GM replying to Syamarani's edited "Srila Prabhupada is in the highest rasa" - from FB

Madan Gopal Das - February 26, 2015 6:33 pm

In her first point Syamarani makes that case that if Prabhupada in not in madhurya rasa, he cannot give this bhava to his disciples because he would not be privy to all that it involves. In this connection she sites Cc, wherein it is stated that the intimate lilas of Radha and Krsna cannot be understood by those in dasya, sakhya, and vatsalya rasa, but rather only by those in sakhi bhava.


There are a number of ways to refute her interpretation and application of this statement from Cc. First of all, priyanarma sakhya bhava is referred to as sakhi-bhava by Rupa Goswami in his Ujjvala-nilamani. This is because the priyanarma sakhas take shelter of both a male and female group leader, such as Subala and Lalita respectively. Because they are involved in the intimate affairs of madhurya rasa, they are unlike the rest of the cowherds. Indeed, Sri Rupa informs us in Ujjavala-nilamani that the priyanarma sakhas “ . . .know the most intimate aspects of Krsna’s life, and have taken the mood of sakhis.” Sri Jiva comments “Out of affection for both Krsna and His beloved gopis, priyanarma sakhas desire to unite them both. Their masculine nature is then subdued.” And Rupa-manjari herself states, “Is there any service to Krsna that Subala has not the right to perform? When Krishna’s mistress gets angry with Him and runs off, it is Subala who follows her and entreats her to come back. He perpares the flower bed for their lovemaking and even fans the lovers when their perspiring bodies are locked in embrace.” Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments that Rupa-majari says this to one of her friends in an effort to awaken devotion to Subala in that friend’s heart. All of this is very beautiful and sacred.


Thus the statement of Cc could be broadly interpreted to include the sakhi-bhava of the priyanarma sakhas. But if one is not satisfied with this response, we can turn to Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswmai’s response to the claim that if Prabhupada is in sakhya rasa he cannot help his dicisples attain madhurya rasa. This has already been cited in O My Friend. Syamarani appears to have ignored it. Puri Goswami replied that if one’s guru is situated in sakhya rasa and one thinks this is a problems because that would mean that one’s guu cannot give madhurya rasa to his or her disciples, then such a devotee who thinks like this has a problem. In other words this argument has no spiritual currency.I personally heard this from as he chuckled at such an argument. “Baba,” he said, “Such a guru can make all arrangements.”


And with regard to this latter point of rebuttal, one can argue well that this is exactly what Prabupada did: He made arrangements by which his disciples could come in close connection with Sadhus like B.R. Sridhara Deva Goswami, B.P. Puri Goswami, BV. Narayan Goswami, etc., all of whom identified with madhurya rasa. And this point has also already been raised in O My Friend. Siksa gurus often have much to offer.


But the disturbing thing about Syamarani’s first point is that she feels it is necessary that Prabhupda be in madhurya rasa in order for him to be the “highest.” Despite the objective fact that madhurya rasa is the most intimate rasa, to me the feel of Syamarani’s thrust is mundane. For the spiritual understanding of rasa is that the highest rasa for each devotee is that which a particular devotee cherishes—his or her subjective reality. We do not find any acaryas needing to force Vrindavana dasa Thakura into madhurya rasa. Indeed we find manjari’s like Krsnadas Kaviraja glorifying him for who he is and for his contribution. If a wave of sakhya rasa becomes prominent in the Guadiya sampradaya in our times as it has in the past, so be it. Jaya Nitai!

Madan Gopal Das - February 26, 2015 6:35 pm

Next Syamarani makes the point that to be Rupanuga Vaisnva one must pursue manjari-bhava. And she concludes that therefore Prabhpada is in manjari bhava. However, the word Rupanuga has a both a broad specific application. The specific application is what Syamaranai is taking about, but Prabhpada himself never used the word in this way. He always used the broader interpretation: "A follower of the teachings of Rupa Goswami," which include within them teachings about sakhya rasa.


And she misinterprets On My Friend in this section. She states that the book claims that because Gauraidasa Pandit is in sakhya rasa Prabhupada must be as well. But the book merely points out that there are Gaudiya Viasnavas like Gauridasa who are in sakhya rasa and also that one of his second generation followers identified with madhurya rasa because of association with a madhurya rasa acarya, Sri Jiva Goswami. Thus it is possible to be initiated by a devotee in sakhya rasa but attain madhurya rasa through association with a mahurya rasa siksa guru, a point I have already raised above.

Madan Gopal Das - February 26, 2015 6:38 pm

There is a really bad explanation of the typical activities of a priyanarma sakha and why Prabhupada thus cannot be one of them. She misunderstands the verse from Ujjvala-nilamani she cites and then reasons about it in a dizzying circular fashion. I can, but can anyone else address it?

Madan Gopal Das - February 26, 2015 6:39 pm

The poem is all about sakhya rasa and it is written in a mood of private bhajana. No one cultivating or steeped in manjari bhava would pray like this. We have many examples of how they pray. Furthermore, Raghunatha dasa Goswami points out that when Radha desires to taste sakhya rasa, she takes the form of Subala, who looks just like her! Thus priyanarma sakha bhava in Sri Rupa's line is following the desire of Radha to taste sakhya rasa. A small corrective to the point raised by Syamarani. My goodness, she missed the mark on that one! Holy Cow!

Madan Gopal Das - February 26, 2015 6:39 pm

When we say that sakhya rasa, etc. are within madhurya rasa, what is meant is that the ingredients of these other rasas are also found in madhurya rasa as well as something else. And all these ingredients come together to make up madhurya rasa. It does not mean that the gopis are tasting dasya, sakhya and vatsalya as they manifest unto themselves. Mahaprabhu explained this to Rupa Goswami.

Madan Gopal Das - February 26, 2015 6:42 pm

This is the verse from UN I was referring to:


"The following example is given of their friendship: “Just look at Subala whispering all of Radharani’s messages in His ear. And Uddhava brings Shyama Devi’s love letters and secretly places them in His lotus hand. Chatura places Pali Devi’s tambula in Krishna’s mouth and Kokila places the garlands made by Tara Devi on His head. O thin-waisted one, this is how the priya narma sakhas render service to Krishna.”


Syamarani understands the verse only to be speaking about Subala. But in fact it speaks about a number of priyanarma sakhas. And it also speaks about their femalel group leaders, whom they follow. Now in their lila granthas the Goswamis only discuss the priyanarmas connected to female group leaders in Radha's camp, like Ujjvala, Subala, Madhumangal. Note that Radha herself is the female group leader of Subala.


Syamarani reasons that some of the female group leaders mentioned in this verse are not friends with Radha. That's true. But Subala is not carrying their messages. He is carrying Radha's message and is known as the best person in all of Vraja to bring Radha and Krsna together. Just as there are many manjaris and Candravali has her own, so there are many priyanarmas. But the followers of Rupa Goswami are only concerned with the priyanarmas who serve in Radha's group of friends.


But the circular logic of Syamarani is that because manjaris would not cooperate with Radha's competition and priyanarmas do, therefore Prabhupada can't be a priyanarma sakha because he is a manjari Ugh!


Again, some manjaris do cooperate with Radha's competitors. But Radha's do not. Some priyanrama sakhays do as well. But we are concerned with the priyanarmas that have the uniting of Radha and Krsna as their ideal, just as we are concerned only with the manjaris that have the same ideal. Jaya Sri Rupa!

Madan Gopal Das - February 26, 2015 6:43 pm

"As a rüpanuga devotee, Śrīla Prabhupāda, in his siddha-śarīra as a maidservant of Rādhikā, would only serve Kṛṣṇa in relation to Her, not in relation to other groups of gopīs"


So "Prabhupada is a manjari (of Radha) because he/she is a manjari." That is what she is saying. Makes your head spin.

Madan Gopal Das - February 26, 2015 6:44 pm

Swami B. A. Ashram Jadurani writes, "In 1959 Srila Prabhupada took sannyasa from his revered god-brother Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, who is Vinoda Manjari in Krsna-lila. The sannyasa-mantra Srila Prabhupada received is the mantra of all sannyasis in the line of Srila Rupa Gosvami. It is a gopi-mantra, a prayer for becoming a gopi."


I don't doubt that Sripad Kesava Maharaja gave Sria Prabhupada the gopi-bhava mantra on initiating him into the sannyasa ashram. But she is mistaken in her assertion that it is the mantra given to all sannyasis in Rupa Gowami's line. I have shown that Srila Prabhupada gave a different mantra, a topi-jana-bhava mantra, to one of my Godbrotwhers on giving him sannyasa. Furthermore, Srila Sridhara Maharaja gave that same topi-jana-bhava mantra to at least one sannyasi disciple. That mantra is a prayer for the brava of the gopi-jana, the people of Vraja who are all related to the gopis, all born of gopis.


Swami Tripurari The mantra is also appropriate for the sakhi bhava of a priyanamra sakha. It brings out the madhurya component in that form of sakhya rasa.


It is well known that Prabhuapda's Godbrother, Akincana dasa babaji, was in sakhya rasa. Narayana Maharaja also admitted to me that Babaji Maharaja personally told him this. Some years back Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami's disicles found some things Babaji Maharaja had written out for himself, prayers, slokas, and what not, a good portion of which was centered on Radhika. Such prayers, etc, were thought to be part of his culture of the madhurya element of his sakhya bhava.

Madan Gopal Das - February 26, 2015 6:50 pm

Swami B. A. Ashram

pratyāvartayati prasādya lalanāṁ krīḍā-kali-prasthitāṁ

śayyāṁ kuñja-gṛhe karoty aghabhidaḥ kandarpa-līlocitām ||

svinnaḥ bījayati priyā-hṛdi parisrastāṅgam uccair amuṁ

kva śrīmān adhikāritāṁ na subalaḥ sevā-vidhau vindati


“Pacifying Krishna’s mistress, he makes her return to him

after she has fled their lovers’ quarrel.

He makes Agha’s slayer’s forest bower bed

suitable for his games of love;

and he enthusiastically fans Krishna’s body,

wet with perspiration and draped over his mistress’ heart.

To what intimate service

can the lucky Subala not claim a right?”

Madan Gopal Das - February 26, 2015 6:52 pm

GM again, replying to more arguments from follower of NM:

What does the fact that manjari-bhava involves deeper experience of mahabava than that of priyanrama sakhya bhava does have to do with the fact that Prabhupada idealized sakhya rasa? We know that from his own lotus mouth functioning under the influence of Krsna's svarupa-sakti. And we know it from the lotus mouth of his siksa guru and param sannyasa guru, Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja. And I know it. And the preponderance of evidence corresponds with such realizations. The fact that you guru's insight does not correspond with the evidence is probably owing to the fact that he was never informed of the evidence and insights of his superiors.

Madan Gopal Das - February 26, 2015 6:52 pm

Everyone knows or should know that the sakhya rasa of Subala extends up to ruddha mahabhava, whereas manjari-bhava extends into adiruddha mahabhava. But that does not constitute evidence in support of the idea that my Gurudeva identified manjari bhava as his ideal. It might in a very general way, if he had not said and demonstrated otherwise and had that not been confirmed by his siksa guru.

Madan Gopal Das - February 26, 2015 6:53 pm

And that is the kind of evidence that Narayana Maharaja used to sport his contention--the fact that manjari bhava is so high, prominent in the lienage, etc., all very general.


And it should be clear to everyone that he tried to marshall as much evidence as he could to support his insight. He even published a book on the subject. Why? Because he knows that subjective claims unsupported by objective evidence have little credibility.


For his neophyte disciples it is enough that he said so, but he himself demonstrated that that was not enough. Such claims require support to be credible. So we are left to look at his supporting evidence against another body of evidence. But neophytes will dismiss evidence contrary to his insight and claim that his subjective perspective trumps all. Unfortunately that is not what he taught by his example.

Madan Gopal Das - February 26, 2015 6:55 pm

Let's not forget that one and more than one of the Gaudiya acaryas have identified themselves with sakhya rasa and it all beings with Nityananda. Did Sridhara Maharaja loose the plot? Did Prabhupada when he said he was in sakhya rasa. Sakhya rasa is part of the flow of Gaduiya Vasinavism. It's part of the plot. You can try to erase it but it won't go away.

Madan Gopal Das - February 26, 2015 6:57 pm

The Bhagavata guru parampara conception of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura includes Nityananda Prabhu. So the claim that all the acaryas in his Bhagavata guru parampara are in manjari-bhava is false. Nitaicanda is in sakhya rasa. And he initiated many disciples and distributed this bhava. It was prominent in the first two generations of the sampradaya. And literature exclusively dedicated to the culture of sakhya rasa with reference and deference to Rupa Goswami’s work appears as late as the 18th century. With O My Friend, its ongoing influence to this day is further documented. These are the objective facts.


Furthermore Nityananda-rama has done more than anyone else in terms of bringing attention to Mahaprabhu and his pursuit of Radha bhava. Rupa and Ragunatha defer to him, without whose mercy no one can approach Gauracandra and Radha Vrindavancandra. Such is the nature of Ntiai’s fraternal love for Gaura. And through his sakti expansion in Vraja, Ananga-manjari who appears in Garua lila as his consort Jhananva devi, Radha dasya has also been widely distributed.


So Nityananda Prabhu is indirectly and directly involved in bringing attention to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Radha bhava that he is about, and the blessing of unnatojjvala rasa he bestows. But Nitai himself is steeped in sakhya rasa, and thus it is inevitable that this sentiment will also appear in the sampradaya from time to time, and really to some extent at all times. And again, history bears this out. When it does appear, and especially when it does in a prominent manner, it should be celebrated for what it is.


Those influenced by sakhya bhava are not in competition with manjari-bhava and there is no need for manjari-bhava upasakas to militate against it. Indeed, under the influence of sakhya bhava Nitai’s sector has done more to promote gopi-bhava than any other sector. Nitai started the worship of Gaura. It is under his influence that Caitanya Bhagavata and Caitanya-caritamrta were written. The road to gopi-bhava goes through him. As Narottama Thakura sings, heno bine nitai bhai radha krsna paite nai.

Jaya Nitai!

Madan Gopal Das - February 27, 2015 3:44 pm

Yes, the subjective reality is that just about everyone has a mahabhagavata in their life. Most of them don't come to this world. They come from this world. Sadhana siddhas are the norm. No schedule on that. Apply yourself and wait.

Madan Gopal Das - February 27, 2015 3:46 pm

There are many advanced devotees with differing opinions on this subject. And some devotees favor the opinions of one advance devotee more than another. If we were all assembled and Sirdhara Maharaja, Puri Mahraja, Narayana Maharaja, Govinda Maharaja, Syamarani, Gaura Govinda Maharaja, etc. all voiced their opinions and differed as they do, we would be left with inconclusive evidence from an objective perspective. But if then Prabhupada spoke on the subject himself, we would have the definitive answer and we could all take prasada.


As it happens, Prabhupad did speak on the subject and in no uncertain terms. He said when asked "I am a cowherd boy." Wow! And he wrote about this in his most private moments.


Aboard the Jaladuta he petitioned Krsna, whom he referred to as his brother/friend (bhai), to one day allow him to enter Krsna's cow herding lilas and frolic with him from dawn to dusk throughout the pasturing grounds and forests of Vraja while cow herding. He stated that his ideal was to playfully sport, summersaulting on the ground and sporting in various ways typical of sakhya rasa. He said:


"O dear friend, when oh when will that day be mine when in your company I will experience great joy. And from the early morning until the end of the day I will wander about the cowherd pastures and fields with you herding cows, running and frolicking in various sportive displays, summersaulting on the ground in the many forests of Vraja in ecstasy."


The Bengali wording he used is saturated with sakhya rasa—kata vane chutachuti vane khai lutaputi. One shudders just hearing these words!


And as it turns out, the opinions of many of the advanced devotees cited in this thread were formed without knowledge of these statements coming from the lotus mouth of His Divine Grace. So we are fortunate to have them ourselves. They are the pradasa we should all take together.


But if some do not want to take prasada and prefer to wrangle and speculate about how Prabhupada's direct statements and aspiration sated in his poem concerning sakhya rasa mean something other than what they say in every human language, so be it. But I will be happy to save them a plate.

Madan Gopal Das - February 27, 2015 3:49 pm

There is no viable alternative explanation of Prabhuapda's poem. Some will read it in ecstasy, some will avoid. That is my experience.


My words, they are his power

And the grace that he has shown

Through them I am a knower

And my service well be known

I will save you a plate.

Madan Gopal Das - February 27, 2015 3:59 pm

Prabhupada made statements about associating with his God brothers, some for and some against. If one looks at them all and studies them in context, it is clear that the principle of sadhu sanga prevailed throughout his instructions on this matter. Thus it is clear that to take a position as some have that in principle he forbade his disciples from such association and that to do so was to disobey him and is offensive, is to not land on one's spiritual feet and to make offense oneself in the name of following his instructions. I am saying that to embrace this interpretation and differ from those who find room for such association in Prabhupada's instructions is politically motivated, not spiritually.


However, to opine that Prabhupada embraced sakhya rasa or madhurya rasa and differ with others on the subject is something different.


I am sorry if I interpreted your statement to mean something you did not intend it to mean.

Madan Gopal Das - February 27, 2015 4:02 pm

Prabhupada did not make contradictory statements about his rasa. He repeatedly affirmed both directly and indirectly his affinity for sakhya rasa.


But to harmonize as one must, one cannot take this statement out of the context of everything else he said, much of which is more specific and none of which precludes his also being a servant of Radha. Inddeed the priyanarma Sarupa (Gopa Kurmara) of Sanatana Prabhu's Bb relished the seva of Radha when the opportunity arose over the seva of cow herding. In the mood of a priyanarma sakha madhurya bhava is present and so too is seva to Radha. But in manjari-bhava, cow herding from dawn to dusk is not.

Madan Gopal Das - February 27, 2015 4:04 pm

You tell a great tale BM (Bhagavat Maharaj). I say that because your spirit is one of glorification, in this case of your siksa guru Gaura Govinda Maharaja. And so it is with all of your stories about him. Unfortunately for this discussion they are often at variance with the historical facts. I was also there in 1979 for the "bhava' event of GGM as you tell it, but my experience of the event was quite different. And your description of GGM taking sannyasa is a beautiful glorification of him that is otherwise not factual. In your telling of that history GGM and I took sannyasa on the same day and GGM performed the yajna, and on and on the story goes turning into a fantastic glorification of GGM. But again, unfortunately as far as the facts go my photos of the event tell a very different story. Indeed, GGM was not even present for my sannyas initiation and his was done privately without a yanjna some days prior to mine. I learned of his sannyasa from him and it among other things prompted me to ask Prabhupda for sannyasa myself. And the story you have posted above is another good one in terms of Vaisnava mahima but it flies in the face of many things Prabhupada said about himself and also his position on siddha pranlai that you allude to. So I take it with a grain of salt. Jaya Gaura Govinda Maharjaja.

Madan Gopal Das - February 27, 2015 4:11 pm

Well it's a big subject and the Rupa that you want to follow wrote these books so that devotees could understand his theory of bhakti rasa and all that it involves. This theory, this rasa tattva is the canvas on which the experience of bhakti rasa is drawn. One needs to stay on the canvas to be in the picture.