The following is an excerpt from a lecture delivered by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja in Houston, Texas, on June 17, 1996


Vrajanātha dāsa: Some questions from a bhakta [new devotee] who came to us in Leicester. He is a nice boy.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: What is he saying?

Vrajanātha dāsa: He is asking any questions to relieve his doubts.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: They write so many pages. This is very hard for me.

Vrajanātha dāsa: We can ask any questions and we will send the answer.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes. What are the questions? Who is he initiated by?

Vrajanātha dāsa: No one.

[Vrajanātha dāsa reads the questions]

“Is there a difference between sad-guru and śrī-guru?”

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: No. Śrī means sat actually. There is no difference. But, there is much difference between an asat-guru and a sad-guru. There is a far, far difference between them.

Vrajanātha dāsa: He is asking this because he says, “Every bona fide guru can give you entry into Goloka Vṛndāvana,” this is what he has heard. And he also heard, “Only very special ones.”

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Not every bona fide guru. Those who are in Rāmānujācārya’s sampradaya, who are devotees of Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa are bona fide. But, they cannot give the way to Vṛndāvana; they cannot give. But they are sad-gurus. Hanumān is a sad-guru, but he cannot help us go to Vṛndāvana. So, we should follow the sad-guru in the line of Kṛṣṇa, Śrīmatī Rādhikā, and especially in the line of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. And, especially the sad-guru, who is in the line of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Then, we can go to Vṛndāvana; otherwise not.

Madhvācārya, Rāmānujācārya, Viṣṇusvāmī, Vallabhācārya, and all are bona fide Gurus. But I think they will not give you this thing.

Vrajanātha dāsa: He is asking, “Those devotees who can distribute prema-nāma and who are speaking.”

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Also, it doesn’t depend on the disciple’s decision; when the disciple thinks, “Whether my guru is bona fide or not.” Because they all consider that “Our guru is bona fide.” If the guru has lust, anger, and every bad quality; but even then, the disciples think, “Our Gurudeva is bona fide.” So, it doesn’t depend on the disciples’ realization. It should be according to śāstra and Vaiṣṇavas—both. If what the Vaiṣṇavas say is in line with the śāstras and the Vaiṣṇavas are actually following what they say, and we will see the symptoms, then this should be considered; otherwise not.

Vrajanātha dāsa: He is asking, “When does the relationship begin with his Gurudeva—on dīkṣā, or when he meets his…”

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: It begins when he first meets his Gurudeva. Whether he is hearing or not, when Gurudeva’s glance falls on that person, the activities begin until he goes to Vṛndāvana.

Vrajanātha dāsa: He has heard that one should accept a guru according to one’s moods.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: No, no. This is wrong. Here, mood in rāganuga-bhakti and not in vaidhī-bhakti. There are no moods there. How will he think and realize whether a person is a bona fide guru or not? How will he determine? He should be in the company of Vaiṣṇavas, śuddha-vaiṣṇavas, and hear continuously from them. And he should also read books. Then, he will choose any good guru. And after that, a śikṣā-guru may tell him all these things. Did any disciple of Svāmījī know his mood? Did they know his mood of service to Kṛṣṇa? This is called a mood. That mood is sakhya, vātsalya, and mādhurya—three moods. The mood of dāsya cannot lead us to Vṛndāvana; never. Dāsya-bhāva is there, but there should be some mood of sakhya. Otherwise, the mood cannot take us to Vṛndāvana. In Vraja, there is no śuddha-dāsya. Śuddha-dāsya is to Rāmacandra and to Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa.

So, how will they decide what the mood is? In mādhura-rasa, there are many kinds of moods. If they will know all these moods from śraddhā, niṣṭhā, ruci, āsakti, bhāva, prema, sneha, māna, praṇaya, rāga, anurāga, bhāva, mahābhāva, and after that; then, they can have some greed towards these moods. Otherwise, how can they know?

Vrajanātha dāsa: He says that he has so many questions. He feels that he will only get real satisfaction by getting more of your association.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: He should associate with śuddha-vaiṣṇavas—with those, who have no anger, lust, and other impurities. These Vaiṣṇavas have conquered all their senses. He should also associate with those, who have some mood, some greed for Vṛndāvana—vraja-bhāva.

Vrajanātha dāsa: He says that he is going to India in September. He is asking if he can come and visit you.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You can write to him that he should come when I will be in Vṛndāvana.

Vrajanātha dāsa: He is thanking you for making the difficult journey to the West.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You can go on reading.

Vrajanātha Prabhu reads the letter of the devotee]

“Thank you for making the difficult journey to the West to save us. Kṛṣṇa is so kind. First, He sent Svāmī Mahārāja and now, your good self. You are so kind.”

The following is an excerpt from the book Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu-bindu (Third edition) by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura (Translation into Hindi and commentary by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja)

When a slight decline in the influence of the six Gosvāmīs in Śrī Vṛndāvana took place, a controversy arose around the doctrine of wedded love (svakīyāvāda) versus the doctrine of paramour love (parakīyāvāda). To dispel misconceptions regarding svakīyāvāda, Śrīla Cakravartī Ṭhākura wrote Rāga-vartma-candrikā and Gopī-premāmṛta, both of which are replete with scriptural philosophical conclusions. Thereafter, in his Ānanda-candrikā commentary on the verse laghutvam atra yat proktam*, of Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi (1.21), he showed that the theory of svakīyāvāda was fallacious, and with scriptural evidence and irrefutable logic, he established the conception of parakīya. Further, in his Sārārtha-darśinī commentary on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, he gave strong support to parakīya-bhāva.

Once, certain scholars opposed the conclusions of Śrīla Cakravartī Ṭhākura on worship in the mood of parakīya. When he defeated them with superior erudition and sound reasoning, they resolved out of envy to kill him. They knew that Śrī Cakravartī Ṭhākura would circumambulate Śrī Vṛndāvana early each morning, so they hid in a dark, dense grove and waited for him to walk by. As his adversaries watched him approach, he suddenly disappeared, and in his place, a beautiful young girl of Vraja appeared, picking flowers with her friends.

The scholars asked that girl, “O lālī (young girl), just a moment ago a great personality was coming this way. Where has he gone?” The girl replied, “I saw him, but I do not know where he has gone.” The sight of her astonishing beauty, sidelong glances, graceful manner and gentle smile captivated the assembly of scholars. All the impurities in their minds were removed and their hearts melted. They asked the girl who she was, and she replied, “I am a maidservant of my mistress, Śrīmatī Rādhikā. She is presently at Her in-laws’ house at Yāvaṭa. She has sent me here to pick flowers.”

Having spoken thus, the girl disappeared, and in her place the scholars saw Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura once again. The scholars fell at his feet and prayed for forgiveness, and Śrīla Cakravartī Ṭhākura forgave them all**. There are many such astonishing occurrences in the life of Śrīla Cakravartī Ṭhākura. In this way, Śrīla Cakravartī Ṭhākura refuted the theory of svakīyāvāda and established the truth of pure parakīya – an achievement of great import for the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas.

* The full verse from Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi is as follows:

laghutvam atra yat proktaṁ
tat tu prākṛta nāyake
na kṛṣṇe rasa-niryāsa-
svādārtham avatāriṇi

Whatever fault or impropriety has been pointed out (in other rasa-śāstras) in regard to the love of paramours applies to ordinary worldly lovers and not to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, for He is the taster of the liquid essence of rasa and the source of all incarnations. [In other words, the Lord’s incarnations are the controllers of religion and irreligion and never subjected to their control. How then can Śrī Kṛṣṇa be subjected to such codes when He is the source of all incarnations?]

** To remove their offences, they became his disciples.

The following are excerpts from the book Journey of the Soul, (Second Edition), Part 3, The Same Message by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja with supportive evidence from Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhakūra’s Jaiva-dharma and the works of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda

Brahmā and Śiva are not ordinary souls and are not subject to temptation. They remain free from the lure of māyā; rather they are under the influence of yogamāyā – so what to speak of the residents of the spiritual abodes of the Lord. In fact, Brahmā and Śiva worship the residents of the Lord’s abodes, especially the residents of Vṛndāvana.

There are innumerable other examples of personalities in scriptural history who conditioned souls like us cannot understand without the help of pure devotees like Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda and his disciplic succession. For example, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam relates the history of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s associates and personal family members who,  just before the  Lord’s disappearance, fought with and killed each other after having become intoxicated by drinking  rice­-wine. In this regard Śrīla Visvanātha Cakravārti Thākura, whose commentaries are often quoted by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda, states that this was just like a magic show performed by the greatest magician, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, in order to return them to their abodes.

Another example is the history of the ‘demon’ Śiśupāla, Kṛṣṇa’s cousin, who tried to kill Kṛṣṇa and who was finally beheaded by him. How is it possible that Kṛṣṇa’s cousin could become a demon? In this regard, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda’s Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam translations and purports reveal that by entering Kṛṣṇa’s body after being ‘killed’ by Him, Śiśupāla ‘re­entered’ Vaikuṇṭha as one of the Lord’s two associates, Jaya and Vijaya. Moreover, Jaya and Vijaya had never left Vaikuṇṭha. According to our ācāryas, their original forms remained in Vaikuṇṭha and, in order to fulfil the Lord’s desire for chivalrous fighting, their expansions played the role of demons in this world.

Another example is the history of Choṭa Haridāsa, which is merci­fully translated by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda in his Śrī Caitanya-caritāmrta. In that history Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu chastised and rejected His associate, Choṭa Haridāsa, who was in the renounced order and at the same time looked lustfully at a lady. How is it possible that Mahāprabhu’s dear associate could fall into lust? Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda quotes the version of his Guru Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, who said that  Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the ocean of mercy, chastised Choṭa Haridāsa, although Choṭa Haridāsa was His dear devotee, in order to establish that one in the devotional line should not be a hypocrite. Choṭa Haridāsa did not actually fall.

Another example is the history of Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa, who was assigned by Mahāprabhu’s devotees to carry His waterpot and other belongings while He travelled through South India. During these travels Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa was influenced and allured by gipsies who enticed him with women. Mahāprabhu saved Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa from this plight but later, despite  Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa’s tears, He rejected him from  His company. However, even though the Lord rejected him, His confidential devotees mercifully gave him another chance. They considered, “We want a person to go to Bengal just  to inform Śacīmātā about Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s arrival at Jagannātha Purī.” Thus they engaged him as an instrument in pleasing the Lord’s pure devotees.

Did Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa fall from the spiritual world and was then reinstated? In the spiritual world are no gipsies to allure the eternal, liberated associates of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda writes in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 7.39:

This Kṛṣṇadāsa, known as Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa, is not the Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa mentioned in the Eleventh Chapter, verse 37, of the Ādi-līlā. The Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa mentioned in the Eleventh Chapter is one of the twelve gopālas (cowherd boys) who appeared to substantiate the pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He is known as a great devotee of Lord Nityānanda Prabhu. The brāhmaṇa named Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa who went with Śrī Caitanya to South India and later to Bengal is mentioned in the Madhya-līlā, Tenth Chapter, verses 62–79. One should not take these two to be the same person.

In this world there are many fortunate souls who come in contact with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu during His manifest pastimes here, and they all benefit tremendously. They get further purified by contact with the Lord and His associates and then attain perfection. Still, they are in this world because they originally desired to enjoy sense gratification. That is the teaching in this pastime.

One may inquire why his name is mentioned in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 10.145 as being a branch of prema-kalpataru, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The answer is given by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda’s guru, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, in his lecture delivered in 1933 and which is published in Gauḍīya, Eleventh Year, Issue Forty­ one, pages 646-­648. This was a very important discussion about Choṭa Haridāsa, and Jagāi and Mādhāi, wherein he also shed light on the topic of Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa.

He states that  Śrīman Mahāprabhu had rejected Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa at first, but by the mercy of Śrīman Nityānanda Prabhu and his own genuine repentance he was again reinstated as a servant of Mahāprabhu. It was due to Nityānanda prabhu’s mercy alone that he was later added as a branch of Mahāprabhu’s prema-kalpataru. It is not that he was previously an eternal associate.

By this pastime Mahāprabhu taught that one has to be extremely careful while practising the devotional process because until we have reached perfection we may become allured by Mahāprabhu’s illusory māyā. In Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 17.14 Mahāprabhu told His associates:

“Such a person must be a new man, and he must have a peaceful mind. If I can obtain such a man, I shall agree to take him with Me.”

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda writes in his purport:

Formerly, when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to South India, a brāhmaṇa named Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa went with Him. Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa fell victim to a woman, and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had to take the trouble to free him from the clutches of the gipsies. Therefore the Lord here says that He wants a new man who is peaceful in mind. One whose mind is not peaceful is agitated by certain drives, especially sex desire, even though he is in the company of Caitanya Mahāprabhu… Māyā is so strong that unless one is determined not to fall victim, even the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot give protection.

The Supreme Lord and His representative always want to give protection, but a person must take advantage of their personal contact.  If one thinks that the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His representative is an ordinary man, he will certainly fall down. Thus Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not want a person like Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa to accompany Him. He wanted someone who was determined, who had a peaceful mind, and who was not agitated by ulterior motives.

In his lecture on May 3, 2001, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja supports the version of Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja and Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda thus:

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s personal servant, Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa, went with Him to South India for about four months.  He did not have a taste for chanting, remembering or hearing hari-katha, but he was helping Mahāprabhu. He was very lucky to serve, but he had no taste. Mahāprabhu was chanting, “Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa” in all the temples and making everyone Vaiṣṇavas, but what became of His servant?

This fellow had no taste. He had never said to Mahāprabhu, “O, I want to hear hari-katha.” He never questioned Him and he never heard His teachings. What became of him? He was attracted by the Bhaṭṭathāris, gipsy girls, who were so beautiful that in a moment he gave up Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa Himself. In addition, on November 20, 2001 he said in a discourse:

It was amazing, however, that although Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa was travelling with the Lord, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Mahāprabhu was not able to help him. This is because Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa was only engaged in Mahāprabhu’s external service. He did not inquire from Him about bhakti, neither did he have a taste for His hari-katha, nor did he have a taste for chanting. In other words, he could not adopt Mahāprabhu’s inner mood.

The following quotes show the infallible position of self­realized devotees who are here in this world. The pure devotees in this world don’t fall from their position despite the all­pervading lure of māyā here. What to speak, then, of those devotees in their forms as residents of the spiritual world. We can have faith in them, and faith in the world from which they come.

Pure devotional service is so spiritually relishable that a devotee becomes automatically uninterested in material enjoyment. That is the sign of perfection in progressive devotional service. A pure devotee continuously remembers the lotus feet of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and does not forget Him even for a moment, not even in exchange for all the opulence of the three worlds.

(Srīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.5.19, purport)

When Uddhava was fully absorbed in the transcendental ecstasy of love of God, he actually forgot all about the external world. The pure devotee lives constantly in the abode of the Supreme Lord, even in the present body, which apparently belongs to this world. The pure devotee is not exactly on the bodily plane, since he is absorbed in the transcendental thought of the Supreme.

(Srīmad-Bhāgavatam .3.2.6 purport)

Devotee: Prabhupāda, a devotee, very often, after chanting,  they develop very, very high. I see a lot of devotees; they fall down back to the māyā. What is the reason?

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda: He is not a devotee. He is pretending to be a devotee. One who is a devotee never falls down. There are so many false devotees. He falls down.

(Morning Walk. Toronto, June 21, 1971)

Devotee: Often the devotee thinks that he’s more unhappy than the karmīs, because he knows he’s unhappy.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda: Then that means he is not a devotee.

Devotee: He’s not a devotee.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda: Yes. He’s not a devotee. Devotee means, the first sign will be that he is happy. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā (Bhagavad-gītā 18.54). If he’s not prasannātmā, he’s a rascal. He has not even entered devotional life. He’s outside. That is the test. Just like Dhruva Mahārāja. When he saw Viṣṇu, he said, “Everything is all right. I don’t want anything. Svāmin kṛtārtho ’smi.” That is Vaiṣṇava. And if he is still in want or unhappiness, that means he has no spiritual life at all. He is simply making a show.

(Morning Walk. Melbourne, April 24, 1976)

The link connecting these four quotes is this concept of ‘higher taste’. Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda explains that perfect devotees experience the higher taste of service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and therefore the allure of māyā simply does not attract them. Those who have not actually reached that relishable higher taste will still have a taste for material enjoyment. Māyā still has the power to attract the aspiring devotee away from the path of devotion.

The third­class person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness may fall down, but when one is in the second class he does not fall down, and for the first­-class person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness there is no chance of falling down.

(Bhagavad-gītā 9.3, purport)

There is no possibility that a first­-class devotee will fall down, even though he may mix with non­devotees to preach.

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 22.71, purport)

A false guru will fall prey to māyā, whereas a bona fide guru, the true devotee, never forgets Kṛṣṇa for even a moment.  Such a guru can bring his disciples, followers, and audiences to his own level of perfection.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda has written in the conclusion of his purport to Nectar of Instruction, Verse Five: “One should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained the platform of uttama-adhikārī [first­ class devotee]. A neophyte Vaiṣṇava or a Vaiṣṇava situated on the intermediate platform can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same platform, and it should be understood that they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance. Therefore a disciple should  be careful to accept an uttama-adhikārī as a spiritual master.”

“Devarṣi Nārada is an example of the topmost uttama-bhāgavata. Śukadeva Gosvāmī belongs to the intermediate stage of uttama-bhāgavatas (nirdhūta-kaṣāya). Śrī Nārada in his previous birth as the son of a maidservant is an example of the preliminary stage of uttama-bhāgavatas (mūrcchita-kaṣāya). The association and mercy of these three kinds of maha-bhāgavatas is the cause of the manifestation of śraddhā” (Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu-bindu, Verse 3, Śrī Bindu-vikāśinī-vṛtti, comment).


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