Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva, many years ago, when we were in Fiji on Śrī Advaita Ācārya’s appearance day, you were asking each of us to speak about the pañca-tattva. You asked, “Can Advaita Ācārya give vraja-prema? Can Gadādhara Paṇḍita or Nityānanda Prabhu give it? You then explained that all of them can give prema because they are all there in Goloka Vraja; Nityānanda Prabhu is there as Anaṅga Mañjarī and Balarāma, and Advaita Ācārya is there as Gopīśvara Mahādeva and Sadāśiva.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Only Gadādhara Paṇḍita can give prema as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave it. While the others can also give it, Mahāprabhu and Gadādhara Paṇḍita give it better.
Sugata dāsa: Why is that so?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Śrī Kṛṣṇa is viṣaya-vigraha (the object of bhakti) and Gadādhara is āśraya-vigraha (the reservoir, or container, of bhakti). Gadādhara, who is Rādhikā Herself, can therefore give it better than Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. With Gadādhara Paṇḍita’s help, Mahāprabhu is able to give it better than the others, because He is Kṛṣṇa who is now realizing the love of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. He has taken Her beauty and intrinsic mood.
Sugata dāsa: But first we approach guru and Nityānanda Prabhu?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Yes, that is right.
A madhyama-adhikārī guru knows everything about our conditioning in this world and our suffering due to being absorbed in worldly conceptions. His mercy comes first,* then the mercy of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and the uttama-adhikārīs’ mercy, and then Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s and Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mercy.
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: Kṛṣṇa is rasika-śekhara, the topmost relisher, and He is raso vai saḥ, the embodiment of rasa. I have heard it said that Rādhārāṇī does not have rasa, but She is Mahābhāva Ṭhākurāṇī. She has bhāva, but Kṛṣṇa does not have bhāva. I am wondering; is this idea okay?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: It is correct to say that Kṛṣṇa is the embodiment of rasa; but rasa cannot taste itself. It cannot know how tasteful it is. Rather, one who is drinking that rasa can taste it. Śrīmatī Rādhikā is drinking that nectar.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Śyāma-rasa.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Therefore She knows the extent of the beauty, taste, and qualities of that rasa. Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is Rasa Himself, cannot fully taste, tell, or explain about Himself.
Abhirāma dāsa: You said that one must first take shelter of a madhyama-adhikārī guru. If an uttama-adhikārī guru has not come down to the stage of madhyama to preach, can he still give shelter?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Uttama-adhikārīs do not have disciples, because they consider that everyone is already serving Kṛṣṇa and is therefore already liberated. They do not preach or give initiation. Śukadeva Gosvāmī is an example.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: And what about Nārada Ṛṣi?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Uttama-adhikārīs like Nārada Ṛṣi sometimes come to the platform of madhyama-adhikārī, and then they make disciples.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: In the same way, all the ācāryas in our guru-paramparā are uttama-adhikārīs who have come down to the madhyama platform to bestow mercy upon us. Don’t think that those in our guru-varga are madhyama-adhikārīs.
*A madhyama-adhikārī guru can only give the highest mercy when he is an uttama-adhikārī in the role of a madhyama – ed.
Walking with a Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations 2008
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