Devotee: Our Śrīla Gurudeva has now entered nitya-līlā, and the ācārya of Śrī Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭha, that is, Śrīla Bhakti Vallabha Tīrtha Gosvāmī Mahārāja, seems near to entering nitya-līlā. How much do you think our saṅga (Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s saṅga) and your saṅga (Śrī Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭha, whose ācārya is Śrīla Bhakti Vallabha Tīrtha Mahārāja) should work together to propagate the message of Mahāprabhu?
Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Mahārāja: The mood is one. All the thinking and preaching is one. Diversity in unity, and unity in diversity. It is by the will of God that there are so many branches to preach the thoughts of Lord Caitanya. There is no difference in mood and preaching. However, the management is another.
The Gosvāmīs were not all in one place. They were staying in different parts of Vraja-maṇḍala, yet they were one-minded. They were not disciples of the same guru. Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī was a disciple of Yadunandana Ācārya. Sanātana Gosvāmī was a disciple of another guru, [Vidyā] Vācaspati. Rūpa Gosvāmī is a disciple of Sanātana Gosvāmī, and Jīva Govami is a disciple of Rūpa Gosvāmī; yet they are one. Their preaching is one. They were all trying their best, according to their capacity.
Rūpa Gosvāmī spread the bhakti-cult. Sanātana Gosvāmī spread sambandha-jñāna, knowledge of the jīva’s connection with God. The sambhanda-devatā, Madan-Mohan thus appeared to Sanātana Gosvāmī. Rūpa Gosvāmī spread the service of God (abhidheya, the dealings of one’s relationship with God). Therefore, the abhidheya-devatā, Govinda-deva, appeared to him, and thus he taught the 64 kinds of bhakti.
Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, in his meditation, served Rādhārāṇī; not Kṛṣṇa. He prayed, ‘O Rādhā, if You are not merciful to me, then my life and my bhajana and my living in Vṛndāvana are all spoiled. If You are not merciful to me, I even do not want any connection with Bakāri.’ Who is Bakāri?
Devotees: Kṛṣṇa, the killer of Bakāsura.
Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Mahārāja: Kṛṣṇa killed Agha, Baka, Pūtanā, and all other demons. Because He is the enemy of the demon Baka, He is known as Bakāri. ‘I have no connection with Him, if there is no Rādhārāṇī.’ Rādhārāṇī is hlādinī-śakti. When Rādhārāṇī is with Kṛṣṇa, He can attract all, otherwise not. This is because we get Kṛṣṇa’s mercy through Rādhārāṇī. If we leave Rādhārāṇī, we cannot achieve Kṛṣṇa.
None of the gopīs are ordinary devotees. They left their fathers, mothers, husbands, sons, daughters, and all other relatives for Lord Kṛṣṇa, to dance with Him in the rāsa-līlā. Yet, Kṛṣṇa left all of them for Rādhārāṇī. The gopīs were searching for Kṛṣṇa, calling out, ‘Where is Kṛṣṇa?’ When they reached near Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa took the form of Nārāyaṇa. They bowed down to Him and left, thinking, ‘This is not our Kṛṣṇa.’ However, for those who were searching for Kṛṣṇa while following behind Rādhārāṇī, the same Nārāyaṇa again became Kṛṣṇa.
Lakṣmī tried to reach Kṛṣṇa, but it was not possible for her. Why not? She left Vaikuṇṭha and rushed to Vraja-maṇḍala, but it was not possible for her to reach Kṛṣṇa. Why not?
gopī-ānugatya vinā aiśvarya-jñāne
bhajileha nāhi pāya vrajendra-nandane
Unless one follows in the footsteps of the gopīs, he cannot attain the service of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja. If one is overcome by knowledge of the Lord’s opulence, he cannot attain the Lord’s lotus feet, even though he is engaged in devotional service.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā, 8.230)
Do you understand? If one tries his or her utmost to reach Kṛṣṇa, it is not possible without following a gopī – here, gopī means Rādhārāṇī.
[kṛṣṇake āhlāde, tā’te nāma—‘āhlādinī’
sei śakti-dvāre sukha āsvāde āpani]
sukha-rūpa kṛṣṇa kare sukha āsvādana
bhakta-gaṇe sukha dite ‘hlādinī’—kāraṇaa
The potency that gives Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa transcendental pleasure is called hlādinī. By this pleasure potency, Śrī Kṛṣṇa personally tastes all spiritual pleasure, even though He is the very embodiment of bliss. This potency also gives happiness to the devotees.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā, 8.157-158)
Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa distributes His devotion through Rādhārāṇī. If you wish to serve Kṛṣṇa, then you have to serve Rādhārāṇī. By the grace of Rādhārāṇī, you can achieve Lord Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa left all the gopīs for Rādhārāṇī. This is the importance of Rādhārāṇī. The Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas serve āśraya-vigraha (the abode of devotion), not viṣaya-vigraha (Kṛṣṇa, the object of devotion).
In his kīrtana, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura prays for success through Rūpa Gosvāmī:
prabhu lokanātha kobe sańge loyā jābe
śrī rūpera pāda-padme more samarpibe
Śuniyāchi Sādhu Mukhe Bole
O Gurudeva! When will you bestow upon me your mercy and offer me to the feet of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī?
Guru-tattva is one. According to one’s development, a person accepts a guru. In your childhood you accept a teacher, and then another, and then another, and then another. Did you leave your guru? No. Guru-tattva is one. So, offering obeisances to the entirety of guru-tattva, through your gurudeva, you offer your obeisances and your very self, uttering the words, ‘gurave namaḥ,’ not the name of your gurudeva.
haiyāchena haibena prabhura jata dāsa
sabāra caraṇa vandoń dante kari’ ghāsa
Vṛndāvana-vāsī Jata Vaiṣṇavera Gaṇa (Devakīnandana dāsa)
Holding a straw in my teeth, I submit my glorification at the feet of the servants of Mahaprabhu whoever were or will be.
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