvbhva-mtra-mayti. brhma aukre janmani durjtitvbhvepi savana-
yogyatvya puya-viea-maya-svitra-janmpekatvt. tataca savana-yogyatva-pratikla-durjty-
rambhaka prrabdham api gatam eva kintu icrbhvt svitra janma nstti brhmaa-
kumr savana-yogyatvbhvvacchedaka-puya-viea-maya-svitra-janmpekvad asya
janmntarpek vartata iti bhva. ata prama-vkyepi savanya kalpate sambhvito bhavati na
tu tadaivdhikr syd ity abhipretam vykhyta ca tai sadya savanya soma-ygya kalpate.
anena pjyatva lakyata iti
Therefore bad birth itself is here the cause of being unqualified for Soma-sacrifice and that
means possessing sin that is antagonistic to qualification for that, not merely having an absence of
qualification for that. Even though there is an absence of bad birth in being born from the seed of
brhmaas there is still the necessity for a srya-birth [ie sacred thread initiation] which possesses
the merit suitable for qualifying one for Soma-sacrifice. Therefore though the prrabdha that
caused the bad birth that is antagonistic to suitability for soma-sacrifice is gone, like brhmaa-
boys who because of absence of cultured practice have no srya-birth and must await a srya-
birth that possesses the merit that can cut to pieces their absence of suitability for Soma-sacrifice,
he (the dog-eater who chants the names of Ka) must await another birth. This is the position.
Therefore, in the statement of authority (.B. 3.33.6) the words savanya kalpate, "he becomes fit
for Soma sacrifice," are intended to mean he becomes respected or honored, but not that he has
actually become qualified then and there (to perform that sacrifice).
rdhara Svm comments on rmad Bhgavata 3.33.6: anena pjyatva lakyate This verse
just describes how the chanting dogeater is worshipable.
r Jva Goswm comments on this verse and rdhara Swms comment in Bhakti Sandarbha
(128): tasmt pjyatva mtra ttparyam ityabhipretya k-kdbhir apy uktam Who and what is a
brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
6 December 31, 2013
anena pjyatva lakyata iti The only purpose of rdhara Swms commentary on this verse is
to show how the chanting dog-eater is worshipable (not that he literally becomes a Brahmin).
r Santana Gosvm repeats that point in his Dig-darini k to Hari bhakti vilsa:
brhmaa-kumr aukre janmani yogyatve saty api svitra-daikya-janmpekvat. svitrdi-
janmani tu sad-cra-prpter iti savane pravttir na yujyate. tasmt pjyatva-mtre ttparyam ity
abhipretya k-kdbhir apy uktam anena pjyatva lakyata iti
Just as even though there is the eligibility in the son of a brhmaa through seminal birth, there
is still the dependence on the birth through svitra-dk (initiation into gyatr mantra), birth
through svitra-dka is but attained through sad-cra and thus, performing soma yga is not
suitable. Therefore, the purport here is only pjyatva (being worshipable) and thus the
commentator (rdhara Svm) too has said "anena pjyatvam lakyata.
In his Bhgavata k named Krama Sandarbha Jva Gosvm says:
tatra yogyaty labdhrambho bhavatty artha. tad-anantara-janmany eva dvijatva prpya tad-
dy-adhikr syd
It just means that there is a beginning made with qualification he only becomes really qualified
by taking a brhmaa-birth in the next life.
From this huge amount of authorised evidence it must be clear that the phrase gua karma
vibhgaa, divided according to quality and activity, which is often quoted from Bhagavad-Gt
4.12 to prove that mere qualification at this very instant is enough to qualify as a brhmaa, refers
to previous births accumulation of a certain attitude (gua) and activities (karma) that cause one
to take birth in a certain caste in the present life. rla Baladeva Vidybhaa comments on
Bhagavad Gt 18.41 that svabhva, or nature, is formed by impressions from previous births -
svabhva prktana-saskras. You cannot reform the laws of karma, nature and subsequent
r Vivantha Cakravartpda has elaborated further on this point to some degree, stating that
since such sacrificial activities are lower on the spiritual hierarchy than direct service to Ka,
they are not to be taken up even by brhmaa Vaiavas. Santana Gosvm says in Bhad
Bhgavatmta (2.2.57):
e yajaika nihnm aikyenvayake nije
jape ca sad gurddie mndya syd da sat phale
"Mahris offered Gopa Kumra the status of a brhmaa, but he thought to himself: "If I accept
the position of a brhmaa, I will surely slacken in my practise of the mantra Who and what is a
brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
7 December 31, 2013
that I received from the bonafide guru, and that is certainly not good. brhmaas are only engaged
in yajas and are not engaged in other matters."
Second initiation or mantra-initiation is not brhmaa-initiation
The brhmaa-thread is only for practising the Brahma Gyatr, not for the Vaiava-dk-
mantras like Gopla mantra and Kma Gyatr. Only the last two are mentioned in Hari Bhakti
Vilsa as Gauya Vaiava dk-mantras. Proof that brhmaa-initiation and mantra initiation
are two different things is shown in Hari Bhakti Vilsa (2.3-4):
dvijn anupetn sva-karmdhyayandiu
yathdhikro nstha syccopanayand anu
tathtrdkitn tu mantra devrcandiu
ndhikro'styata kuryd tmna iva sastutam
A.C. Bhaktivednta Swm quotes this verse in his commentary on Caitanya Caritamrita (Madhya
15.108) and translates it as follows:
"Even though born in a brahmana family, one cannot engage in Vedic rituals without being initiated
and having a sacred thread. Although born in a brahmana family, one becomes a brahmana after
initiation and the sacred thread ceremony. Unless one is initiated as a brahmana, he cannot worship
the holy name properly."
This is, however, not a correct translation. The proper translation is:
"Just as an anupanita vipra (born brhmaa who is not yet initiated with the brhmaa thread)
does not yet qualify to study the Vedas, but does so after getting the upanayana (sacred thread)
saskra, similarly an uninitiated person does not qualify for the Lord's arcana (temple worship).
Hence one should take dk (iva sastutam iti dkitam)."
Noteworthy are the words tath (also) and atra (here), 'here' meaning "in practise of arcan",
showing that this verse is a comparison between brhmaa-hood on the one hand and Vaiava-
dk on the other, and that these are two separate things, not one and the same.
A brhmaa is called dvija, or twice born. How can you have the second birth (upanayaa
saskra) without having had the first one (aukra or seminal birth)? brahma gyatri investment
is done by the father of a brhmaa-boy when he is 11 years old. The boy should not see the sun
for many days (since the brhma gyatr is a solar mantra) and is locked up into a room with the
windows shut, given only haviynna (porridge without salt, spices or sugar) to eat. Initiation
into Ka-mantra is a separate initiation which is only given to active Vaiava-brhmaas. For
instance, Mahprabhu already wore His thread when He received ka mantra from vara Puri
and Advaita Prabhu had been doing brahma gyatr for decades when He received Ka-mantra
from Mdhavendra Puri. And what if the qualified brhmaa falls down and starts drinking and
engaging in illicit sex? Then we take his sutra away and give it back to him as soon as he follows
the principles Who and what is a brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
8 December 31, 2013
again? Isnt this bizarre? Has this ever been shown in any Vedic scripture? We are seeing that
western Vaiava organizations, which have a 100% brhmaa-population, also have the highest
divorce rate in the world, women have children from different men - in India even the sweepers
wives dont do that. Some qualified brhmaas keep dogs in their houses, again something even
the sweepers in India wont do where is the qualification then?
Qualified brhmaas drink beer and qualified brhmas wear bikini.
Considering the dvijatva in the Haribhakti Vilsa-verse that says -
yath kcanat yti ksya rasa vidhnata
tath dk vidhnena dvijatva jyate n
As bell metal is turned into gold through the process of alchemy, similarly a human being attains
twice born status through the process of dk.
In his commentary Santana Gosvm confirms that dvijatva means viprat for everyone
(sarvem eva dvijatva viprat), and this seems a justification for turning everyone into a
brhmaa. However,
1) This does not mention the brahma gyatr, this statement deals with Vaiava dk.
2) If this referred to brahma gyatr, then that would contradict rdhara Svms and Jva
Gosvms verdict that this is not attainable for non-brhmaas in their current births.
3) In his Bhakti Sandarbha [298] rla Jva Gosvm has quoted this verse under the heading
athrcandhikri niraya - Now follows the designation of eligibility for deity Who and what is a
brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
9 December 31, 2013
worship. Then he proceeds by quoting scripture on the eligibility of all castes and genders for
deity worship, ending with yath kcanat. This is the context in which this verse appears.
4] None of Mahprabhu's nitya siddha associates, like Advaita or Nitynanda, Gaddhara,
rnivscrya, Narottama, ymnanda, nor any of Their disciples or grand-disciples have ever
put such a 'brahmana-initiation' into practise, involving the Brhma Gyatr in the process.
mahjano yena gata sa pantha One must follow in the footsteps of the mahjanas. All the
mahjanas have considered such a practise to be an utpta, or social disturbance. Before 1918,
350 years after the compilation of Haribhakti Vilsa, no one has ever given 'brhmaa-initiation'.
Shall we assume that rpd Bhaktisiddhnta Sarasvat knew it better than the Paca Tattva, the
Six Gosvms, and all their successor cryas?
5] In Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu (1.2.62) Rpa Gosvm quotes the K-khaa
antyaj api tad-rre akha-cakrka-dhria
samprpya vaiav dk dkit iva sambabhu
In that country even the outcastes wore conch and disc signs. They received Vaiava dk and
thus becames just like sacrificial priests.
Vivantha Cakravart comments: dkit yjik iva sambabhur - dkit means just like
sacrificial priests. iva means just like, not that they actually became sacrificial priests.
Gauya Maha-followers try to dismiss or play down the authority of the Haribhakti Vilsa by
writing (as Swami A.C. Bhaktivednta did in his purport of Caitanya Caritmta. Madhya 1.35:)
"According to rla Bhaktisiddhnta Sarasvat hkura, the regulated principles of devotional service
compiled by Gopla Bhaa Gosvm do not strictly follow our Vaiava principles.It is rla
Bhaktisiddhnta Sarasvat Gosvms opinion, however, that to follow the Hari-bhakti-vilsa strictly is
to actually follow the Vaiava rituals in perfect order. He claims that the smrta-samja, which is
strictly followed by caste brhmaas, has influenced portions that Gopla Bhaa Gosvm collected
from the original Hari-bhakti-vilsa. It is therefore very difficult to find out Vaiava directions from
the book of Gopla Bhaa Gosvm.
However, when rman Mahprabhu outlines the contents of Haribhakti Vilsa, he assures
Santana Gosvmpda; yabe tumi likhib ka korbe sphuraa, "Ka will reveal to you what to
write." (Caitanya Caritmta Madhya 24, 340)
It was not written under pressure of smrtas but through the inspiration of r Ka. That is an
offence to rla Santana Gosvm, rla Gopla Bhaa Gosvm and even to Lord r Ka
Himself, who has revealed the text to Santana Gosvm. Santana Gosvm clarifies in the very
first verse of Haribhakti Vilsa that he has written this book for the Who and what is a brhmaa?
A Guru? Or a sannysi?
10 December 31, 2013
pleasure of the Vaiavas (and not for smrtas and bodily conscious people) - caitanya-deva
bhagavantam raye r-vaiavn pramudejas likhan. To say that certain statements of
Santana's are for the appeasement of a certain class would be like saying that Santana Gosvm
is not an crya at all. This is the biggest apardha. If indeed, he did appeasement, why did not
Gopla Bhaa Gosvm clarify it in the Dig-darin-k written on those verses of Haribhakti
Vilsa? Why both Gopla Bhaa Gosvm and Santana Gosvm are silent on this issue both in
Haribhakti Vilsa and in Dig-darin? Jva Gosvm clarifies in the beginning of his Locana-
rocan-commentary on Ujjvala Nlamai that svecchay likhita kicit kicit likhita parecchay
or Some statements I have written according to my own desire, whereas some statements are
written keeping into mind the desire of others. But, any such statement from the two authors
themselves i.e. Gopla Bhaa Gosvm and Santana Gosvm have not been issued in the case
of Haribhakti Vilsa and its commentary.
rmad Bhgavata 1.7.43
uvca csahanty asya bandhannayana sat
mucyat mucyatm esa brhmano nitar guruh
Draupadi could not tolerate Avatthm's being bound by ropes, and being a devoted lady, she
said: Release him, for he is a brhmana, our spiritual master.
The text brhmao nitar guru actually means brhmaas are always Guru. This clearly shows
that Avatthm was still referred to as a brhmaa despite his heinous act. He did not get
demoted to a dra or less because of his sinful behavior. Even a dvija-bandhu must be treated
differently from others even if he commits the most grievous sins and is an taty; he must never
be killed - r-bhagavn uvcabrahma-bandhur na hantavya. The Lord said: One should not kill
a fallen brhmaa. (rmad Bhgavata 1.7.53) Thus respect shown to brhmaas is real and a
The Bhgavata teaches respect for Guru-families as well, as in this statement by Draupad (rmad
Bhgavata 1.7.46)-
tad dharmaja mah-bhga bhavadbhir gaurava kulam
vjina nrhati prptu pjya vandyam abhkaa
O knower of dharma! You should not cause suffering to the family of your guru, because they are
always praiseworthy and worthy of worship.
rdhara Swm and Vivantha Cakravart both gloss gaurava as guro kulam, the family of the
Droa: He was a brhmaa but took to the life of a katriya due to his warlike disposition. Was he
then referred to thereafter as a katriya? No. Anyone who has read the Mahbhrata can tell you
that the text continued to refer to him as a brhmaa. Who and what is a brhmaa? A Guru? Or a
11 December 31, 2013
Arjuna: He demonstrated a propensity towards renunciation when he declined to fight on the
battlefield of Kuruketra. He was ready to renounce everything and just live by begging. Did Lord
Ka accept it? No. He argued that Arjuna was a katriya and should fight the battle despite his
brhmiical disposition.
These examples refute the point of view that one's vara changes on the basis of his "mentality."
Finally, let us quote other stric evidence that further refutes this point of view:
Bhagavad-gt As It Is 18.41
brhmaa katriya vi dr ca parantapa
karmi pravibhaktni svabhva prabhavair guai
Brhmaas, Katriyas, Vaiyas and dras are distinguished by the qualities born of their own
natures in accordance with the material modes, o chastiser of the enemy.
The cryas wrote the following commentaries
rdhara Swm - svabhva prva-janma-saskra svabhva means the cultivation from
previous birth.
r Vivantha Cakravart - svabhvenotpattyaiva prabhavanti prdurbhavanti ye gu The
guas of the four varas appear due to svabhva, utpatti (utpatty) or birth.
Iskcons own translations of utpatty -
utpatty from the beginning of His appearance; SB 5.4.1 utpatty because of my birth (in a
demoniac family); SB 7.10.2 saha utpatty by our very birth; SB 10.16.56 utpatty eva
simply by birth; SB 11.21.24
Baladeva Vidybhaa svabhva prktana-saskras svabhva means cultivation from
previous birth.
All cryas here confirm vara is by birth, not merely by quality.
Bhagavad-gt As It Is 18.47
reyn sva-dharmo vigunah para-dharmt sv-anusthitt
svabhva-niyata karma kurvan npnoti kilbisam
It is better to engage in one's own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly, than
to accept another's occupation and perform it perfectly. Duties prescribed according to one's
nature are never affected by sinful reactions.
r Baladeva Vidybhaa's commentary to 18.47:
nanu katriydi-dharmn rjasditvt teu ruci-nyai katriydibhi sttviko brahma-dharma
evnuheya iti cet tatrha reyn iti. sva-dharmo vigua nikopi samyag-anuhitopi v para-
dharmd utkt svanuhitc ca reyn atipraao vihitatvt. Who and what is a brhmaa? A
Guru? Or a sannysi?
12 December 31, 2013
If it is said by someone that, only sttvika brhmaa dharma must be conducted by those
katriyas that have no taste for the dharmas of katriyas and others because of their being in rajas,
it is said, reyn svadharmo-vigua it is better to practice ones own dharma imperfectly than
anothers dharma perfectly.
Bhagavad-gt As It Is 18.59
yad ahakram ritya na yotsya iti manyase
mithyaisa vyavasyas te prakrtis tv niyoksyati
If you do not act according to My direction and do not fight, then you will be falsely directed. By
your nature, you will have to be engaged in warfare.
Why did Lord Ka say it was Arjuna's nature to fight? And that too despite Arjuna offering to
give up everything and take to begging? Because Arjuna was born a katriya and he was obligated
to follow katriya dharma. Arjuna did not get promoted to brhmaa status because of his
compassion for his family.
Someone may argue:
janman jyate dra saskrt bhaveddvija
veda-pahd bhaved vipra brahmajntti brhmaa.
The meaning of who is a brhmaa is very clear - one who knows brahman. Hence, all scriptural
statements that apply to a brhmaa can only apply to one who has realised brahman and is
completely free of faults such as kma, krodha etc and does not depend on considerations of one's
Refutation: The scriptural statements applicable to a brhmaa apply only to that person who has
directly realised brahman and is completely devoid of kma, krodha, lobha etc. Then, when it
comes to practicality the following points are to be considered:
a) Those who directly experience brahman and are free from all six faults are very, very rare. One
in a million. So what happens to all the injunctions in the stras meant for brhmaas? Are they
to be done by anyone at all or wait only for those extremely rare personalities to do whenever
they become qualified by realising brahman? If they are not done by the millions of so called
brhmaas citing disqualification, it then leads to destruction of dharma. A result which will be
contrary to the purpose of those injunctions.
b) Once one becomes a true brhmaa, what interest does he have in performing the activities in
the stras for all of them are laukika and he will have no laukika raddh, having directly realised
brahman? He practically is a non-starter and these activities will never be performed by anyone at
all. If he can do it only after he attains such realisation, it is known that such realisation comes by
years of sdhana? What activities does he do till he Who and what is a brhmaa? A Guru? Or a
13 December 31, 2013
gets such realisation? Anything that he pleases or his svadharma? If he does anything that he
pleases, there are numerous statements in all scriptures including bhakti-stras that stand against
him. Thus he must only follow his svadharma according to his birth.
So far no source reference is given for the above loka. crya Vadhara writes in his k of
rmad Bhgavata 1.1.2 - dhunikair vipra dvibhis tu 'janman jyate dra' iti pha kalpita. sa
cndaraya eva Modern quotes by brhmaa-haters like janman jyate dra are concocted
reading, which should be disregarded. If the meaning is taken literally as "by birth one is born a
dra" and is taken to apply to every human being born on earth, then this contradicts numerous
other statements which mention about a brhmaa that he is a brhmaa right from birth.
Q.: There are numerous non-brhmaas who became brhmaas in the same life. If brhmaa-
hood is by birth then how did they become brhmaas?
A: It is true that there were non-brhmaas who became brhmaas in the same life, but these
were exceptions, not the rule. The scriptures themselves question these exceptions and answer
them. For example, in the Mahbhrata, Anuana parva (3.1-2) -
brhmaya yadi duprpa tribhir varair nardhipa
katha prpta mahrja katriyea mahtman
vivmitrea dharmtman brhmaatva nararabha
rotum icchmi tattvena tan me brhi pitmaha
'If, O prince, brhmaa-hood is so hard to attain by the three classes (Katriyas, Vaiyas and
dras), how then did the high souled Vivmitra, though a Katriya (by birth), attain the status
of a Brhmaa? I desire to know this, O sire. Therefore, relate this matter to me in truth please.
The description continues wherein, sage cka, a son of sage Bhgu married Satyavat, a princess.
Please with her nature, he blessed her that she will have a brhmaa-son. Satyavat's mother, wife
of King Gdhi also wanted a child. On Satyavat's request, sage cka gave both of them 2 carus
(pyasa) along with instructions to embrace two different trees. The mother and daughter
exchanged their carus and the trees. Hearing this, sage cka explained that he had infused the
potency of an effulgent brhmaa in the caru meant for Satyavat and that of a fiery katriya in the
caru meant for her mother. But since they exchanged the carus and also embraced the trees meant
for the other, Satyavat would give birth to a fiery katriya, though a brhmaa by birth and her
mother an effulgent brhmaa, though a katriya by birth. On account of Satyavat's pleas, he
agreed to make her grandson instead of son with the nature of a fiery katriya. The grandson was
Paraurma. The katriya who was actually a brhmaa was Vivmitra. Thus Vivmitra became
a brhmaa because of the grace of sage cka. In chapters 28 and 29 of Anuana parva,
Bhma-deva explained through the story of Mataga that it is not possible to become a brhmaa
in the same birth even through the fiercest of penances. Who and what is a brhmaa? A Guru? Or
a sannysi?
14 December 31, 2013
In his purport to Caitanya Caritmta, Madhya ll 1, 63, Swami A.C Bhaktivednta says:
r Rpa, r Santana and r Haridsa were prohibited from entering the Jaganntha Mandir and
Lord Caitanya did not approve of such dogmatic prohibitions. To avoid unnecessary turmoil, however,
these great personalities would not enter the Jagannatha temple.
The Caitanya Caritmta text says, however:
haridsa hkura ra rpa-santana
jaganntha-mandire n yna tina jana
"Haridsa hkura and Rpa and Santana, these three men, did not go to the Jaganntha
From this it is clear that they voluntary, out of sheer humility, did not enter the Jaganntha
Mandir, not grudgingly, due to prohibition or to avoid turmoil. There is no mentioning anywhere
in this Bengali text that they wanted to avoid turmoil, that they were prohibited to enter or that
they protested or resisted such prohibitions. If that were so, then why did Santana Gosvm
prefer to have his foot-soles scorched over having to touch Lord Jaganntha's pjrs? If r
Caitanya Mahprabhu wanted to overthrow the caste system He could have done so easily.
Pratparudra Mahrja was at His feet:
prabhura nikae che joto bhakta-gaa; mora lgi t-sabre koriho nivedana
sei sab doylu more hoiy sadaya; mora lgi prabhu-pade karibe vinaya
t-sobra prasde mile r-prabhura pya; prabhu-kp vin mora rjya nhi bhya
yadi more kp n koribe gaurahari; rjya chi yog hoi hoibo bhikhr
In a letter King Pratparudra requested Srvabhauma Bhacrya, Please appeal to all the
devotees associated with r Caitanya Mahprabhu and submit this petition to them on my behalf.
If all the devotees associated with the Lord are favorably disposed toward me, they can submit my
petition at the lotus feet of the Lord. By the mercy of all the devotees, one can attain the shelter of
the lotus feet of the Lord. Without His mercy, my kingdom does not appeal to me. If Gaurahari,
Lord r Caitanya Mahprabhu, will not show mercy to me, I shall give up my kingdom, become a
mendicant and beg from door to door.
With such influence Mahprabhu could have easily told the king to lift the ban on non-Hindus
entering the Jagannth Mandir so that Rpa Gosvm, Santana Gosvm and Harids hkur
could enter, but there is no evidence from any stra that He never did that.
During Advaita Prabhus feast in honor of Mahprabhu, when He had just taken sannysa, rla
Harids Thkur humbly said:
mui ppiha adhama, bhire eka mui pche korimu bhojan
(Caitanya Caritmta Madhya 3.63) Who and what is a brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
15 December 31, 2013
I am a fallen sinner I will eat a handful later, outside.
When Rpa Gosvms dramas were about to be read to the Lord, Rpa and Harids humbly sat at
the base of the platform where the other devotees were seated:
rpa haridsa duhe bosil pitale; sabra agre n uhil pira upare
(Caitanya Caritmta Antya 1.111).
When the brhmaa Klidsa glorified his dra-friend Jhau hkura, stating that a low-caste
devotee is greater than a non-devotee brhmaa, Jhau hkura did not say: Yes, you see I am
greater than or equal to you! Rather, he said:
uni hkura kohe stre ei satya hoy; sei nca nahe yte ka-bhakti hoy
mi nca jti, mr nhi ka-bhakti; anya aiche hoy, my nhi aiche akti
The scriptures speak the truth, a low caste person is not low if he/she has devotion for Ka. I,
however, am low-born and I have no devotion for Ka. This may apply to others, but I do not
have such a power. (Caitanya Caritmta Antya 16, 28-29)
These are perfect examples of maryd-plana, maintaining the etiquette.
r Caitanya Mahprabhu was NOT AGAINST THE CASTE SYSTEM. When He heard that
Santana Gosvm had burned his footsoles to avoid touching Lord Jagannthas pjrs, He
praised him, saying (Caitanya Caritmta Antya 4, 129-132):
yadyapi tumi hao jagat pvan; tom spare pavitra hoy deva muni-gaa
tathpi bhakta svabhva - maryd rakaa; maryd plana hoy sdhura bhaa
maryd laghane loka kore upahsa; iha loka, para loka - dui hoy na
maryd rakhile, tua hoy mora mana; tumi aiche n korile kore kon jana?
"Although you are the purifier of the whole world and the demigods and sages are purified by
your mere touch, still it is the nature of a devotee to follow the social protocol. Maintaining the
social protocol is the ornament of a sdhu. When a Vaiava violates the social protocol people
will ridicule him and he will perish in this birth and in the next. By keeping the social standard
you have pleased My mind. Who else but you could do such a thing?"
By saying: Although you are the purifier, Mahprabhu acknowledges the spiritual superiority
of a Vaiava, but then He immediately warns that the external social protocol must be
maintained. These are two separate worlds, one spiritual and the other material.
On the other hand, a person who violates the social protocol can expect Mahprabhus wrath:
maryd laghana mi sohite n pri (Caitanya Caritmta Antya 4.166) I cannot tolerate
violation of the protocol.2
2Although the direct context of this statement is Jagadnanda Pandits treatment of Santan Gosvm,
Mahprabhu spoke this as a general statement, applying to all circumstances and relationships. Who and
what is a brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
16 December 31, 2013
When rman Mahprabhu travelled r Svarpa Dmodara and r Rmnanda Ry wanted to
take a brhmaa with Him - He would not eat grains from non-brhmaas:
m duhra mone tabe boro sukh hoy; ek nivedana yadi dhara, daymaya
uttama brhmaa ek sage avaya chi ; bhik kori bhik dibe jbe ptra bohi
banapathe jite nhi bhojynna brhmaa; j koro sage coluk vipra ekjan
(Caitanya Caritmta Madhya 17.10-12)
We would both be very happy if you could heed our plea, O merciful One! You should definitely
travel with one topmost brhmaa, who can beg alms for You, serve You these alms and carry
your vessels. When You traverse the forest path You will have no brhmaa with You who will
cook and serve Your grains. Order us to send a brhmaa along with You.
ye grme rohen prabhu tathya brhmaa; pnca st jan si kore nimantraa
keho anna ni dey bhacrya sthne; keho dugdha dadhi keho ghta khaa ne
jh vipra nhi th dra mahjana; si sabe bhacrye kore vanya vyajana
bhacrya pka kore vanya vyajana; vanya vyajana prabhura nandita mana
(Caitanya Caritmta Madhya 17.58-60)
In whatever village the Lord stayed five to seven brhmaas invited Him. Some gave grains to
Bhacrya, others gave milk, yoghurt, clarified butter or rock candy. Wherever there were no
brhmaas the great devotee-dras came and gave Bhacrya forest-vegetables to cook for the
Lord. Prabhu was very happy to eat these vegetables cooked by Bhacrya.
Note here that the Lord accepted only vegetables from the dra-devotees.
In Caitanya Caritmta (Antya 10.139-141):
crya-ratna, crya-nidhi, nandana, rghava; rvsa-di joto bhakta, vipra sab
eimata nimantraa koren jatna kori; vsudeva gaddhara, gupta murri
kulna-grm, khaavs, ra joto jan; jagannthera prasda ni koren nimantraa
Devotees like crya-ratna, crya-nidhi, Nandana, Rghava and rvsa were all brhmaas and
they invited the Lord for meals. Vsudeva, Gaddhara, Murri Gupta and the villagers from
Kulna and Khaa (who were not brhmaas) brought prasda from Lord Jaganntha. And later
on in that chapter (verses 154-155):
gopnthcrya, jagadnanda, kvara; bhagavn rmabhadrcrya, akara, vakrevara
madhye madhye ghara bhte kore nimantraa; anyera nimantraa prasde kaui dui paa Who and
what is a brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
17 December 31, 2013
Gopnthcrya, Jagadnanda, Kvara; Bhagavn Rmabhadrcrya, akara, Vakrevara (who
were all brhmaas) cooked for the Lord in their homes while others bought prasda for Him for
(a price of) 2 kauis.
rvsdi joto prabhura vipra bhakta-gaa; prabhuke bhik dite hoilo sobkra mana
(When the Lord took His first alms in Advaita Prabhus house just after taking sannysa) rvsa
and all the other brhmaa-devotees of the Lord wanted to invite the Lord for a meal. (Caitanya
Caritmta Madhya 3. 168)
Caitanya Caritmta (di 7.45-46):
kte lekhak dra candra-ekhara;
tr ghare rohil prabhu svatantra vara
tapana mirera ghare bhik nirvhaa
When in Benares, the independent Lord (Mahprabhu) stayed in the house of the scribe
Candraekhara, who was a dra, but He took His meals in the house of Tapan Mira (who was a
Also in Caitanya Bhgavata (Antya 9.118-119) it is described that Mahprabhu ate only from
brhmaas -
tath bhik mra, ye hoy lakevara; uniy brhmaa sab cintita antara
vipragaa stuti kori bolen gosi; lakera ki dy sahasreko kro ni
I will invite invitations only from those who have one lakh. Hearing this, the brhmaas were all
worried. The vipras said O Lord, what to speak of a lakh, we dont have even a thousand.
It is also very clear from all these quotations that no one in Mahprabhus entourage was initiated
as a brhmaa without being born one first, otherwise the above distinction would not have been
Although Mahprabhu played the pastime that a brhmaa and sannys can be enlightened by a
dra and a ghastha like Rmnanda Rya, who, in Caitanya Caritmta Madhya ll chapter 8,
took Him to the limit of Vaiava teachings as a ik guru (kib vipra kib nys dra kene noy ye
ka tattva vett sei guru hoy), Mahprabhu would not accept meals from him. First He humbly
submitted (Caitanya Caritmta Madhya 8.43):
ei jni kahin mora hdaya; odhite srvabhauma kohilen tomra milite
I know that My heart is hard, hence Srvabhauma told Me to meet you.
But then He did follow the maryd, or external protocol - Who and what is a brhmaa? A Guru?
Or a sannysi?
18 December 31, 2013
heno kle vaidika eka vaiava brhmana; daavat kori koilo prabhura nimantraa
(Caitanya Caritmta Madhya 8.45)
At that time a Vedic Vaiava brhmaa came and invited Mahprabhu. This proves that
external protocol and spiritual appreciation are two separate worlds, which should not be mixed.
r Ka proclaimed in Bhagavad-Gt (3.21-24) that He follows the rules, otherwise the worlds
would go to ruin. Indeed, even in the aakliya ll Ka followed the external protocol -
tug subhadra janan jananti vij vijpit vrajapay pariveanya;
bhojya kramt parivivea sarohik viprtmaja svadhava devara putrakebhya
(Govinda Llmta 20.45)
Subhadra's mother Tug was expert in etiquette and serving, so on mother Yaod's request and
with Rohi's help she served. First she served the brhmaas, then her husband, then her
brothers-in-law and then the boys (including Ka).
Ka was the last to get prasda. If the Supreme Lord can be that humble, should not dras and
mlecchas follow suit by simply accepting the fact that they do not belong to the upper class?
ki punar brhma puy bhakt rjarayas tath
(Bhagavad Gt 9.33)
(If the women, vaiyas and dras can attain the Supreme Destination) What to speak then of the
brhmaas, the virtuous and the saintly kings?
One may challenge here: But what about these verses then, that are quoted in the Gosvms
dra v bhagavad bhakta nida vapaca tath
vkate jti-smnyt sa yti naraka dhruvam
A votary of the Supreme Lord may be born a dra, or nida, nay, even a dog-eater, but anyone
who views such a votary according to pedigree or caste, most certainly percipitates his fall to the
infernal regions. (Hari Bhakti Vilsa 10,119 ), or:
arcye viau il-dhr guruu nara-matir vaiave jti-buddhi.yasya vai nrak sa Who and what
is a brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
19 December 31, 2013
Those who consider the deity of Viu to be a mere stone, ones superiors to be mere human
beings and the Vaiava to belong to a certain caste..are surely hellish persons. (cited in rla
Rpa Gosvms Padyaval, 114)
To that the response is: These verses are glorifications of the Vaiavas, that caution us not to
treat lower born Vaiavas with disdain or contempt and urge us to keep them in honour. As in
rla Rpa Gosvms Upademta (5)- keti yasya giri ta manasdriyeta dksti cet
praatibhih, Mentally honour anyone who says Ka, and bow down if someone has received
initiation, and the following verse -
dai svabhva janitair vapua ca doair
na prktatvam iha bhakta janasya payet
gangmbhasa na khalu budbuda phena pankair
brahma-dravatvam apagacchati nra-dharmai
Though a devotee may have bad habits or a faulty body he should not be seen (judged) in this
mundane way, just as Ganges-water is considered a divine substance though it may be covered
with bubbles and foam.
However, in practical Vaiava-life we see that distinction is being made. Mahprabhu would not
eat grains from non-brhmaa Vaiavas, including Rmnanda Rya (see pages 14-16), and
Vaiavas were mentioned with their caste-adjectives certainly that wouldnt make r Caitanya
Mahprabhu a hellish person. Examples
mirera sakh teho prabhura prva dsa
vaidya-jti, likhana-vtti, vrnas-vsa
(Caitanya Caritmta Madhya 17.92)
Candraekhara was a friend of Tapan Mira and a former servant of the Lord. He was of a
Vaidya-caste. His profession was writing and he lived in Benares.
heno kle ilo vaiava 'kadsa' nma
rjapta-jti,----ghastha, yamun-pre grma
(Caitanya Caritmta Madhya 18.82)
Just then a Vaiava arrived named Kads. He was of the rjapt-caste, a householder who
lived in a village on the other bank of the Yamun.
dra viay-jne upek n koribe
mra vacane tre avaya milibe
(Caitanya Caritmta Madhya 7.63) Who and what is a brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
20 December 31, 2013
"Please do not neglect him, thinking he belongs to a dra family engaged in material activities.
It is my request that You meet him without fail."
yh vipra nhi th 'dra-mahjana'
si' sabe bhacrye kore nimantraa
(Caitanya Caritmta Madhya 17.60)
Wherever there were no brhmaas - nonetheless, great dra saints came and extended
invitations to Balabhadra Bhacrya.
r Caitanya Mahprabhu had His Raghunthas one was Raghuntha Vaidya, one was
Raghunth Bhaa and one was Raghunth Ds - all named according to jti.
Even Nitynanda Prabhu, who is considered most liberal, had himself served by brhmaas
during the chipped rice festival in Pnihti
ra tina kuikya avaea chilo; grse-grse kari vipra saba bhakte dilo
pupa-ml vipra ni prabhu-gale dilo; candana niy prabhura sarvge lepilo
There was food remaining in the three other big pots of Lord Nitynanda, and a brhmaa
distributed it to all the devotees, giving a morsel to each. Then a brhmaa brought a flower
garland, placed the garland on Nitynanda Prabhus neck and smeared sandalwood pulp all over
His body. (Caitanya Caritmta Antya 6.95-96).
All members of r Caitanya Mahprabhus entourage followed the social protocol. r Gaddhara
Pait was once forced by Vallabha Bhaa to hear his devotional explanations (bhaa jy, tabu
poe kori baltkr, Caitanya Caritmta Antya 7.96), although no one in Pur would hear them
because they had already been rejected by Mahprabhu (prabhur upeky sab nlcaler jan;
bhaera vykhyn kichu n kore rava, 7. 91). Thus Gaddhara ended up in a dilemma (sankae
poilo pait, koroye saoy, 7.95). Nevertheless, because Vallabha Bhaa was of a high birth
Gaddhara did not forbid him to speak his rejected theories (bhijtye pait korite nre niedhan,
7.97). He followed the protocol, though he risked scorn by his fellow Mahprabhu-followers
because of it, and actually received it too (tathpi prabhur ga kore praaya roa, 7.99).
rla Raghuntha dsa Gosvm is the rgnug crya pur sang, but he too kept the protocol,
however transcendental rgnug bhakti is to the external world and even to compulsory
devotion (vidhi bhakti). Though in the second verse of his Mana ik (teachings to the mind)
he warned na dharma ndharma rutigaa nirukta kila kuru Do not engage in either
religious or irreligious activities mentioned in the Vedas and thus showed himself as being aloof
from the world, still in the opening verse, yes even in the Who and what is a brhmaa? A Guru?
Or a sannysi?
21 December 31, 2013
opening line of Mana ik he said: gurau gohe gohlayiu su-jane bh-sura gae Oh mind,
worship the Guru, Vraja-bhmi, the Vrajabss, the saints and the brhmaas.
In short, there is the internal world of bhakti and there is the external world of maryd (respect,
protocol). The 12th Canto of the Bhgavata predicts a decay of Vedic society and the 6 Gosvms
have read the Bhgavata very well and commented upon it as well. They were therefore aware of
what was going to happen later on in Kali yuga and could have created an artificial new caste
system if they had wanted to, or, as they are puppets in Mahprabhus hands, if rman
Mahprabhu had wanted to. But they did not do that and later cryas should respect that and
not speak before their turn.

Who or what is a Guru?

Q: Can a non-Hindu become a Guru in this life?
A: Non-Indian Vaiava Gurus are falling down from Vedic and Vaiava principles much more
often than their Indian counterparts do. The Vaiava scriptures show us why. Proponents of
casteless Gurus quote this verse from Caitanya Caritmta (Madhya 8,128):
kib vipra kib nys dra kene noy; yei ka tattva vett sei guru hoy
Whether someone is a brhmaa, a sannys or even a dra whoever knows the thruth about
Ka is a Guru.
However, the context in which this verse was spoken is as follows: Although Himself a brhmaa
and a sannys, Caitanya Mahprabhu considered the dra and ghastha Rmnanda Rya to be
His ik guru, since He was on the receiving end of all the enlightenment passed on by
Rmnanda Rya. In the preceding verses Caitanya Mahprabhu said about His personal rama-
myvd mi to sannys; bhakti tattva nhi jni myvde bhsi
srvabhauma sage mora mon nirmala hoilo; ka bhakti tattva koho, thre puchilo
tiho kohe mi nhi jni ka koth; sabe rmnanda jne; tiho nhi eth
tomra hi ilm tomra mahim uniy; tumi more stuti koro sannys jniy
I am a myvd sannys, hence I dont know about bhakti. I was purified in Srvabhaumas
company, so I asked him: Tell Me the truth about devotion to Ka. He (Srvabhauma,
although he was a brhmaa) said: I dont know about Ka. Rmnanda knows all, but he is
not here. So I have come here after hearing of your greatness, but you praise Me because I am a
sannys. (Caitanya Caritmta Madhya 8.124-127)
And then Mahprabhu speaks the famous verse, in this context kib vipra kib nysi dra kene
noy; yei ka tattva vett sei guru hoy - Rmnanda Rya never gave Who and what is a brhmaa?
A Guru? Or a sannysi?
22 December 31, 2013
dk to Mahprabhu. The context of this verse is a personal one, and there is no question here of
dk. The word guru in this verse means ik guru. The words yei ka tattva vett (Whoever
knows the truth about Ka) clearly show that this verse refers to the qualification of a ik
guru. After the famous kib vipra-verse Mahprabhu continues:
sannys boliy more n koro vacana; ka rdh tattva kohi pra koro man
Dont deprive Me because I am a sannys; fulfil My desire my speaking of Ka and Rdh.
Indeed, throughout the lengthy conversation between Rmnanda Rya and r Caitanya
Mahprabhu there is no mentioning of dk anywhere!
Many westerners, who are not acquainted with Vedic culture, think that this idea of brhmaa by
quality alone has always been the Vedic norm, but, in his comment on Caitanya Caritmta
Madhya 8.128, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami himself confirms that it was introduced by
Bhaktisiddhnta Saraswati:
rla Bhaktisiddhnta Sarasvat hkura therefore introduced the sacred thread ceremony for all
Vaiavas according to the rules and regulations.
In the Haribhakti Vilsa (chapter 1), rla Santana Gosvm and Gopla Bhaa Gosvm state
that the first choice of a qualified guru should be a born brhmaa vipra pradhvasta kma
(1.29) avadtnvaya uddha svocitcra tatpara (1.32) He must be from a spotless dynasty
and dedicated to proper conduct. brhmaa sarvaklaja (1.36). varottame'tha ca gurau (1.37)
These traits are not secondary requirements of a Guru. They are listed under the heading
vieata r guror lakaa Special characteristics of r Guru. rla Santana Gosvms
commentary on Haribhakti Vilsa 1.32
avadta uddha ptitydi doa rahitonvayo vao yasya sad vaa jta ityartha. uddha svayam
api ptitydi doa rahita.
The word avadta means that his family is free from the faults of being fallen. That means he
comes from a good family. The word uddha means that he himself is also not fallen.
Monier Williams Sanskrit dictionary translates patita as: fallen, dropped, descended, alighted,
fallen upon or from, fallen (morally), wicked, degraded, out-caste
In the Brahma Vaivarta Pura (Ka Janma Khaa 83.42) it is also said:
jti hnd guror mantra ghnyn na kadcana
"Never take mantra from a casteless guru." Who and what is a brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
23 December 31, 2013
If a qualified brhmaa cannot be found, a qualified katriya must be sought, and so on
tad abhvd dvija reha nttm bhagavanmaya
bhvittm ca sarvaja straja sat kriypara
siddhi traya samyukta cryatvebhiecita.
katra vi dra jtn katriyonugrahekama
katriyasypi ca guror abhvd do yadi
vaiya syt tena kryaca dvaye nityam anugraha
sajtyena drena tdena mahmate
anugrahbhiekau ca kryau drasya sarvad
In the absence of a qualified brhmaa Guru, one can take a katriya Guru, who is filled with
God consciousness, peaceful, knows all about the dk ritual, knows scripture, is conversant
with all rites, has the three siddhis (perfection in practise of mantra, worship of the Guru and the
demigods, attained through practises like puracaraa). Such a katriya-Guru can give dk to his
fellow katriyas as well as to vaiyas and dras. Similarly dras can always give dk to their
fellow dras. (Haribhakti Vilsa 1.47)
Furthermore, these verses of Haribhakti Vilsa say that one should not give pratiloma dk, viz. a
low caste Guru giving dk to a high caste disciple pratilomya na dkayet (1.52). rla
Narottama Ds hkura was an exceptional case - he gave dk to high caste persons, but at the
end he rose from the dead and his body melted like milk into the Gag. This is not something
that every non-brhmaa that gives dk to brhmaas can imitate.
There has never been a prohibition by the Vaiava cryas or the scriptures to calling
householder-cryas 'Gosvm'.
On the contrary, r Narottama hkura Mahaya sang: doy koro stpati, advaita gosi,
addressing the householder-Guru, the husband of St, Advaita Prabhu as gosi. Advaita is also
repeatedly called gosvm in Kavi Karapra's 'Caitanya Candrodaya Nakam', and in Gaura
Gaoddea Dpik (76) he writes: sa evdvaita gosvm caitanybhinna vigraha He, Advaita
Gosvm, is non-different from Lord Caitanya. To see the caste- Gosvms as different from the
Lords - Nitynanda and Advaita - that they directly descend from in family line is an offence to
Nitynanda and Advaita, for the Vedas teach us tm vai jyate putra "So father, so son", or:
"The child is the image of the father." (CC. Madhya 12.56) Lord Balarma said in rmad
Bhgavata (10.78.36): tma vai putra utpanna iti vednusanam; tasmd asya bhaved vakt O
worshipable sages, the Vedas declare that ones own self is reborn as the son, therefore let
Romaharaas son recite the Puras to you! pitu putro yena jta sa eva sa (.B. 9.20.21): The
son belongs to the father. Indeed, the son is the father.
Staying with family-succession, it is not true that one can/should not be initiated by one's parents:
Hemalat hkur, guru of Yadunandana hkura, took initiation from her father
rnivscrya, Ka Mira took initiation from his mother St-dev and Vrabhadra Who and
what is a brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
24 December 31, 2013
Prabhu took intiation from his co-mother Jhnav-dev. Vrabhadra was a son of Nitynanda
Prabhu, but according to 'Advaita Praka' he went to Advaita Prabhu for dk. Advaita Prabhu,
however, sent him back to his own family to take dk there, which confirms that it was the wish
of Nitynanda and Advaita Prabhu that these family-guru parampars would be created.
Family gurus ('caste Gosvams') are sometimes rejected by pointing at r Jva Gosvm's Bhakti
Sandarbha (210) tad etat paramrtha gurvrayo vyavahrika gurvdi paritygenpi kartavyam
"One should give up a mundane guru and take a spiritual guru", but this 'mundane guru' refers to
a marriage-priest, village elder or parent, not to a family guru, for in Haribhakti Vilsa (4.141) the
Brahma Vaivarta Pura is quoted:
upaderam mnygata pariharanti ye
tn mtn api kravyd ktaghnn nopabhujate
"Even the vultures will not eat the dead corpse of the ungrateful one who abandons the
mnygata guru."
In his commentary to this verse rla Santana Gosvm writes: mnygata kula kramyta
This mnygata guru means a guru who has come in a family succession." For example, r
Raghuntha dsa Gosvm was initiated by the family-guru Yadunandana crya, but he did not
leave him to take dk from, for example, r Rpa Gosvm. On the contrary, in Mukta Caritra
[4] he acknowledged that he had gotten everything from his family Guru Yadunandana crya -
nma reha manum api ac-putram atra svarpa
rpa tasygrajam uru pur mthur goha-bm
rdhkua girivaram aho rdhik mdhav
prpto yasya prathita kpay r guru ta nato'smi
I bow down to my blessed r Guru (Yadunandana crya), by whose grace I have received the
greatest name in existence, the holy name of Ka, the 18-syllable Gopla-mantra, r Caitanya
Mahprabhu, the son of Mother ac, Svarpa Dmodara, Rpa Gosvm, his elder brother
Santana Gosvm, the great city of Mathur, the pastures of Vraja, Rdhkua, the best of
mountains Govardhana, and the hope of attaining Rdhik and Mdhava.....
With r Guru he could not have meant anyone else but Yadunandancrya, for he lists all his
other possible gurus like Mahprabhu, Svarpa Dmodara and Rpa Gosvm as his great gifts.

Who or what is a sannys?

rla Vivantha Cakravartpda comments on the famous Bhagavad Gt verse sarva dharmn
parityajya (18.66), refuting ankarcryas explanation that giving up all dharma means that
Arjuna should have taken Sannysa: parityajya sannyasyeti na vykhyeyam Who and what is a
brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
25 December 31, 2013
arjunasya katriyatvena sannysnadhikrn Completely giving up dharma cannot mean
sannysa for Arjuna, for as a katriya he had no right to take sannysa.
This confirms the Vedic teaching that only brhmanas are eligible for sannysa, what to speak of
dras or mlecchas?
rmad Bhgavata (11.17.38) clearly says that sannysa is only for brhmaas - pravrajed v
Preaching is not a ground to give sannysa - a vow of lifelong celibacy - to young westerners. The
western audience is anyway not impressed nor does it respect saffron cloth, like Indians. They
simply know nothing about it! Indeed, all devotees who opened the temples in America and
Europe were white-clad householders!

Who or what is a spouse?

Due to air travel everyone mixes nowadays - Africans marry with Eskimos, Latinos with Chinese
and Brahmins with Russians. Spiritual oneness and equality is transported down to the physical
plane, with the slogan we are all spirit souls anyway. If we are all only spirit souls, with no subtle
cultural coverings at all, then - 1) Why marry at all, because we are not at all this body (why even
dress then?) 2) Why not marry a fly or a pig? They are also spirit souls. Despite spiritual equality
there are huge cultural and economic differences between all the peoples that become Vaiavas -
the result of genetically mixing them up is confused children who are part of neither parents
ethnicity or culture. This is called vara sakara, or a mixed race, in Bhagavad Gt (1.41-43).
Spouses from poor countries (especially Indian men) exploit their rich spouses (usually naive
gullible western girls). After they flattered them into sending them a plane ticket to the rich west
they call them prostitutes and abandon them to start businesses in the west. For material
relationships one must follow material rules. rmad Bhgavata says: (11.17.39) ghrth sad
bhrym A brahmacr who wants to marry should seek a bride like him. sad (like him) is
glossed by rdhara Swm as savara, of the same caste. A marriage CAN be spiritual, as a side
effect, but it is never the root cause of marriage. I want sex, but only with a devotee girl/boy.
But the first motive is sex, not bhakti.

About respect in general

From Caitanya Caritmta (Antya 4. 135-169) we learn that junior devotees should not instruct
senior devotees. In this narration we see that Jagadnanda Pait advised Santana Gosvm to
go to Vndvana, but when Mahprabhu heard that he was very angry, because Jagadnanda
Paita was junior to Santana not just vyavahre, materially, by being younger in age, but also
paramrthe, spiritually, because Santana Gosvm was like his Guru (Caitanya Caritmta Antya
4.159, vyavahre paramrthe tumi - tra guru tulya). Mahprabhu thus set the standard for
devotees of all time to act according to maryd, or protocol. He will be very angry when junior
devotees instruct senior ones - Who and what is a brhmaa? A Guru? Or a sannysi?
26 December 31, 2013
maryd laghana mi sahite n pri (Caitanya Caritmta Antya 4.166) "I cannot tolerate breach
of the protocol."
One should note, however, that if a devotee senior in age is inferior in spiritual advancement one
need not heed the instructions of such a senior devotee-by-age-only. After all, Mahaprabhu said
of Sanatana Gosvami:
kh tumi - prmika, stre prava; kh jag - klikra bauy navna
(Caitanya Caritmta Antya 4.167) "Where are you, expert in the scriptures and a great authority,
and where is Jagadnanda in comparison, a new student?" Santana Gosvm was not just
superior in age..
Giving a 'brhmaa-thread is meant to give respect to aspirants and flatter them into becoming
your follower. It does not change the quality of your semen into brhmaa-semen.
Without humility one cannot enter into the kingdom of God, and Vaiava leaders that
encourage their followers in thinking that they are equal to or even higher than brhmaas thus
throw up serious barriers for them. rman Mahprabhu kindly gave the keys to the kingdom of
God with this formula:
td api suncena taror iva sahiun
amnina mnadena krtanya sad hari
Lower than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree.
Expecting no honour for yourself, always giving honour to others.
In this way Hari is always to be glorified.
maryd plana, or observing the protocol, is the way to get there.

Qualification For Rgnug Bhakti

rgnug bhakti means allegiance to the eternally perfect rgtmik-devotees of Vraja. Such is the
teaching of rla Rpa Gosvm in Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu (1.2.271):
virjantm abhivyakta vrajavs jandiu
rgtmikm anust y s rgnugocyate
Before we speak of rgtmik bhakti and rgnug bhakti we must first know what is rga. Rga is
that deep natural loving thirst which causes us to become completely absorbed in our beloved
ie svrasik rga paramviat bhavet
tanmay y bhaved bhakti stra rgtmikodit
(Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu 1.2.272)
rla Jva Gosvm has defined rga and rgnuga as follows:
tatra viayia svbhviko viaya sasargecchtiayamaya prem rga yath cakurdn
saundarydau tda evtra bhaktasya r bhagavatyapi rga ityucyate.............yasya prvokte rga-
viee rucir eva jtsti na tu rga-viea eva svaya tasya tda rga-sudhkara karbhsa
samullasita hdaya sphaika-mae strdi rutsu tdy rgtmiky bhakte paripvapi
rucir jyate. tatas tadya rga rucynugacchant s rgnug tasyaiva pravartate (Bhakti
Sandarbha 310).
"Rga means the strong and natural desire of a sense-enjoyer for his beloved sense-objects. The
senses, like the eyes, are naturally attracted to their objects, such as beautiful forms, and they
need no encouragement in this. In the same way, when a devotee's heart is naturally attracted to
the Lord and he has a deep thirst for the Lord then this is called rga. When a mere ray of the
nectar-moon of such rga falls on the crystal-like hearts of those devotees who only have some
taste for a particular rga but do not possess that rga itself yet, then the heart rejoices and as a
result of hearing from the scriptures and saints taste will awaken within the heart of such a
devotee for the devotional expertise of a rgtmika bhakta. This means that ruci (taste) will
awaken within the heart when we hear about the loving devotional expertise of a rgtmika vraja-
bhakta from the scriptures or from the mouth of a saint whose heart is pure, that is, free from
lust, anger and envy. The devotion which follows the rga of a rgtmik Vraja-devotee along
with ruci is called rgnug bhakti".
Both the vidhi-devotee and the rga-devotee may therefore begin, simultaneously, with the path
of devotion, from the stage of anartha nivtti, cessation of unwanted habits, progressing through
the stages that have been described by rla Qualification for rgnug bhakti
Rpa Gosvm in his Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu 1.4.15-16 (dau raddh tath sdhu sago'tha
bhajana kriy). The difference between them lies not in personal purity, but in their mood. In
other words, rgnuga bhakti runs parallel with vaidhi bhakti, and not only sequentially. rla
Rpa Gosvm writes in Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu (1.2.291):
rgtmikaika nih ye vrajavs jandaya
te bhvptaye lubdho bhaved atrdhikravn
"Those who are anxious ('greedy') to attain the mood of the eternal, exclusively fixed-up
Rgtmika Vrajavss, are eligible to enter into Rgnug Bhakti." The rga devotee is under the
divine illusion that Ka is equal or inferior to him, following in the footsteps of the inhabitants
of Vraja (vrajaloknusrata, Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu), whose attitude of intimate, spontaneous
love, free from awe and reverence, is described in the Tenth Canto of rmad Bhgavata.
rgnug bhakti is not only for perfected souls beyond the stage of anartha nivtti
It is not a fact that rgnug bhakti comes after the stage of sdhan bhakti (devotion in practise).
First of all, what is sdhana bhakti? rla Rpa Gosvm says in Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu 1.2.2:
kti-sdhya bhavet sdhya bhv s sdhanbdhidh - That goal of bhva bhakti is to be attained
through practise with the senses (kti). This is called sdhan. Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu 1.2.5
then declares: vaidhi rgnuga ceti sa dvidha sdhanbhidh There are two kinds of sdhana
vaidhi and rgnug Nowhere it is said that rgnug bhakti is a post graduate state of vaidhi
bhakti. C.C. Madhya 22,108 confirms this
ei sdhana bhakti dui to prakra; eka vaidhi bhaktirgnug bhakti ra:
"There are two kinds of devotion in practise. One is called vaidhi bhakti and the other rgnug
bhakti." Different cryas that follow Bhaktisiddhnta Sarasvat claim that rgnug bhakti
commences at the stage of niha, ruci or even bhva, but there is not a word of evidence for that
in the authorised scriptures on the topic, like Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu or its commentaries, Bhakti
Sandarbha, Mdhurya Kdambin or Rga Vartma Candrik. Caitanya Caritmta (di 4, 231-
232, 235-237) declares:
e sob siddhnta gh kohite n juwy; n kohile keho anta nhi py
ataeva kohi kichu koriy nigh; bujhibe rasik bhakta n bujhibe mh

abhakta urera ithe n hoy pravesh; tabe cite hoy mora nanda viesh
ye lgi kohite bhoy, se yadi n jne; ih boi kib such che tribhuvane
ataeva bhaktagane kore namaskra; nihanke kohiye tr hauk camatkra
All these topics are confidential and shouldnt be discussed, but if they were not discussed then
no one would be able to find out about them. Hence I will disclose some confidential matters
now, which will be understood by rasika devotees, but not Qualification for rgnug bhakti
by the fools..If the camel-like non-devotees cannot grasp such topics then I will be in ecstasy.
What greater joy could there be in the three worlds if they, for whom I fear to speak out, will not
know of this? Therefore I offer my respects to the devotees and speak out fearlessly. Let the
devotees be astonished about what I am about to disclose! rmad Bhgavata (10.33.36) declares:
anugrahya bhtn mnu deham sthita;
bhajate tdi kr y rutv tat-paro bhavet
r Ka performed the Rsa-ll out of compassion for all conditioned souls and anyone who
hears of this becomes His devotee.
r Jva Gosvm comments in his Vaiava Toa-comment on this verse:
ataeva tda bhakta prasagena td sarva cittkari kr bhajate, y sdhranair api
rutv bhaktebhyo'nyo'pi janas tatparo bhavet. kim uta rsa ll rpam im rutvetyartha
vakyate cavikrita vrajavadhbhir ida ca vio (S.B. 10.33.39) itydi. yad v mnua
deham rita sarvo'pi jvas tatparo bhavet martyaloke r bhagavad avatrt tath bhajane
mukhyatvcca manuynm eva sukhena tac chravadi siddhe.
"Ka performs this all-attractive pastime for His devotees, but even ordinary people are
attracted to this game by hearing about it. Even they thus become exclusively devoted to the
Lord. This will be further explained in verse 10.33.39. The words mnua deham rita also
indicate that the jvas that attained a human form are able to hear of this pastime and thus
become devotees. The Lord descends on the human planets and it is here that the worship of the
Lord assumes its most important form. Hence human beings can blissfully attain perfection by
hearing of this pastime." rmad Bhgavata 10.33.39 declares that the senses do not become
sexually agitated by hearing or reading of the Rsa-ll, but rather that they become freed from
vikrita vraja-vadhbhir idam ca vio
raddhnvita nu'uyed atha varayed ya
bhakti para bhagavati pratilabhya kma
hd rogam v apahinoty acirena dhra
"Anyone who faithfully hears and describes the pastimes of Lord Viu (Ka) with the ladies of
Vraja (the gops) will attain supreme devotion to God and will soon become free from the heart's
disease of lust."
r Jva Gosvm comments as follows on this verse:
raddhay vivsennvita iti. tad vipartvaja rppardha......bhakti prema laka par
r gopik premnusritvt sarvottama jtym. pratikaa ntanatvena labdh hd roga rpa
kmam iti bhagavad viaya kma vieo vyavacchinna tasya parama prema rpatvena tad
vaipartyt......anyatra ruyate (r gt 18.54) brahma bhta prasanntm na ocati na kkati
sama sarveu bhteu mad bhakti labhate para. ityatra tu hd rogpahnt prvam eva
parama bhakti prpti tasmt parama balavad eveda sdhanam iti bhva Qualification for
rgnug bhakti
"raddhnvit means hearing with faith. This word is used to avoid the offence of disbelieving or
disregarding the scriptures that is contrary to the principles of hearing and chanting......The
highest devotion is that of the gops and hearing and chanting of their devotion is so powerful
that this supreme devotion appears in the heart even before the heart's disease of lust is chased
out of it......This despite verse 18.54 of the Gt, that shows an opposite sequence. This shows
that hearing and chanting of the Rsa-ll is the most powerful sdhana in existence."
r Vivantha Cakravart, in his commentary on the same verse, condemns those who do not
believe this statement of the Bhgavata, that prema comes before the cessation of lust, as nstikas,
or atheists, and mrkhas, or fools dhra paita iti hd roge satyapi katha prem bhaved
ityanstikya lakaena mrkhatvena rahita...The word ya is very significant. It means anyone
who hears and describes this with faith. First the lamp (of pure love) is kindled, and then the
darkness (of lust and ignorance) is destroyed. rgnug bhakti, devotion following one's sacred
passion, is therefore not necessarily only meant for the most advanced, purified souls. The
distinction between practitioners of vidhi bhakti (compulsory devotion) and rga bhakti
(passionate devotion) is made because of their mood and attitude, not because of their possible
different levels of purity. r Caitanya Mahprabhu pointed out to Vyenkata Bhaa (in Caitanya
Caritmta Madhya 9) that the goddess of fortune performed many purifying austerities to attain
the position of the gops, but that she could still not attain it because she lacked their sweet
intimate attitude towards Him.
ei lgi sukha bhoga chi ciro-kla;
vrata niyam kori tapa korilo apra
"Just to associate with Ka, Lakm gave up all sense enjoyment for long and performed severe
austerities, following many regulative principles" (C.C. Madhya 9, 113) rsa na pilo lakm,
stre iha uni "Lakm did not attain the Rsa dance, I have heard from the revealed
scriptures" (C.C. Madhya 9, 120)
vrajendra nandana boli' tre jne vrajajana;
aivarya jne nhi kon sambandha manana
vraja-lokera bhve yei koroye bhajan;
sei jana pya vraje vrajendra nandana
"The people of Vraja know Him as the son of Vrajendra, and they consider that there can be no
relationship with Him in awe and reverence. Those who worship Ka in the mood of the people
of Vraja, will attain that Vrajendra-nandana in Vraja." (C.C Madhya 9,130-131)
rla Vivantha Cakravartpda writes in chapter 1 of Mdhurya Kdambini:
bhaktes tu 'vikrita vrajavadhbhi' itydau bhakti par bhagavati pratilabhya kma
hd rogam vapahinotyacirena dhra (bhg. 10.33.39) ityatra 'ktv' pratyayena hd
rogavatyevdhikrii paramy api tasy prathamam eva praveas tatas tayaiva parama
svatantray kmdnm apagama ca. te kadcit Qualification for rgnug bhakti
sattve'pi 'api cet sudurcro bhajate mam' iti 'bdhyamno'pi mad bhakta' itydibhi ca tadvat
na kvpi streu nind leo'pi.
Although lust is also considered a fault on the path of bhakti, one can still enter the devotional
path, despite being still afflicted by lust and other material desires. rmad-Bhgavata (10.33.39)
A person who faithfully hears or describes the Lords pastimes of rsa-ll with the gops of Vraja
attains supreme devotion of the Lord. He quickly becomes steady and conquers over the senses,
giving up lust, the disease of the heart.
In this text after attaining supreme devotion is an unfinished act, showing that bhakti can be
attained even though one has lusty desires. This shows the most independent nature and power
of bhakti to destroy lusty desires. Sometimes lusty desires exist even while practicing devotion.
From verses like, If the most sinful person worships Me exclusively... (Gt 9.30) and Though
my devotee is afflicted by lusty desires... (.B. 11.14.18) it is clear that though lusty desires may
exist in a devotee, still he is not condemned even slightly.
There is no guarantee that someone who practises vaidhi bhakti is automatically promoted to
rgnug bhakti, rather rla Rpa Gosvm says in Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu (1.2.309): ka tad
bhakta krunya mtra lbhaika hetuk "Only by the grace of Ka and His devotees this path of
rgnug bhakti is attained." rla Rpa Gosvm says in Padyval:
ka bhakti rasa bhvit mati kryat yadi kuto'pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mlyam ekala janma koi suktair na labhyate
"No ten million lifetimes of following regulative principles will give you taste for Ka-bhakti.
The only price is greed! Purchase it as soon as it is available anywhere!" It is on sale where the
rasika bhaktas speak about Rdh-Ka. In connection with the above loka, to use the saying
"Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread" is an offence to r Rpa Gosvm's followers, calling
them fools. This 'fools rush in' is a mundane saying which applies to mundane impulsive people
and their actions. rla Vivantha Cakravartpda teaches in Rga Vartma Candrik (1.5): npi
lobhanya vastu prptau svasya yogyyogyatva vicra ko'py udbhavati: "No candidate ever
considers whether he is qualified for this path of rgnug bhakti or not". 1
1 HAVING SAID ALL THIS, My Guru Sdhu Bb, Kads Madrasi Bb, Rohindranth Mitra and
Madanmohan Ds Bbj, all great souls, told me, independently from each other, it is better not to
read rasa stra when one is too lusty. I understood that is because when one is an emotionally and
physically active lover one will identify with the ll of Rdh-Ka and that is an offence called
ahagropsana, meditating on oneself as the deity. rla Jva Gosvm says in Bhakti Sandarbha (276)
that smaraa (even just of the holy name, let alone Rdh-Kas intimate ll) requires a pure heart
nma smaraam tu uddhnta-karaatm apekate. r Jva Gosvm has also written (Bhakti
Sandarbha 275): atha arapattydibhi uddhnta karaa cet....nma sakrtanparitygena
smarana kuryat "When the mind is purified by the process of surrender, one should practise the
devotional item of recollection without giving up nma sankrtana." kintu rahasya-ll tu paurua-
vikravad indriyainopsy But the intimate pastimes should not be meditated upon by (those
Qualification for rgnug bhakti

whose) senses are affected by masculine transformations. (Bhakti Sandarbha 338) When one is less
heated one can read these books, and the topic will work as a medicine, as has been promised by the
Bhgavata in the final verse of the Rsa ll-narration (10.33.39). There are subtle desires, called
vsan, cherished by people who actually control their outer senses. That can be there, OK, and one
can still read rasa stra, but to be grossly active in sex and read rasa stra, is not something approved
by the mahtms I knew. rla Jva Gosvm said in Gopla Camp (prva 23.1): tad etad govinda
vraja vijana kntnuvacana dadhadbhir yogyasya ravasi parampya na sadasi 'This confidential
Rsa-ll topic is to be heard by qualified people who carry Govinda in their hearts, not in a public
So who IS then unqualified to hear it?
This is also explained by rla Jva Gosvm in his commentary on Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu
(3.5.2), which deals with madhura rasa: (nivttnupayogitvd durhatvd aya rasa) - nivtteu
prkta gra rasa smya dy r bhgavatd apyasmd viraktevanupayogitvd ayogyatvt
Because of lack of qualification of those who are without taste for this rasa related to the Lord,
caused by their equating it with material love.
In other words, mistaking this rasa to be an ordinary mundane affair disqualifies one from
entering into rgnug bhajana.
One cannot learn vidhi bhakti from the guru and then just learn rgnug bhakti from books,
because your guru did not teach you rgnug bhakti. rla Raghuntha dsa Gosvm says:
asambhya tad bhva gambhra cittn kuto yma sindho rasasyvagha "How can one enter
into the yma-ocean without having conversed with a devotee whose heart is steeped in love for
Rdh?" r Vivantha Cakravart writes in his Rga Vartma Candrik (1.6).
sa ca bhagavat kp hetuko'nurg bhakta kp hetukaceti dvividha. tatra bhakta kp hetuko
dvividha prktana dhunikaca. prktana paurvabhavika tda bhakta kpottha dhunika
etajjanmvadhi tda bhakta kpottha. dye sati lobhnantara tda guru cararayaam.
dvitye guru cararaynantara lobha pravttir bhavati.
"There are two causes for the appearance of sacred greed: The mercy of God or the mercy of an
anurg devotee. There are again two kinds of mercy bestowed by a devotee: prktana and
dhunika. prktana means mercy bestowed by a rgnug bhakta in a previous life, and dhunika
is mercy bestowed in the present birth. The prktana-devotee takes shelter of the lotus feet of a
rgnug guru after the sacred greed has arisen in him, the dhunika will get that sacred greed
after surrendering to the feet of such a guru."
rla Rpa Gosvm gives the following definition of pure devotion in Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu
kleaghni ubhad moka laghutkt sudurllabh
sndrnanda vietm r kkari ca s Qualification for rgnug bhakti
1. It destroys all grief and suffering, meaning sins, including the cause of sin, 2. it bestows
auspiciousness, 3. it lightens the importance of liberation, 4. it is rare 5. it is deeply blissful and 6.
it attracts r Ka.
In his commentary, r Vivantha Cakravart spells out: tatra sdhana bhakti kleaghti ubhad
rp ca The symptoms of sdhana bhakti are the first two items destroying grief, or sin, and
bestowing auspiciousness.
The same Vivantha Cakravart writes in his Mdhurya Kdambini (2.2):
.sva-sparea sparamair iva karaa vttr api prktatva-lohat anais-tyjayitv cinmayatva
uddha jmbunadat prpayanty kandalbhvnte samudgacchanty sdhanbhikhye dve
patrike vivriyete. tayo pratham kleaghn dvity ubdhadeti. dvayor api tayor antas tu lobha
pravartakatva lakaa-caikkanyena 'yem aha priya tm suta ca.' itydi uddha sambandha
snigdhatay ca prptotkare dee rga nmno rja evdhikra. bahis tu 'tasmd bhrata
sarvtm' itydi stra pravartakatva lakaa-pruybhsena priydi uddha sambandhbhvt
svata evti snigdhatnudayena prvata kicid apake dee vaidha nmno parasya rja.
kleaghnatva-ubhadatvbhyntu pryauyora kopi viea.
Like a touchstone, this creeper of bhakti eventually transforms the iron-like material nature of
the senses into the most pure transcendental gold. Gradually the sdhana-bhakti creeper sprouts
and unfolds two leaves. The first is called kleaghni, destroyer of material sufferings, and the
second is called ubhad, giver of all auspiciousness. The inner surface of the two leaves is the
domain of the king called rga (divine passionate devotion), and is very smooth, the sign of its
being born out of spontaneous greed. It is superior due to its appearance from the pure
affectionate relation with the Lord as described in the Bhgavata (3.25.38), I am their dear one,
very life, son,... The outer surface of the leaves is ruled by another king known as vaidha
(regulative devotion) and slightly rough in nature, the sign of its being born from the injunctions
of the scriptures. It is somewhat inferior and slightly rough due to the lack of pure affectionate
relation with the Lord. rmad-Bhgavata (2.1.5) says, Therefore, persons desiring fearlessness
should worship the Lord, the Supersoul. However, both rga and vaidh, almost equally manifest
the symptoms of kleaghni and ubhad.
Here it is again proven that rgnug bhakti is, like vaidhi bhakti, a sdhana that starts from the
beginning of bhakti-practise. rga is the inner leaf and vaidhi the outer.
rla Vivantha Cakravarts commentary on Bhakti Rasamta Sindhu 1.2.292-
tat-tad-bhvdi-mdhurye r-bhgavatdi-prasiddhvatra-ll-varanamaya-stra-smnye rute
ravaa-dvr yat kicid anubhte sati yacchstra vidhi-vkya npekate | yukti ca na kintu
pravartata evety artha | tad eva lobhotpatter lakaam anumpaka tda-hetu-jnd eva
lobhotpattir anumyate ity artha | na tv atra lakaa lobhotpatte svarpam iti vyhytu
akya stra-yuktpekbhvasya svarpatvbhvt
rla Jva Gosvms k of Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu 1.2.292 - Qualification for rgnug bhakti
tat-tad-bhvdi-mdhurye r-bhgavatdiu siddha-nirdea-streu rute ravaa-dvr yat
kicid anubhte sati yacchstra vidhi-vkya npekate | yukti ca kintu pravartata evety
artha | tad eva lobhotpatter lakaam iti
The meaning of both the above texts is identical - "When one has got even a slight (yat kincit)
feeling for the sweet moods of Ka and His devotees through hearing their descriptions in texts
describing the ultimate spiritual goal, such as the Bhgavata, [the rgnug sadhaka] no longer
waits for the injunctions of scripture or for logical reasons to do so, but simply takes up [the
rgnug devotional path]. This is the characteristic of lobha."
The words yat kincit prove that initial lobha is not an all-consuming fire.

In his book r Guru Parampar - Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Heir to the Esoteric Life of
Kedaranatha Bhaktivinoda, Tripurri Swmi says that "in Bhakti-sra-pradarin (his
commentary on Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu, ed.), Vivantha tells us that in order to practice
rgnug bhakti one must have attained the stage of nih."
rgtmikaika nith ye vrajavs jandaya
te bhvptaye lubdho bhaved atrdhikravn (B.R.S. 1.2.291)
is the verse referred to here. The words eka niha (exclusively fixed, loyal) have been
mistranslated to refer to the adhikaravn, the jva-candidate, and have confused it for the high
stage of bhakti called nih, but it refers instead to the nitya siddha rolemodel, the Vrajavss,
and means 'exclusive fixation' and not the stage of nih that sdhakas must go through. This is
what Vivantha Cakravartpda writes in his Bhakti Sra Pradarini-commentary on this verse -
rgtmika bhaktau eka nih ye te vrajavsinam r ke yo bhvs tat sjtiya
bhvptaye lubdha ityartha. The word-for-word translation of this commentary runs as follows:
rgtmik bhaktau = in rgtmik bhakti (of the nitya siddha vrajavss, described in verse 270)
eka nih = exclusively fixed. ye = of them, te = of exactly these same ones.
vrajavsin= of the Vrajavss. r ke = towards r Ka. ya = whatever. bhva = feelings.
tat = that. sjtiya = like-minded. bhva = feeling. ptaye = for the sake of attaining. lubdha =
greedy. iti = thus. artha = the meaning.
Here is that definition of the rgtmik bhakti of the nitya siddha Vrajavss
virjantm abhivyakta vrajavsi-jandiu |
rgtmikm anust y s rgnugocyate || (B.R.S. 1.2.270)
The devotion which is clearly present in the associates of the Lord in Vraja is called devotion
filled with loving attachment (rgtmika-bhakti), and devotion following in the wake of this
rgtmik-bhakti is called rgnug-bhakti. Qualification for rgnug bhakti
As one desires to approach the Lord, so the Lord will approach the aspirant ye yath m
prapadyante ts tathaiva bhajmyaha (B. Gt 4.11) Reflecting on these famous words of the
Bhagavad Gita, one can easily understand that varieties of goals are attained in accordance with
one's desires. It is not that all paths lead to the same goal.
vaidh-rgnug-mrga-bhedena parikrtita
dvividha khalu bhvotra sdhanbhiniveaja (BRS 1.3.7)
The paths of vaidhi and rgnug are known to be separate from each other. Engagement in
these two forms of practice certainly awakens two distinct varieties of bhva. This automatically
shows that rgnug bhakti is not per se a post graduate phase of vaidhi bhakti. The goals of these
two paths of devotion in practice are understood as follows:
vidhi-bhaktye prada-dehe vaikuhete yy (C.C. 2.24.87)
Through vidhi-bhakti, one will attain the form of an associate in Vaikuha.
aivarya-jne vidhi-bhajana koriy
vaikuhake yya catur-vidha mukti py (C.C. 1.3.17)
Those who worship according to scriptural commandments, being aware of the Lord's
superhuman prowess, attain the four kinds of liberation in Vaikuntha.
rga-bhaktye vraje svaya-bhagavne py (C.C. 2.24.85)
Through rga-bhakti, one will attain the Lord Himself in Vraja.
rgnuga-mrge tre bhaje yei jana
sei-jana pya vraje vrajendra-nandana (CC 2.8.221)
He who worships on the path of rgnug will attain Vrajendra-nandana (Sri Ka) in Vraja.
In the realm of Vraja, the sweet and intimate human-like pastimes of Ka prevail. Only in such
an atmosphere love can attain its pinnacle. Love which is filled with awareness of the Lord's
almight is of an inferior quality. As stated by the Lord Himself:
sakala jagate more kore vidhi-bhakti
vidhi-bhaktye vraja-bhva pite nhi akti
aivarya-jnete saba jagat mirita
aivarya-ithila-preme nhi mora prta (C.C. 1.3.15-16)
Everyone in this world worships Me through vidhi-bhakti. Vidhi-bhakti has Qualification for
rgnug bhakti
no power for attaining the feelings of Vraja. The devotion of the world is mixed with knowledge
of My divine prowess.I do not delight in love diluted with prowess.
It is thus evident that there is a need to deeply reflect on the nature and practice of rgnug-
bhakti for anyone who desires to perfect his loving faculty in relationship with God. There is no
other means for tasting the ambrosial sweetness of the Vraja-pastimes of the Lord!

The siddha deha does not just come falling out of the sky, but must be formed gradually, from the
point where one is pure enough to start meditating, by mental practise. In his translations of
Caitanya Caritmta (Madhya 8,229; Madhya 22, 155-158) A.C. Bhaktivednta Svm repeatedly
suggests that to meditate on the siddha deha one needs to be self-realised, while such a word
cannot be found in the original verses. rla Narottama dsa hkura explains that meditation on
the siddha deha is a sdhana:
sdhane bhvibe yh, siddha dehe pbe th
rga mrge ei sei upya
"Whatever you think of during your sdhana, you will attain in your siddhi-body. Those are the
ways of rga mrga.(Prema Bhakti Candrik 57)"
sdhane ye dhana ci, siddha dehe th pi,
pakkpakka mtra se vicra
"The treasure I covet during my sdhan I will receive in my siddha body. The only difference
between the two is being ripe and unripe. (Prema Bhakti Candrik 56)"
This means that the difference between the struggling practitioner and the siddha is only in
quantity and not in quality. That the siddha deha does not come from out of the blue, but must
be formed through constant meditation is also confirmed in Bhagavad Gta 8,6
ya ya vpi smaran bhvan tyajantyante kalevaram
ta tam evaiti kaunteya sad tad bhva bhvita
"Whatever one contemplates throughout life is what one attains when one leaves the body."
ka peasktruddha kuyy tam anusmaran
sarambha bhaya yogena vindate tat svarpatm Qualification for rgnug bhakti
"The caterpillar imprisoned by a wasp in (its nest on) a wall, and constantly thinking of the latter
through intense hate and fear, attains the form of the wasp." [rmad Bhgavata 7.1.27] Bhakti
Rasmta Sindhu 1.2.295
sev sdhaka rpea siddha rpea ctra hi;
tad bhva lipsun kry vraja loknusrata
"A person who desires loving attraction to His beloved deity r Ka in Vraja must serve in
allegiance to the people of Vraja, both in the current practitioner's body as well as in the spiritual,
mentally conceived body, which is fit for serving the beloved deity." Commentary by r
Vivantha Cakravart: tathca siddha-rpea mnas sev r rdh-lalit-vikh r rpa
manjarydnm anusrea kartavy. sdhaka rpea tu kyikydi sev tu r rpa santandi
vrajavsi jannm anusrea kartavyetyartha - "Mental service must be rendered in the spiritual
body in allegiance to r Rdh, Lalit and Rpa Majar and service in the current physical body
must be rendered in allegiance to Vraja-people like r Rpa and Santana."
The Bengali translation of the above loka in 'Caitanya Caritmta' (Madhya 22,154-155) is:
bhya antara ihra dui to sdhana;
bhya sdhaka dehe kore ravaa krtana
mane nija siddha deha koriy bhvana;
rtri dine kore vraje kera sevana
"There are two kinds of devotion in practise external and internal. In the external
practitioner's body devotional practices of hearing and chanting Ka's glories are performed,
and internally, in the mentally conceived spiritual body, one renders mental service to Ka in
Vraja day and night."
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swamis translation is as follows:
bhyaexternally; antarainternally; ihraof this spontaneous love of Godhead; duitwo;
taindeed; sdhanasuch processes of execution; bhyeexternally; sdhaka-dehewith the
body of an advanced devotee; karedoes; ravaa-krtanahearing and chanting; manethe
mind; nijaown; siddha-dehaeternal body or self-realized position; kariy bhvanathinking
of; rtri-dinenight and day; kareexecutes; vrajein Vndvana; keraof Lord Ka;
There are two processes by which one may execute this rgnug bhaktiexternal and internal.
When self-realized, the advanced devotee externally remains like a neophyte and executes all the
stric injunctions, especially those concerning hearing and chanting. But within his mind, in his
original, purified, self-realized position, he serves Ka in Vndvana in his particular way. He
serves Ka twenty-four hours a day, all day and night. Qualification for rgnug bhakti
Though one indeed needs to be fairly advanced to meditate on ones siddha deha, as Jva Gosvm
has said in Bhakti Sandarbha smarana tu uddhntakaraatm apekate Smaranam requires
a pure heart, the term self realised is a bit too extreme for a description of sdhana (this verse
appears in the sdhana bhakti chapter of Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu).
Discrepancies between A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swamis Nectar of Devotion and the teachings of the
foundational cryas:
Persons desiring to follow in the footsteps of such eternal devotees of the Lord as the Vrsnis and
Vrndvana denizens are called rgnug devotees, which means that they are trying to attain to
the perfection of those devotees. These rgnug devotees do not follow the regulative principles
of devotional service very strictly,
However, rla Rpa Goswm teaches in Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu (1.2.296)
ravaotkrtandni vaidhi bhaktyuditni tu
ynyagni ca tnyatra vijeyni manibhi
The discriminating practitioners should accept the items which were mentioned in vaidhi-bhakti
such as hearing and chanting as the items of rgnug-bhakti.
Commentary by Vivantha Cakravartpda:
ravaotkrtandni | guru-pdrayadni tvkepa-labdhni | tni vin vraja-loknugatydika
kim api na siddhyed ity artha | manibhir iti manay vimyaiva svya-bhva-samucitny eva
tni kryi | na tu tad-viruddhni | tni crcana-bhaktv ahagrahopsana-mudr-nysa-
dvrak-dhyna-rukmiy-di-pjanni gama-stra-vihitny api naiva kryi
Along with hearing and chanting, items such as surrendering to the lotus feet of guru should be
understood as favorable. Without those favorable items how can one accomplish following after
the eternal inhabitants of Vraja? After considering with intelligence, one should select activities
conducive to ones own sentiments for Ka, and not those activities which are contrary to ones
sentiments. Though prescribed in the scriptures, activities of deity worship such as worshipping
Rukmi, meditation of Dvrak, performing mudrs and nysas, or identifying oneself with the
Lord and worshipping oneself, should be rejected.
No crya mentions any other rules of vaidhi-bhakti which can be scrapped by a rgnug
QUOTE Nectar of Devotion ch.16 - Eligibility for Spontaneous Devotional Service: Qualification
for rgnug bhakti
We must always remember, however, that such eagerness to follow in the footsteps of the
denizens of Vraja is not possible unless one is freed from material contamination. In following the
regulative principles of devotional service, there is a stage called anartha-nivrtti, which means the
disappearance of all material contamination. Sometimes someone is found imitating such
devotional love, but factually he is not freed from anarthas or unwanted habits......... When one is
actually spontaneously attracted to the loving principles of the gopis, there will be found no trace
of any mundane contamination in him.
Response: In his Raga-vartma-candrika (1.8) however, Visvanatha Cakravarti explains that lobha
is not a black-and-white matter, that it is either absolute and complete, or there is none. Lobha is
not necessarily a burning, all-consuming passion:
sa ca lobho rga vartma vartin bhaktn guru-padraya lakaam rabhya svbha vastu
skt prpti samayam abhivypya yath yathtma parimjyatesau mat puya gth
ravabhidhnai tath tath payati vastu skma cakur yathaivjana samprayuktam iti
bhagavad ukter bhakti hetuknta karaa uddhi tratamyt prati dinam adhikdhiko bhavati.
It is described that the devotees on the rga-path gradually progress from the initial surrender to
the feet of Sri Guru up to the stage of directly attaining the object of their desires. When the eye
is smeared with medicinal ointment, its ability of perception becomes more and more refined,
and accordingly it is able to perceive more and more subtle objects; similarly, according to the
degree of the minds having become purified by hearing and chanting of My purifying pastimes,
all the subtle truths of reality become manifest in the heart of the sdhaka. From these words of
the Lord (S.B. 11.14.26) it is known that through sdhana-bhakti the consciousness of the
sdhaka becomes more purified every day, and he gradually becomes more and more greedy.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami: "In the stage of devotional service where regulative principles are
followed, there is no necessity of discussing this love, for it must develop of itself at a more
advanced stage."
Response: This is not corroborrated by Rpa Gosvm.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami: We must always remember, however, that such eagerness to follow
in the footsteps of the denizens of Vraja (Vndvana) is not possible unless one is freed from
material contamination. In following the regulative principles of devotional service, there is a
stage called anartha-nivtti, which means the disappearance of all material contamination.
Sometimes someone is found imitating such devotional love, but factually he is not freed from
anarthas, or unwanted habits. It has been seen that a so-called devotee proclaims himself a
follower of Nanda, Yaod or the gops, while at the same time his abominable attraction for
mundane sex life is visible. Such a manifestation of divine love is mere imitation and has no
value. When one is actually spontaneously attracted to the loving principles of the gops, there
will be found no trace of any mundane contamination in his character. Qualification for rgnug
Therefore, in the beginning, everyone should strictly follow the regulative principles of
devotional service, according to the injunctions of the scriptures and the spiritual master. Only
after the stage of liberation from material contamination can one actually aspire to follow in the
footsteps of the devotees in Vndvana.
Response: Rpa Gosvm teaches: vaidhi rgnug ceti sa dvidha sdhanbhidha (Bhakti
Rasmta Sindhu 1.2.5) - there are two kinds of sdhana (after first explaining that sdhana
bhakti means practise with the senses, by souls that are still conditioned) vaidhi and rgnug,
and nowhere it is said that rgnug bhakti is a post graduate state of vaidhi bhakti. r
Vivanatha Cakravarti states in his Rga Vartma Candrik (2.7) -
atha rgnug-bhakti - majjanasynartha-nivtti-nih-rucy-sakty-antaram prema-
bhmikrhasya skt svbha-prpti-prakara pradaryate
Then it will be described how the one, who has progressed on the path of rgnug-bhakti
through the cessation of the evils (anartha-nivtti), firmness (niha), taste (ruci), and attachment
(sakti) all the way to the attainment of ecstatic love (prema), will directly come to attain his
desired object.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami: In this connection, we should be careful about the so-called siddha-
prali. The siddha-prali process is followed by a class of men who are not very authorized and
who have manufactured their own way of devotional service.
Response: That will include Bhaktivinoda Thakur, whom A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami himself has
made world-famous as an crya? Bhaktivinoda preaches siddha-pral in his books Hari-nma
cintmai, Bhajan Rahasya and Jaiva-dharma.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami: They imagine that they have become associates of the Lord simply by
thinking of themselves like that.
Response: Yet, this is what the cryas say:
rla Jva Gosvm in Bhakti Sandarbha (286)
tatra bhta-uddhir nijbhilaita bhagavat sevaupayogika tat prada deha bhvan
"Bhta uddhi means that one meditates on one's own desired siddha deha which is fit for serving
the Lord".
Kads Kavirja in Caitanya Caritmta - mone nija siddha deha koriy bhvan, 'Think of your
own desired siddha deha as a sdhana (ei sdhana bhakti dui to prakra, Madhya 22.155-6)
Rpa Gosvm in that very same Nectar of Devotion siddha rpena ctra hi - Serve in the
siddha deha also, Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu 1.2.295,
plus this verses ks by Jva Gosvm and Vivantha Cakravart siddha-rpea anta
cintitbha tat sevopayogi dehena With the siddha deha means serving in a mentally
conceived body which is fit for service. Qualification for rgnug bhakti
Narottama ds Thkur sdhane bhvibe yh, siddha deha pbe th (Premabhakti Candrik)
Whatever siddha deha one thinks of during ones sdhana is what one attains in siddha stage.
Kads Kavirjas Sraga Rangad k of Ka Karmta (3):
rgnug mrge anutpanna rati sdhaka bhaktair api svepsita siddha deha manasi parikalpya -
'On the rgnug-path even a sdhaka bhakta who has no rati yet can think of his own desired
siddha deha."
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami: This external behavior is not at all according to the regulative
principles. The so-called siddha-prali process is followed by the prkta-sahajiya, a pseudo sect
of so-called Vaiavas. In the opinion of Rpa Gosvm, such activities are simply disturbances to
the standard way of devotional service.
1] Where does Rupa Gosvami say this in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu?
2] Bhaktivinoda Thkur, who elaborately preached siddha pral, is a pseudo Vaiava called
prkrita sahajiya? Why some then call him the 7th Gosvm?
In his writings, Swmj persistently presents a vaidhi bhakta as a neophyte and a rga bhakta as
an advanced devotee. He explains the two-fold division of sdhana into vaidhi and rgnug as
follows (Nectar of Devotion, chapter 2):
Now this sadhana-bhakti, or practice of devotional service, may also be divided into two parts.
The first part is called service according to regulative principles: one has to follow these different
regulative principles by the order of the spiritual master or on the strength of authoritative
scriptures, and there can be no question of refusal. That is called vaidhi, or regulated. One has to
do it without argument. Another part of sadhana-bhakti is called raganuga. Raganuga refers to the
point at which, by following the regulative principles, one becomes a little more attached to
Krsna and executes devotional service out of natural love. For example, a person engaged in
devotional service may be ordered to rise early in the morning and offer arati, which is a form of
Deity worship. In the beginning, by the order of his spiritual master, one rises early in the
morning and offers arati, but then he develops real attachment. When he gets this attachment, he
automatically tries to decorate the Deity and prepare different kinds of dresses and thinks of
different plans to execute his devotional service nicely. Although it is within the category of
practice, this offering of loving service is spontaneous.
Response: Following such reasoning, the siddha-associates of Lord Viu in Vaikuntha, who are
vaidhi bhaktas, would have to be woken up for mangalrati? This argument shows that rga
bhakti is not to be translated or presented as 'spontaneous devotion' because the siddha vaidhi
bhaktas in Vaikuha surely need not be prodded into their service. Qualification for rgnug
Swmj comments on rmad Bhgavatam 3.5.4:
...The bhakti process, as performed under the regulative principles of vaidhi-bhakti, or
devotional service following the prescribed rules and regulations, is defined by the revealed
scriptures and confirmed by great acaryas. This practice can help the neophyte devotee to rise to
the stage of raga-bhakti, in which the Lord responds from within as the caitya-guru, or the
spiritual master as Superconsciousness.
Response: Here again Swmiji suggests that rga bhakti is some kind of post-graduate stage of
vaidhi bhakti. That would mean that accomplished vaidhi bhaktas like Prahlda, Bhma and
Nrada did not have communion with the caitya guru or Supersoul?
Concluding: Both the vaidhi-sdhaka and the rgnug-sdhaka pass through the various stages
delineated in the dau raddhah-verses on their respective paths. Vaidhi-sdhana and rgnug-
sdhana are not two subsequent stages of one path, but two different paths leading to separate
Further discussions on rgnug bhakti:
Bhakta: "Some say that it is more humble to become a servant of Mother Yaod at a respectful
distance than to be right up front as a manjari with Rdh-Ka."
Advaitadas: 'No one can reach the spiritual sky without being totally humble. If there is any pride
left you can simply not enter into that realm, be it as a manjar, servant of Mother Yaod,
associate of Lord Nryaa or what have you. This suggestion is a purely artificial, mental
construction which is not at all based on rasa vicra, lobha (devotional greed) or on any crya's
teaching. Manjar bhva is superior in flavour or quality but not in quantity. In quality there are 4
kinds of flavours - dsya, sakhya, vtsalya and mdhurya, in quantity there is but one - full
surrender. Majar bhva is based on sheer attraction and not on ambition or pride. Manjars are
neither more proud nor more humble than mother Yaod's servants. That is not the point of
manjar bhva. The siddhnta of 'the more surrender, the higher the rasa" is a myth.
Bhakta: "What about Vaikuha as a stopover to Goloka? Can one get further promotion to
Goloka after first attaining Vaikuha?"
Advaitadas: "Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu and Caitanya Caritmta speak of two parallel paths, that
have different symptoms of progress (bhva, prema) and different final destinations - vaidhi
bhakti leads to Vaikuha and rga bhakti leads to Vraja. (See quotes on page 9) Gopa-kumra's
progressive course in Bhad Bhgavatmta does not apply to regular sdhakas. He is widely
regarded as a model rather than a prototype sdhaka. In Caitanya Caritmta, Madhya ll,
chapter 14, there was a Qualification for rgnug bhakti
debate between rvsa Pandit, who fought the corner of the aivarya-vision, and Svarpa
Dmodara, who fought the mdhurya-corner. That debate was unsolved - rvsa was not
converted. Murri Gupta and Vallabha were Rm-bhaktas and none other than Mahprabhu
Himself and Rpa-Santana preached to them to become Ka-bhaktas, but they were not
converted either. It was simply their sthyi bhva. If Vaikuha is a stopover, where is there a
question of sthyi-bhva then?"
Bhakta: "Why it always has to be manjari bhva, why not gopa bhva (serving Ka as a cowherd
boy) or so?"
1. "The fact that there are elaborate systems of sdhana and entire societies built up around
manjar bhva, and none (that I know) around gopa bhva (of which there is very scant scriptural
description and virtually no social support on the ground) should not be seen as coincidence, but
a clear sign that Mahprabhu really wants us to practise this (manjar bhva)."
2. The entire Gauya Vaiava Sampradya is initiated into the kma gyatr, which is a mantra
worshiping Ka as the transcendental youthful Cupid (Madana Gopla) of Vraja - that is wholly
incompatible with loving Ka as a child or a friend, is it not? Is any Gauya Vaiava initiated
with a mantra worshipping Ka as a child or a friend?
3. The entire Gauya Vaiava Sampradya sings the Gurvaakam by rpda Vivantha
Cakravart, in which he clearly depicts Gurudeva as an assistant of the gops to perfect the
amorous pastimes of r-r Rdh-Ka - nikuja yuno rati-keli siddhyai y ylibhir yuktir
4. In that same Gurvaakam, r Vivantha Cakravart describes how the Guru is always eager to
relish the endless sweetness of the pastimes, attributes, forms and names of r Rdhik and
Mdhava, not of Ka with the cowherd boys or His parents - r rdhik mdhavayor apra
mdhurya ll gua rpa nmnm pratikasvdana lolupasya
Bhakta 2: We see in Caitanya Caritmta that rla Ka dsa Kavirja Goswmpda has written,
cri bhva diy prabhu ncimu jagate, that rman Mahprabhu has given four bhvas, cra-
vidha braja-bhva, and with these He has made the world dance. And you say Mahprabhu really
wants us to practise this manjar bhva, can you comment please?
1. Yes, in principle these four bhvas are given, but practically you see huge systems having been
built around manjari bhva (Guik, siddha pral, yogapha, maps, what have you) whereas
none of these things are in place for practising gopa bhva anywhere (to my knowledge).
2. The Gauya Vaiava-scriptures are predominantly about mdhurya rasa, to the extent that
Rpa Gosvm, when coming to that subject in Bhakti Rasmta Qualification for rgnug bhakti
Sindhu, cut it short and referred to an entire separate book he was to write about it, Ujjvala
Nlamai, which is about as big as the Bhakti Rasmta Sindhu itself.
3. The opening verse of Caitanya Caritmta (also composed by Rpa Gosvm), anarpita cari
cirt karuay avatra kalau samarpayitum unnatojjvala sva bhakti riyam reveals the
predominance of mdhurya rasa (unnata ujjvala rasa).


If you have read this far, you are probably fully convinced by now that the parampara
created by Bhaktisiddhanta is wrong and thus useless, and are convinced of the need to
take diksa in a real authentic Gaudiya Vaisnava parampara.

You may ask, where do I find such a real guru parampara? There are plenty of bonafide
Gaudiya Vaisnava gurus in Radha Kund, and in Vrindavan, and also in Navadweep
(NOT Mayapur).

I wish you all success and hope that you are able to absorb yourself in Radha-Krishna
lila meditations, as that is the essence of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

JAI SRI RADHE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!