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About this blog

Swami B.G. NarasinghaShrila Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha Swami is the diksha disciple of Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Vaishnava, preacher, author of books, initiating guru, sannyasi.

Шрила Бхакти Гаурава Нарасингха Свами - дикша ученик Шрила Бхактиведанта Свами Прабхупады, вайшнав, проповедник, автор книг, инициирующий гуру, санньяси.

 

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A108-AI

Shridhara maharaja and Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta SwamiQuestion:  A sannyasi/guru/GBC of ISKCON, ________Goswami says in an interview on 24th June, 2017 that Shrila Prabhupada had invited all his godbrothers to join with him in his preaching in western countries, even offering to give them everything – free flights around the world to preach, a nice car – anything they wanted, but “they all refused, all the time.” __________Goswami says that their reply to Shrila Prabhupada was that:

“We don’t want to give up our positions. Like in my own matha, I am the acarya and I’d rather, basically be a ‘big fish in a little pond’ and not a ‘little fish in a big pond.’”

________Goswami says that Shrila Prabhupada told him like that many times. Is this really cent-per-cent true?

Swami Narasingha: Hearing this kind of bigoted statement towards Shrila Prabhupada’s godbrothers, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. There is, of course, some truth in __________Goswami’s statement, but it runs along the lines of a half-truth, a half-baked potato, rather than an accurate representation of the facts.

Make no mistake about it, Shrila Prabhupada did request some of his godbrothers to join him in his preaching mission in the west, even inviting them to be in charge of the temples, which would have become branches of the Shri Mayapura Caitanya (Gaudiya) Matha.

Shrila Prabhupada wrote to his godbrother, Shrila Bhakti Vilasa Tirtha Maharaja, offering respects at his lotus feet and offering him the charge of the future temples in America. Shrila Prabhupada wrote to Shrila Tirtha Maharaja on October 8th 1965, scarcely one month after his having arrived in the USA.

Shrila Prabhupada made it clear in his letter that he did not wish to be in charge. He wanted only to preach for the satisfaction of their spiritual master, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and to that end alone, he invited his godbrother. Here are some relevant excerpts from that letter as follows:

“Pujaniya Shrila Tirtha Maharaja, Kindly accept respectful obeisances at your lotus feet”

“But I think for establishing matha and temples here (America) you may take the charge and I shall be able to make them self-independent. “

“If you agree then take it for granted that I am one of the workers of the Shri Mayapura Caitanya Matha. I have no ambition for becoming the proprietor of any matha or mandira, but I want working facilities.”

It may also be noted that in that letter to Shrila Tirtha Maharaja, Shrila Prabhupada requested him to send ten lakhs of rupees via foreign exchange to start the New York temple – which was $150,000 in those days, or the equivalent of 1.5 million dollars by today’s standard.

“The Calcutta Marwaris are in your hand by the Grace of Shrila Prabhupada. If you like you can immediately raise a fund of Rs 10,00,000/- ten lacs to open a centre in New York. One centre started, I shall be able to start many others also. So here is a chance of cooperation between us and I shall be glad to know if you are ready for this cooperation.”

Now can you imagine what the response would be if I, Swami Narasingha, were to write such a letter to the GBC at Mayapura/Kolkata requesting co-operation, asking them to send me 1.5 million dollars so that I could open a preaching centre in Mexico City?

“The Calcutta Marwaris are in your hand by the Grace of Shrila Prabhupada. If you like you can immediately raise a fund of 1.5 million dollars to open a centre in Mexico City. One centre started, I shall be able to start many others also. So here is a chance of cooperation between us and I shall be glad to know if you are ready for this cooperation.”

I think the response to such a request is obvious – in fact, I doubt that I would even receive a reply. More likely than not, it would simply raise one hell-of-a-laugh! Factually, let us imagine if Shrila Tirtha Maharaja had actually accepted our Guru Maharaja’s request back in 1965, then there would be no ISKCON! There would simply be no ISKCON! Can you imagine? Yes, that is what would have happened. All the centres in America and around the world would all be branches of Shri Mayapura Caitanya (Gaudiya) Matha and we would all have become disciples of Shrila Bhakti Vilasa Tirtha Maharaja and not disciples of Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

These generous offers that Shrila Prabhupada made to his godbrothers were indeed declined, but when ________Goswami says that the godbrothers responded by saying, “We don’t want to give up our positions. Like in my own matha, I am the acarya and I’d rather, basically be a ‘big fish in a little pond’ and not a ‘little fish in a big pond,” he is simply putting words in the mouths of Shrila Prabhupada’s godbrothers that they never said.

In fact, the phrase ‘big fish in a small pond and little fish in a big pond’ was not actually in the vocabulary of Shrila Prabhupada or his godbrothers. It is purely an American phrase that first came into use in the late 19th century. I doubt that even one of Shrila Prabhupada’s godbrothers, or anyone in Gaudiya Matha, ever used that phrase – especially in reply to Shrila Prabhupada’s offer of preaching in the west.

So rather than fault Shrila Tirtha Maharaja for not accepting our Guru Maharaja’s invitation, I think the proper understanding would be to see it as Krishna’s arrangement. Lord Krishna wanted all the glory of spreading Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement throughout the world in every town and village to go to His empowered devotee, our Guru Maharaja, Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. We should thank our lucky stars for that and not criticise the divine arrangement of Krishna.

Another example of Shrila Prabhupada requesting a godbrother is that of Shrila B.R. Shridhara Maharaja. On numerous occasions Shrila Prabhupada wanted to arrange for Shrila Shridhara Maharaja’s preaching.

Shrila Prabhupada: “He (Shridhara Maharaja) lived in my house as a sannyasi for a few years. So naturally we had very intimate talks and he was my good advisor. I took his advice and instruction very seriously because from the very beginning I know he is a pure Vaisnava devotee and I wanted to associate with him, and tried to help him. And he also tried to help me – so our relationship is very intimate. After the breakdown of the Gaudiya Matha, I wanted to organise another organisation making Shridhara Maharaja the head.”

(Opening Ceremony of ISKCON Mayapura Candrodaya Mandira, 17th March 1973, while Shrila Prabhupada and Shrila Shridhar Maharaja were sitting together on the vyasasana)

Shrila Prabhupada: “I very much want, Maharaja, that you come and stay at Mayapura. Because Prabhupada (Bhaktisiddhanta) always desired that you preach. He told me quite a few times, "Why don't you pull him out?" You know, I also tried to some extent before, but somehow or other it did not work out. Now, why don't you come and stay at Mayapura?”

Shrila Shridhara Maharaja: “At last Prabhupada told me that, ‘You are an ease lover.’ The qualifications that you have.”

Shrila Prabhupada: “Yes, that’s true. He (Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura) told me also, ‘He is such a qualified person. Shridhara Maharaja is one of the finest preachers.’ I want to take you everywhere. At least at the place we have in Mayapura, people are coming from all over the world. Why don't you come and stay there? What is your objection to staying in Mayapura? If you just agree, then whatever kind of building you want, I will arrange it for you. They are trying to build a house for me, so both of us will stay there. And whenever you want, you can come here (to your matha).”

Shrila Shridhara Maharaja: “Yes, as long as I am alive to fulfill Prabhupada's (Bhaktisiddhanta’s) desire.”

Shrila Prabhupada: “This is my earnest desire. Since you could not go around the world and preach, at least stay there and people will come to you. I shall make that arrangement. If you stay, then it will be very helpful to me also. Sometimes I need to consult with someone but there is no one. There is no one that I can consult. I feel this deficiency very greatly.”

Devotee: “If he stays in Mayapura, then, all kinds of people will get to hear from him.”

Shrila Prabhupada: “Yes, that's right.”

Shrila Shridhara Maharaja: “Yes, people from all kinds of cultural backgrounds will come there.”

Shrila Prabhupada: “Yes, they are already coming. And in that house I will make arrangements for an elevator so that you won't have to go through the difficulty of walking up and down the stairs. You won't even have to move a step yourself. I'll make arrangements for a car and a lift. Jayapataka Maharaja is telling me that he will build a house for me. So, both of us will stay in that house. Most of the time I am just traveling around, so if you are there, then they can get some guidance. So, Maharaja, please, give me the order and I will make all the arrangements for you.”

(Room Conversation in Bengali, Navadvipa, Shri Caitanya Sarasvata Matha, 10th February 1977)

Only days after this room conversation between Shrila Prabhupada and Shrila Shridhara Maharaja in 1977, our Guru Maharaja began to manifest his illness and disappearance pastimes. Had Shrila Shridhara Maharaja come to stay on ISKCON property during those times and during the days of the ‘Magnificent Eleven’ who usurped the position of the acarya of ISKCON after the departure of Shrila Prabhupada, it is unimaginable to think what horrendous offenses the leaders of ISKCON would have made to Shrila Shridhara Maharaja. As it was, even while staying in his own matha, ISKCON leaders mortified Shrila Shridhara Maharaja by their uncivilised and un-Vaisnava like behavior –

Shrila Shridhara Maharaja: “I am an old man, I am tired, excited, I am very, very sorry, (crying) really I say with folded palms that you are ill-treating me. I am very sorry. Swami Maharaja (Shrila Prabhupada) was so affectionate, I also treated with such affection to him. And rudely you are behaving towards me. I am very much mortified for that, but what can I do? I am a small man…. If you give so much stress to his (Shrila Prabhupada) words, then he wanted to make me president. Of course, I remember that. Once, he came and proposed to me, requested me to become president of ISKCON. That he did. But it is very deplorable to me to think that the so-called ISKCON committee is so eager to go away from me. In other words, I see that they are digging their own grave.” (Conversation with ISKCON GBCs, Navadvipa, Shri Caitanya Sarasvata Matha, 5th March, 1982)

Again I will mention that if Shrila Prabhupada’s godbrothers had accepted his offer, beginning with Shrila Tirtha Maharaja in 1965 and Shrila Shridhara Maharaja in 1973 and 1977, or even before when Shrila Prabhupada wanted to start another organisation after the breakup of Gaudiya Matha, making Shrila Shridhara Maharaja the head, then there may have never been an ISKCON or even disciples of Shrila Prabhupada.

From my perspective, it appears that the statement of _______Goswami and others of a similar mentality echoes the Judeo-Christian way of thinking. It is ‘judeo’ in the sense that ISKCON leaders are, step by step, turning Shrila Prabhupada’s ISKCON into a messianic personality cult. Christians accept that Jesus was crucified to die for their sins, resurrected on the third day and ascended to heaven to sit on the right hand of God, but they reveal their hypocrisy by condemning the Jews for the death of Jesus – without who's death there could never have been salvation for Christians. Similarly, ISKCON’s present leaders like _________Goswami glorify Shrila Prabhupada as a pure devotee from birth who singlehandedly, by the desire of Krishna, spread Krishna consciousness around the world, yet at the same time condemn Shrila Prabhupada’s godbrothers for not accepting his offer to be the acarya or president, for not accepting the preaching to be done under Shri Mayapura Caitanya (Gaudiya) Matha, and for not cooperating with Shrila Prabhupada.

The fact is that some godbrothers did cooperate with Shrila Prabhupada – especially Shrila Shridhara Maharaja. A small, but significant example of the cooperation between Shrila Prabhupada and Shrila Shridhara Maharaja, and the high esteem in which Shrila Prabhupada held Shrila Shridhara Maharaja, can be shown in the following incident.

During the foundation laying at Mayapura Candrodaya Mandira in 1972, Shrila Prabhupada invited Shrila Shridhara Maharaja to attend. When Shrila Shridhara Maharaja arrived, Shrila Prabhupada came out to greet him and holding Shrila Shridhara Maharaja’s hand, took him to his room and sat him down on his bed. Prabhupada then arranged for some tender coconuts and the two talked briefly. Then, leaving Shrila Shridhara Maharaja sitting on the bed, Shrila Prabhupada went down to the field to attend the function. Having completed the bhumi-puja, Shrila Prabhupada returned to his room. At that time, Govinda Maharaja, a disciple of Shrila Shridhara Maharaja, asked, “You invited Shridhara Maharaja to the function, but you left him in your room and went to the field to do everything yourself? What is the meaning?”

Shrila Prabhupada replied, “Shridhara Maharaja should not be bothered with such details. The fact is that simply by his presence here at our temple, everything is auspicious, by his grace! There is no need for him to walk down to the field.” After this, Shrila Prabhupada and Shrila Shridhara Maharaja sat together on Prabhupada’s verandah and honoured prasadam.

Srila Prabhupada and Srila Sridhara Maharaja taking prasadam.jpg

Shrila Prabhupada and Shrila Shridhara Maharaja taking prasadam together

It is a fact that Shrila Prabhupada went many times to see Shrila Shridhara Maharaja and Shrila Prabhupada’s disciples (such as Achyutananda Prabhu) were sent to Shrila Shridhara Maharaja’s asrama to learn from him. There they learned how to perform guru-puja and they also learned how to perform Vyasa-Puja when Shrila Prabhupada and his disciples attended the Vyasa-Puja of Shrila Shridhara Maharaja in 1967:

“Yesterday we have all come to Navadvipa. This place is another establishment of one of my godbrothers. It is very nice and extensive place and my godbrother, B.R. Shridhara Maharaja has spared one entire nice house for my stay. He has also agreed to cooperate with our society. We shall observe his birthday ceremony tomorrow and the brahmacaris shall learn how to celebrate the spiritual master's birthday.” (26th October, 1967 - Letter to Satsvarupa Dasa)

By faulting Shrila Prabhupada’s godbrothers in the way that ________Goswami has done, many of Shrila Prabhupada’s disciples fail to see the arrangement of Krishna. Thus, they reveal themselves to be hypocrites and remain kanistha devotees, or worse still, aparadhis.

Furthermore, a consideration that these devotees are self-condemned kanistha-adhikaris is the fact that anyone, after fifty years of devotional service, who continues to think that all the living entities in the material world, in countless numbers of universes, were once pure devotees of Krishna absorbed in love of God eternally in Goloka Vrndavana one day were overcome by lust and became envious of Krishna, and were thus cast down to the worlds of birth, death, old age and disease is clearly a kanistha, despite their having achieved a Phd in Sanskrit and risen to the heights of leadership in ISKCON.

Yes, you heard me correctly! They cannot understand, due to their Vaisnava aparadha and kanistha mentality, where the soul comes from. It is similar to what Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita regarding the nature of consciousness:

ascarya-vat pasyati kascid enam
ascarya-vad vadati tathaiva canyah
ascarya-vac cainam anyah srnoti
srutvapy enas veda na caiva kascit

“Some look at the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.” (Bhagavad-gita 2.29)

A108-AI

Guru-padashraya

Question: Is it correct to say that we shouldn’t necessarily take everything our acaryas say literally? We don't blindly follow as Srila Prabhupada has written in the purport to Bhagavad-gita 4.34, correct?

Answer: We should accept our previous acaryas(parama-guru etc.) in whatever way our own guru has accepted them. Having firm faith in our guru is the key to all success in Krsna consciousness. Of course, that pre-supposes our having accepted a bona-fide spiritual master, one who knows the science of Krsna.

tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah

“Just try to understand this knowledge by approaching a self-realised person who has seen the truth. Make submissive inquiry and render service unto him. The tattva-darsi, the seer of the truth, will instruct you and give you initiation into this sacred path.” (Gita 4.34)

Statements by our guru, or previous acaryas, that may be seen as relative are not the statements made regarding the Absolute Truth, but statements concerning relative topics like politics, weather, health, etc. Absolute statements about relative subjects are rare, but sometimes occur. Most statements, true or false, about relative subject matters are relative in any case.

Why ‘we don’t blindly follow’ as Srila Prabhupada has mentioned in the purport to Bhagavad-gita4.34 is in reference to not blindly accepting a spiritual master in the first place, as is the case in many instances in today’s Vaisnava world. It does not refer to how one should follow the guru afterhaving accepted initiation. If the guru is bona-fide (sad-guru) and knows the science of Krsna, then yes – one could follow blindly, as in the case of ‘the rope is a snake.’ However, if the guru one accepts has meagre knowledge of the science of Krsna, or has become envious of pure Vaisnavas, then the disciple has to be attentive and intelligent enough to save himself.

Although Gaudiya Vaisnavism has spread all over the world, it can be said that it is weaker now in proper siddhanta and proper behaviour than ever before. Quantity does not always guarantee quality. The 'big institution' can simply become a 'big mess', failing in its original purpose. In fact, it is usually the case when quantity increases, quality decreases, or when quality increases, quantity will decrease. This we can see practically – the big institutions become absorbed in expanding their properties and numbers, whereas smaller independent groups of devotees and preachers, though fewer in numbers, are more concerned with quality and proper conception.

We once heard that in the ________ Maharaja camp there were 200 devotees at a kirtana in Los Angeles and all were crying in ecstasy! I for one did not take it seriously because I know for certain that real ‘ecstasy’ is not that common – it is very, very rare, su-durlabha. That everyone was crying, I could believe because shedding tears comes easily for Sahajiyas and sentiment-mongers. But to say that they were all in ‘ecstasy’ is self-deception.

The key to everything is guru-nistha, firm faith in guru. Reading many sastras and hearing many opinions can, and oftentimes does, become a case for bewilderment. While reading sastra and listening to hari-katha one should always keep in mind the question, “Who am I serving? Under who's asraya (shelter) am I reading and hearing hari-katha?” Reading sastra without asraya of our guru is knowledge-seeking and does not produce bhakti. Here is a nice quote from Srila Sridhara Maharaja in that regard:

“Our Godbrother, Nisikant Sanyal said that when we are requested by a Vaisnava to write or read any book, then that constitutes devotion. But when of our own accord we read any devotional book, that won’t give us devotion. That will be karma or jnana. To surrender unconditionally to the instruction coming down to us, that is bhakti. All else is imitation. We find this warning everywhere. This we should understand. Even reading the scriptures is not devotion unless done on the order of the Vaisnava. Independent reading is only knowledge-seeking.” (Follow the Angels Ch.1)

All our reading, researching, listening to hari-katha, etc. is to one end and one end alone, and that is guru-padasraya and guru-nistha, to take shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Guru and His Grace with firm faith and conviction — without which, we are lost, a ship without a rudder or a captain.

yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mhatmana

“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports [truths] of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.” (Svetasvatara Upanisad6.23)

Accepting the asraya of guru is actually the first step in bhakti-yoga. If this step is omitted, then all other practices are futile. In the following verse, Srila Rupa Gosvami gives us the first four steps in the practice of sadhana-bhakti.

guru-padasrayas tasmat krsna-diksadi-siksanam
visrambhena guroh seva sadhu-vartmanu-vartanam

(1) Submission to the feet of the guru (spiritual master); (2) Receiving training from him in spiritual initiation and practices regarding Sri Krsna; (3) serving the spiritual master with affectionate zeal; (4) Following in the path of saints. (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.74)

If one has lost faith in his diksa-guru due to the guru having meagre knowledge of the science of Krsna, having abandoned the principles of bhakti-yoga or having become envious of the pure Vaisnavas, then one may be left with little recourse but to take shelter of the holy name and the sastra. However, the example of being cast into the ocean without a boat or a captain is appropriate here. In the ocean a life-jacket, or even a lifeboat, may keep one afloat for some time, but not forever – one must reach land or board another ship sooner or later, otherwise death is certain. One cannot simply float around the ocean forever. Similarly, if one has lost faith in his guru for genuine reasons, then taking shelter of the holy name and the sastra will sustain one for some time, but not for all time. With the help of the holy name, sastra and sincerity within, we must again find the asraya of sad-guru. Otherwise, we remain in limbo. We may attain some karma-misra-bhakti or jnana-misra-bhakti, but we will never reach the goal of jnana-sunya-bhakti, pure devotional service. Guru-padasraya is the greatest of our necessities to be fulfilled.

Question: In one place, Srila Sridhara Maharaja has said –

“The position of acarya is a relative thing, and the position of the disciple is also relative, just like the relationship between mother and child, father and son, wife and husband. Although to his godbrothers a guru will be seen in a relative position, to his disciple, the guru is absolute. So to adjust between the relative and absolute is a difficult thing; it is an eternal problem.”

Yet in another place, Srila Sridhara Maharaja seems to make an opposite statement, saying that the disciple sees the guru as relative –

“Otherwise, as long as possible, the rank should be respected. Both the relative and absolute consideration- side by side. The disciples should be encouraged by the relative consideration mostly. And godbrothers will have more feel for the absolute consideration.”

Answer: Yes, in this last statement Srila Sridhara Maharaja is explaining how to maintain the balance in a triple relationship between the acarya, the acarya’s godbrother and the acarya’sdisciple – a difficult relationship indeed. Sridhara Maharaja says that the rank must be respected and so the godbrother gives respect to his acarya godbrother as in the absolute position in order to encourage the newcomer. The disciple on the other hand, though normally seeing his guru as absolute, in the triple relationship, sees the relative position of his guru in that his guru and his guru’s godbrother are in fact just that – godbrothers. Sridhara Maharaja explains in this way:

“In trying to understand the relationships between guru and godbrother and guru and disciple, we will find very subtle points of sentiment. Just as when Krsna entered into the arena of Kamsa, he appeared differently to different persons – the disciples will have one view of their guru and his godbrothers will have another view and disposition. The disciples of a genuine guru will see their guru as being with Krsna, but that may not be seen to his godbrothers. In madhurya-rasa, Krsna is seen in one way, and in vatsalya-rasa, Mother Yasoda sees Him in another way. The servants see Him in another way. The rsis like Garga Muni will see Him in another way. As Krsna likes to show Himself, He will be seen.”

I appreciate your questions because I think you are intelligent and sincere, but at this time, I think the Lord in your heart is your best friend and guide. Search with all earnestness and you will find what you are looking for. 

A108-AI

Question: Why is it that that the two types of eternally liberated beings, namely those in the Vaikuntha planets and those in Goloka, have been directly manifested there without undergoing the process of choosing which side they will go? Why are they spared making a choice and we are not? It doesn’t seem fair. Also, what is the necessity of this material world?

Answer: In response to your questions, we turn to our acaryas and their words on the subject in addition to our own realisations on this.

Srimati Radharani’s servitors are manifested from Herself, whereas other parsadas (associates) in the spiritual world are manifested from Baladeva. All these eternal parsadas in Vaikuntha are already complete in bhakti and full of love for Krsna. Theirs is a special case. However, the jivas originating from the tatastha (marginal plane) with imperfect discrimination do not have the same fortunate position from the beginning – this is the Lords prerogative to create His own associates in the spiritual realm. Their bhakti is eagerness for Krsna’s association and love for Him. They serve Him by associating with Him. 

It is the Lord’s desire that He has such nitya-mukta parsadas (eternally liberated associates) to associate with. They are not ordinary jivas like you and I. As shown in the quotes from our acaryasbelow, they are eternal and since in the spiritual world there is no past, present or future, there is no conception of their creation. Time is a concept only available here in the material world.

Are we to question Lord Krsna’s motivation? I think not! This is an important component of bhakti-yoga. Bhagavad-gita 4.34 mentions three qualifications in approaching the guru – pranipat, pariprasna and seva, or surrender, submissive inquiry and service. Submission is imperative.

In Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura’s Gurvastakam prayers, which Srila Prabhupada introduced in all his temples, the first verse states how the guru is like rain extinguishing the forest fire of material existence (samsara davanala lidha lokah tranaya karaunya ghanaghanatvam) – this is the guru’s mercy. Similarly, the last verse states that by the mercy of the guru we attain the mercy of Krsna, but without the guru’s mercy we cannot attain Krsna’s mercy (yasya prasadad bhagavat prasado yasyaprasadan na gathi kuto’pi).

The point here is that we are dependent upon mercy, and mercy requires a humble, submissive approach. Prasada means the Lord’s mercy. We are dependent on it and cannot progress at all or even understand philosophy without the His mercy. This means we must be submissive and unchallenging to the Lord and His representatives. We can never attain the Lord’s mercy without submission and humility. This doesn’t imply that we become blind followers, but this is an integral part of the process of advancing in Krsna consciousness. Bhakti, according to Rupa Gosvami in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, is not only favorable to Krsna, but is pleasing to Krsna (anukulyena krsnanusilanam), and by pleasing His representatives, we please Krsna.

Our siksa-guru Srila Sridhara Maharaja states that absolute surrender is required to come to the highest platform of devotion, so we must inquire submissively and not in a challenging way.

When one is seriously interested in devotional advancement and has progressed sufficiently to such an extent that we are eager and earnest to please Krsna, then it is essential to accept our acarya’swords and instructions as non-different from the words of the Supreme. Ergo, we must accept their words as conclusive with the understanding that it is Krsna’s will that it is as it is. Krsna is the King of all rasas (akhila-rasamrta-murti) and the Supreme Enjoyer, therefore He should not be questioned or criticised simply because we feel neglected or unfairly treated.

Lest we forget, He is the enjoyer – not us! We have to earn our position in Vaikuntha by a life or even lifetimes of devotion, purifying ourselves through volumes of service. As we progress, we become more and more absorbed and ecstatic. The process is susukham kartam avyayam – joyful and everlastingly performed.

Mercy also means that it is not always bestowed upon us – sometimes we may be passed over. An advanced devotee however, will also accept this as the Lord’s mercy, or sometimes even as a test. All our acaryas proclaim this throughout their writings.

You have asked what is the necessity of the material world? Our philosophy is that this world is created by Krsna for the jiva-sakti (living entities). We are given free will to do as we wish, right or wrong, and our wrongs cause our suffering. This suffering is our own fault – not Krsna’s. Other religions (ie. Christianity) cannot explain why a newborn child may suffer, but we can understand it is the child's karma from its past.  Constitutionally, we are all servants or Krsna, but with our imperfect discrimination, we chose to come here and now it is up to us to try to understand our true nature and duty. The Lord helps us by sending the scriptures, the sadhus, the guru and even sometimes manifesting Himself. He also helps us internally as the Supersoul.

Because of our free will, we have a choice to not love the Supreme, so when we develop bhakti and come to truly love Krsna, then our love means a lot to Him. You think that you deserve to be originally in the spiritual world, but why not all the living entities? Why not? Because that is not Krsna’s desire. His arrangement is that some are there as His eternal associates and some are here to hopefully develop their bhakti and qualify to enter the spiritual realm. That is His will, so we must accept it.

Our acaryas recommend that we not worry about why we are here, but rather ask how we get out of here, i.e., by qualifying ourselves to attain the spiritual realm. That is the mercy we have received.

These philosophical topics are very deep and require some time, study and mercy to assimilate and comprehend. Below are some quotes from Srila Sridhara Maharaja and Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Jaiva Dharma about the above topic:

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Srila Sridhara Maharaja: I mentioned that two kinds of jivas come to this world. One type are already from Vaikuntha, that is by the necessity of the nitya-lila of Krsna, they had to come here as a part of lila. And another comes by necessity - a constitutional necessity. From Brahma-loka, their balance, their stage of equilibrium, is disturbed somehow and movement begins amongst them in the Brahma-loka.  (March 5th, 1981)

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At that time, I could not understand what Professor Sanyal had written. Then later I read that some jivas are born out of Baladeva’s anga-jyoti, the Brahma-jyoti, the non-distinguishable divine effulgence. That is the source from whence some of us are born. Some have connection with Baladeva’s anga-jyoti, but others originate from the halo of Radharani and Her group. These souls have a direct connection with Radharani. She is their Mistress and they necessarily follow whatever She does.  (Follow the Angels, Part 3)

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Sudhira Gosvami - Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Jaiva Dharma says that the jivas are emanating from the effulgence of Baladeva, right?

Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Mostly. Mostly. Baladeva means that is Krsna in a particular stage, particular degree. What to speak of ordinary jiva? Vatsalya, sakhya-rasa, santa-rasa, dasya-rasa – all the servitors come from Baladeva. Baladeva is the root of all those jivas. From Baladeva comes Karanabdhisayi Visnu. And from Him, not the direct connection but it is expansion, is jiva, and he is eternally existing. He is not created, it is existing there, but direct coming from Baladeva in their existence. Creation means that. Creation is coming in our cognition, that is creation. It comes from our cognition, it exists before and after – it is eternal. The Lord and His potency and His different aspects are eternal. And their expansions also they are eternal. We think in that way. But our covering (?) sometimes may be taken as creation, it comes to our understanding we may think it is creation. (Undated transcript)

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Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 15:

Raghunatha Dasa Babaji: Cit-sakti is Krsna's full and absolute spiritual energy. Anything she creates is eternally perfect. Jiva is not an eternally perfected (nitya-siddha) being; through sadhana (the process of practical devotional service) he becomes perfected (sadhana siddha) and experiences the same level of spiritual bliss as a nitya-siddha. The four classes of saktis of Srimati Radhika are Her nitya-siddha associates and are Her kaya-vyuha expansions, while Radhika is cit-sakti Herself (cit-sakti-svarupa).

The jivas are produced by Krsna's jiva-sakti, or marginal potency. Cit-sakti is Krsna full and complete potency (purna-sakti), whereas jiva-sakti is Krsna incomplete and partial energy (apurna-sakti). All full and absolute principles are transformations of the purna-sakti, and the infinitesimal spiritual having entities are the transformation of the apurna-sakti. Lord Krsna expands Himself taking up forms appropriate for presiding over the different manifestations of His sakti. In the cit-sakti manifestation Lord Krsna presides over in His original form as Krsna and as Narayana, the Lord of Vaikuntha. When presiding over jiva-sakti He expands as Lord Balarama, His vilasa-murti (expansion who assists Krsna is His pastimes). In maya-sakti He accepts the triplicate Visnu expansions of Karanodakasayi, Ksirodakasayi and Garbhodakasayi.

As Krsna, in Vraja, He brings into existence everything that is fully and wholly spiritual. As Balarama, He accepts the form of Ananta-sesa and generates the eight varieties of servitors, the eternally liberated associates of the supreme Lord Krsna (nitya-parsada), to execute the eight types of devotional service to Krsna. While in Vaikuntha, Lord Balarama expands as Sankarsana (Sesa) to generate eight varieties of nitya-parsadas of Lord Narayana to accomplish the eight kinds of service to Him. Lord Sankarsana further incarnates as Maha-Visnu to preside over maya-sakti, then accepts the form of Paramatma and generates the conditioned jivas, who are inclined towards maya.

As long as the conditioned souls do not receive the shelter of the Lord's internal spiritual potency, hladini-sakti, by His mercy alone, they are always prone to be subjugated by maya. In maya'scaptivity they are obedient to the dictates of the three modes of material nature (triguna). Hence the conclusion is that jiva-sakti gives birth jiva – cit-sakti does not produce the jivas.

 

Vrajanatha: I heard you say earlier that the spiritual world as well as the jivas are eternal; how is it possible for eternal entities to have birth, appearance or creation? If at a certain time they appear because they were non-existent before it, how does that confer eternality upon them?

Raghunatha Dasa Babaji: Time and space as you experience in this material world is quite apart from time and space in the spiritual world. Material time is divided into three sections – past, present and future; but in the spiritual world time is an unfragmented continuum – it is perennially present there. All spiritual activities, and happenings in the transcendental realm are perceived in the present (vartamana) time. Whatever incident we describe is laced with, and rooted in mundane place and time factor. Therefore, when we discuss spiritual subjects and say things like – jivabecame later entangled in maya; the spiritual world was created; only cit-sakti plays the protagonist in jivas creation and not maya and so on, our words are influenced by material time concept. Such conditioning in our captive status is very natural and inevitable. All discussions on jiva and transcendence cannot be divorced from mundane time concept and hence we must talk in terms of past, present and future.

When you are trying to understand the purport of this topic keep in mind that a person who is solely searching the pure essence will perceive and apply the concept of eternal continuous present time factor. Dear young man, you must be extremely cautious on this subject reject the unavoidable mundaneness of it and simply assimilate the spiritual thought.

A108-AI

Diksa & Siksa

Sri%252520Sri%252520Radha%252520Govind%2Question: The question may be asked that if one has a diksa-guru who has given permission to take siksa from another guru, but the siksa-guruis revealing things that puts the diksa-guru in a more relative position, then what is the disciple to do? How does the disciple harmonise the two, or maybe it is not possible to harmonise. What should the disciple do in that case?

Answer: Diksa and siksa-gurus are explained in Srila Prabhupada’s purport to Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.47 as being equal manifestations of Krsna. The initiating spiritual master (diksa-guru) is a personal manifestation of Madana-mohana vigraha, whereas the instructing spiritual master (siksa-guru) is a personal representative of Govinda-deva vigraha. Furthermore, it is stated that Madana-mohana represents the stage of sambandha and Govinda-deva represents the stage of abhidheya.

Though both diksa and siksa-gurus are equal manifestations of the Paramatma (the Lord of the heart), when a real conflict occurs, the higher position is given to the siksa-guru. By ‘real conflict’ I mean to say when the diksa-guru is giving inferior instruction – then such a diksa-guru may be respected at a distance, or if really bad, completely rejected. An example here to keep in mind is Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whose diksa-guru was Vipina-vihari Gosvami. Bhaktivinoda took mantra-diksa from Vipina-vihari Gosvami, but because of material and caste-conscious (society conscious) thinking within Vipina-vihari Gosvami, Bhaktivinoda distanced himself from him and accepted Jagannatha Dasa Babaji as his siksa-guru (sad-guru).

The situation in today’s Vaisnava world is quite lamentable and I personally feel sad for the situation that many devotees find themselves in today. There are probably 100 initiating gurus in the Hare Krsna movement, but a vast majority of them (if not all of them) are simply institutional gurus and fall short of being the representatives or manifestations of Krsna. In other words, they are not in the guru-tattva.

These institutional-gurus are fine with their disciples taking siksa within the frame work of their society consciousness (as in _____ Swami’s book, ‘Siksa-guru in ISKCON’), but the problem arises when Krsna conscious siksa comes into conflict with their society consciousness. This is a real problem for many devotees in the Hare Krsna movement who have become inspired by the siksa of Srila Sridhara Maharaja or his representative, and at the same time are condemned by their diksa-guru, or just find themselves uninspired by their diksa-guru and the institutional policies that they live under.

There are examples of devotees having to reject their diksa-guru and there are plenty of sastrikaquotes to support their doing so. However, my personal recommendation is that devotees should avoid having to completely reject their diksa-guru as far as possible. The diksa-guru may be uninspiring, yet he may still be in relatively good standing—continuing to follow the regulative principles and engaging in some form of devotional service, though not suddha-bhakti. In that case, I personally see no need for one to reject one’s diksa-guru completely and to seek re-initiation. I think it far better, remembering the example of Bhaktivinoda, to keep such an uninspiring diksa-guru at a respectable distance and pursue proper siksa. In some cases, a direct relationship with a Vaisnava as one’s siksa-guru may be pursued, and in other cases simply siksa from sastra may be the only recourse for the disciple.

It is indeed wonderful when one’s diksa-guru and siksa-guru can be seen as being equally representative of Krsna, without conflict or loss of inspiration – such as in our case, having taken our diksa-mantras from Srila Prabhupada and later, taken rupanuga-siksa from Srila Sridhara Maharaja. How wonderful indeed!

But that is not the situation that many, many devotees find themselves in today. Because ISKCON is so entrenched in society consciousness, they fail to see the real necessity of their disciples and instead of Krsna consciousness, they feed them International Society Consciousness (ISCON) – and they are proud of it.

Here are some quotes from sastra concerning the above matter. The first quote from Jiva Gosvami is the one I recommend devotees try to follow as far as possible. In other words, a lack of knowledge of pure devotional service may be tolerated to some extent, but offences to real Vaisnavas or nasty behavior are grounds for complete rejection.

From Jiva Gosvami’s Bhakti Sandarbha:

ata eva durata evaradhyas tadrso guruh vaisnava vidvesi cet parityajya eva

“If a guru does not permit his disciples to honor great devotees of the Lord, such a guru should be respected only from a distance, And, if he is envious of real Vaisnavas, he should be rejected. (Bhakti Sandarbha 238)


From Narahari Sarkara Thakura’s Krsna Bhajanamrtam:  

kintu yadi gurur asamanjasam karoti tarhi yukti-siddhaih
siddhantais tasya rahasi dandah karaniyo na tu tyajyah

“However if the guru commits inappropriate acts, then one should privately confront him and reprimand him using logical conclusions – but one is not to give him up.”

guror danda iti cen na
guror apy avaliptasya karyakaryam ajanatah
utpatha-pratipannasya parityago vidhiyate 

One should not be hesitant in reprimanding the guru because:

“It is one’s duty to give up a guru who cannot teach the disciple what he should do and what he should not do, and who takes the wrong path, either because of bad association or because he is opposed to Vaisnavas.” (Mahabharata, Udyoga-parva 179.25)

anena sarvam susobhanam iti

 “In this way, everything becomes most auspicious.”

svabhava eva vaisnavanam krsnasraya eva mulam
tad-guna-gana-yaso-varnana-vilasa-vinoda-prakhyapanam jivanam

“It is indeed the nature of Vaisnavas to take full shelter of Krsna. It is their very life to sing His glories and qualities, describe His fame and His pastimes, and distribute news about Him.”

vaisnavah sarve tad anusaram eva guru-mukhat va
sva-buddhya va vyavaharanti iti kramah

“All Vaisnavas follow this. They perform their activities either according to the instructions from the guru’s mouth, or by following their own intelligence. This is the proper process.”

tatra gurur yadi vi-sadrsa-kari isvare bhrantah krsna-yaso-vimukho
vilasa-vinodam na angikaroti svayam va durabhimani loka-stavaih
krsnatvam prapnoti tarhi tyajya eva

“But in this regard, if the guru commits improper activities, is bewildered about the Supreme Lord, is averse to propagating Krsna’s fame, does not relish or accept His divine pastimes, or becomes proud due to the praise of ordinary people, then he falls into darkness. Then he should be rejected.”

katham eva gurus tyajya iti no, krsna-bhava-lobhat krsna-praptaye
guror asrayah krtas tad-anantaram yadi tasmin gurau asuri-bhavas
tarhi kim kartavyam asura-gurum tyaktva sri-krsna-bhaktimantam
gurum anyam bhajet

“One should not think, ‘How can I reject my guru?’ With great eagerness to achieve Krsna’s divine nature, a devotee takes shelter of a guru. But later, if that guru takes on a demoniac mentality, then what can be done? Rejecting such a demoniac guru, one should accept and worship a guru who is full of bhakti for Krsna.”

tasya krsna-balad asurasya guror balam
mardaniyam iti vaisnava-bhajana-vicarah

“By strength gained through Krsna, the power of such an asurika guru is destroyed. Such is the deliberation on Vaisnava bhajana.”

(Sri Krsna Bhajanamrtam v.59-67)

From Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Jaiva-dharma:

“Before accepting a guru, one should examine him to see that he is expert in the tattva spoken in the Vedas and has realised para-tattva. If he is, then he will certainly be capable of giving all kinds of instructions about the Absolute Truth. Normally, there is no question of giving up the diksa-guru. There are two circumstances, however, in which he should be abandoned. First, if the disciple accepted the guru without examining the guru’s knowledge of the Absolute Truth, his Vaisnava qualities, and his other qualifications, and second, if after initiation, the guru does not perform any function, he should be given up. Many passages in sastras give evidence for this.”

yo vyaktir nyaya-rahitam anyayena srnoti yah
tav ubhau narakam ghoram vrajatah kalam aksayam

“He who poses as an acarya, but gives false instructions that are opposed to the sattvata-sastras, will reside in a terrible hell for an unlimited period of time, and so will the misguided disciple who mistakenly listens to such a false guru.” (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 1.62)

guror apy avaliptasya karyakaryam ajanatah
utpatha-pratipannasya parityago vidhiyate

“It is one’s duty to give up a guru who cannot teach the disciple what he should do and what he should not do, and who takes the wrong path, either because of bad association or because he is opposed to Vaisnavas.” (Mahabharata, Udyoga-parva 179.25)

avaisnavopadistena mantrena nirayam vrajet
punas ca vidhina samyag grahayed vaisnavad guroh

“One goes to hell if he accepts mantras from an avaisnava-guru, that is, one who is associating with women, and who is devoid of krsna-bhakti. Therefore, according to the rules of sastra, one should take mantras again from a Vaisnava guru.” (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 4.144)

“The second circumstance in which one may reject the guru is if he was a Vaisnava who knew the spiritual truth and principles when the disciple accepted him, but who later became a Mayavadi or an enemy of the Vaisnavas by the influence of asat-sanga. It is one’s duty to give up such a guru. However, it is not proper to give up a guru whose knowledge is meager, if he is not a Mayavadi or an enemy of the Vaisnavas, and is not attached to sinful activity. In that case, one should still respect him as guru, and with his permission, one should go to another Vaisnava who is more knowledgeable, and serve that Vaisnava and take instructions from him.”

(Jaiva-Dharma, Chapter 20)

From Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Hari-nama Cintamani:

tabe jadi e ghatana kabhu haya 
asat-sange gurura yogyata hata ksaya
prathame chilena tini sad-guru pradhana
pare nama-aparadhe hana hata jnana

“It may happen that for some reason, the guru at some time falls into bad association and loses the qualification to be a guru. Initially, when the disciple accepted him, he was exalted, but later due to offenses to the Holy Name, he became bereft of knowledge.”

vaisnava-vidvesi kari chade nama rasa
krame krame hana artha kaminira vasa
sei guru ccadi sisya sri krsna-krpaya
sad-guru labhiya punah suddha nama gaya

“He becomes inimical to Vaisnavas and loses taste for the Holy Name, then eventually, he becomes desirous of wealth and women. Such a guru should be rejected by the disciple, who, by the mercy of Sri Krsna, will again find a genuine guru and chant the Holy Name purely.” 

(Hari-nama Cintamani 6.39-42)

From Sarasvati Thakura’s commentary on Caitanya-caritamrta:

“One who gives instruction on hari-bhajana is the siksa-guru. The guru or acarya is never devoid of bhajana nor does he behave improperly. The mahant-guru who finds bliss in performing bhajanaand the caitya-guru who gives us the discrimination for accepting those things that are favorable to bhajana are the two types of instructors.

Instructions on bhajana differ according to differences within the stage of practice (sadhana) and attainment (sadhya). Sri Gurudeva, who bestows Krsna, by enriching his disciple with sambandha-jnana, reveals to him the realisation of his own service.

After attaining the mercy of the siksa-guru, the instructions, which are then given on the pure service of Visnu, are known as abhidheya.

The siksa-guru in the form of a servitor, the personification of abhidheya, is non-different from the diksa-guru - the bestower of sambandha-jnana. Both of them are Gurudeva.

To consider one greater than the other, or perceive them as unequal creates an offence. There is no difference between Krsna's form (rupa) and His very Self (svarupa) – there is no difference created by language.

The siksa-guru is Sanatana, the bestower of Madana-Mohana’s lotus Feet. To the jivas who have forgotten Bhagavan and are unable to wander in Vraja, he gives the realisation that Bhagavan’s feet are one’s highest attainment. The siksa-guru is Rupa, the bestower of the qualification to perform service to Govinda and to the feet of that Personality who is His Dearest One."

(Purport to Caitanya Caritamrta Adi-lila 1.47)

From Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s Sri Guru & His Grace:

Devotee: If the initiating guru falls down from the path, what should the disciple do?

Srila Sridhara Maharaja: “He may take shelter of the holy name of Krsna again and wait for some time. If the guru was at first a sincere disiciple of his spiritual master, and now as a result of some offenses he is being neglected by his guru, he may be led astray for some time. But he may return to the standard again. Still, it is said in the Mahabharata (Udyoga-parva 179.25):

guror apy avaliptasya
karyakaryam ajanatah
utpatha-prathipannasya
parityago vidhiyate

"A guru who does not know what is to be done and what is not to be done, who has left the path of devotional service, should be abandoned."

This is found in Bhisma's statement in the Mahabharata. Bhisma is one of the twelve mahajanas, and this is his statement to his astra-guru, Parasurama.’

“Jiva Gosvami says that if the guru goes astray he should be abandoned, but there may be circumstances where, by the inconceivable desire of Krsna, the guru may go astray for a time and then come back again. In that case, the disciple should wait for some time. It is very unfortunate for the disciple when such things happen. You will find this elaborately dealt with in the Hari-nama Cintamani of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. If a son leaves home and disobeys his father, the father may be indifferent to him; he may exclude him from the will. If, however, the son returns after some time and is again obedient, then he may collect his inheritance. In a similar way, a spiritual master may disobey his guru, and then his guru may be indifferent to him for some time, but again if he sets himself right, he will not be disinherited. This is explained in Bhagavad-gita (api cet suduracaro). So we should not deal very abruptly with these unfortunate incidents, but we should wait and see. Everything must be done judiciously.’

“In trying to understand the relationships between guru and godbrother and guru and disciple, we will find very subtle points of sentiment. Just as when Krsna entered into the arena of Kamsa, he appeared differently to different persons, the disciples will have one view of their guru and his godbrothers will have another view and disposition. The disciples of a genuine guru will see their guru as being with Krsna, but that may not be seen to his godbrothers. In madhurya-rasa, Krsna is seen in one way, and in vatsalya-rasa, Mother Yasoda sees him in another way. The servants see him in another way. The rsis like Gargamuni will see him in another way. As Krsna likes to show himself, he will be seen.’

“You may see the guru in your own way, but still, you'll have to behave in such a way that the newcomer's faith will not be disturbed. The newcomers should always be encouraged, because it is very difficult for a fallen soul to collect his faith and regard and offer it to the guru. It should be our concern that they collect their maximum regard and offer it to the guru. On the other hand, I may have my own conception about my godbrother. I may foster that within my heart. As much as possible I should try not to disturb his disciples. If, unfortunately, an acarya falls, and proves himself to be lacking in that capacity, then if that comes to a sufficient degree, some steps may be taken; we may have to take some unhappy action. But let God save us from that disastrous condition. That should be our feeling.’

“Otherwise, as long as possible, the rank should be respected. Both the relative and absolute consideration- side by side. The disciples should be encouraged by the relative consideration mostly. And godbrothers will have more feel for the absolute consideration. But still, they shouldn't disturb the newcomers in their premier position. Even if you think that the person performing the function of acarya is lower in qualification (adhikara) than you, still you should formally give some special honor to him because he is in that position. The son may be the judge, and the father may be the lawyer, but the father must give respect to the son. He must give respect to the chair. So that kind of adjustment should be kept in the mission. When you are alone, the acarya brother and his non-acarya brother can mix freely. You can give a slap to his face. But when publicly amongst his disciples, you must show that sort of behavior. Respectful conduct should be publicly maintained to keep up the peace of the mission.’” (Sri Guru & His Grace, Ch.8)

 

A108-AI

The Worship of Lord Narasimha

31437356_2105857142981559_5743393206385508352_n.jpgQUESTION: I have seen on your website that you have installed and worship Deities of Lord Narasimha in your ashram. When Gaudiya Vaisnavas are devotees of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna why do you worship Lord Narasimha?

ANSWER: The goal of a Gaudiya Vaisnava is to develop pure love for Sri Sri Radha-Krsna and all aspects of our practices lead to that end and to that end alone. Therefore, we worship Lord Narasimha who has the capacity to purify a heart filled with lust, to destroy the desire for fame and cunning behavior, to purify us from duplicitous dealings, to bestow fearlessness upon our weary souls and who's lotus feet bestow love for Sri Sri Radha-Krsna.

By the association of Lord Narasimha's devotees all obstacles (anarthas) are cast far away and one develops loving attachment for the holy names of Radha and Krsna.

Lord Narasimha also gives the benediction of being able to worship Sri Sri Radha-Krsna and to live peacefully without disturbance in the holy dhama (in this case Govindaji Gardens).

The devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu who have an affinity for Mayapura-dhama are often found to have an affinity for Lord Narasimha. This was especially true for the great Krsna consciousness pioneer, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and in recent times Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami. Both these great personalities manifested an affinity toward Lord Narasimha. Sri Advaita Acarya is also purported to have worshipped Lord Narasimha in the form of a Narasimha-saligrama with Tulasi leaves and Ganges water when He called Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to manifest in this world at Mayapura. So it is only natural for a follower of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to have an affinity toward Lord Narasimha.

We find at Yogapitha, the birth site of Sri Caitanya, that the Deity of Laksmi-Narasimha is established next to the shrine of Sri Sri Gaura Gadadhara. Srila Bhaktivinoda has said that Lord Narasimha attends the mangala-aratika at Yogapitha every morning. Thus a Deity of Lord Narasimha is established there.

Also at Nrsimhapalli in Navadvipa-dhama there is a very ancient temple of Lord Narasimha who came to that place and manifested His Deity form. After killing Hiranyakasipu Lord Narasimha came to rest at Nrsimhapalli and the Demigods and great devotees came there to worship Him.

At Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha, in the section of Mayapura known as Isodyana (the Garden of Srimati Radharani), Srila Puri Maharaja worshipped the Deity of Laksmi-Narasimha along with the worship of Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha and Sri Sri Gaura-Gadadhara. And every year on the day before Srila Puri Maharaja's Vyasa Puja all the devotees would go to Nrsimhapalli for darsana and a festival of kirtana and Hari-katha. Invariably the Hari-katha always touched upon the section of Srimad Bhagavatam call Prahlada-caritra wherein the pastime of Prahlada and Lord Narasimha is described. This section of Bhagavatam was also a favorite of Srila Gaura Kisora Dasa Babaji Maharaja as it was for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates in Jagannatha Puri.

gadadhara parena summukha bhagavata
suniya prakase prabhu prema-bhava yata
prahlada-caritra, ara dhruvera-caritra
sata-vrtti kariya sunena sarhita

"Whenever Sri Gadadhara would recite the Prahlada-caritra and Dhruva-caritra from Bhagavatam, the Lord would manifest various symptoms of love. The Lord would hear the glories of Prahlada and Dhruva hundreds of times." 
(Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya.10.13-14)

Sometimes pseudo-devotees of Radha-Krsna denounce the worship of Lord Narasimha and reject the chanting of Narasimha mantras. Such devotees do not know that if they themselves were to worship Lord Narasimha they might become free from their cunning and deceitful behavior and advance in their worship of Radha-Krsna.

However, we do not find in the writings of the Six Gosvamis that the gopis in Goloka Vrndavana worshipped Lord Narasimha. But neither did they worship Saligrama-sila or the Tulasi plant, all of which are recommended activities for devotees in the stage of practice.

Also we do not find any temples of Lord Narasimha established by the Six Gosvamis in Vrndavana. This absence of temples of Lord Narasimha in Vrndavana is certainly understandable because Lord Narasimha is not present in His fierce form where the love dalliances of Radha-Krsna are in progress.

But at Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha in Mathura established by Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja we find that the Ugra (angry) form of Lord Narasimha is established in a small shrine on the roof of that Matha (although no formal sringara or worship is offered). So at least in some situations we do find that Lord Narasimha is present in Vrndavana.

At Srivasangan in Mayapura, which is considered non-different from the mood of Vrndavana, and the place where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began His Sankirtana movement, there is a Deity of Ugra Narasimha killing Hiranyakasipu. The Deity is placed just in front of the Panca-tattva Deities. This is so because one day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to the house of Srivasa Pandita and manifested His mood as Narasimha. Since that time devotees have always considered Lord Narasimha to be the protector of the sankirtana movement. This pastime is mentioned in Caitanya-bhagavata Madhya-khanda, ch. 2, 253-269

"Walking by the riverbank, He (Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu) saw a herd of cows. They were mooing and drinking water. With raised tails some ran in the four directions. Some fought. Some napped. Some drank water. Seeing them, the Lord began to roar. I am He! I am He!" The Lord shouted again and again. In this way He ran to Srivasa's house.

"Srivasa, what are you doing now?", the Lord roared. Within his home, Srivasa was worshiping Lord Narasimha. Pounding again and again, Sri Caitanya broke the door open. Whom do you worship? On whom do you meditate? Look! The person you worship has come!" the Lord roared.

"Srivasa saw a form like blazing fire, Then his meditation broke. He looked in the four directions. He saw Sri Caitanya sitting in a virasana yoga posture. Sri Caitanya had four arms. He held a conch-shell, cakra, club, and lotus. He roared like a maddened lion. Slapping the palm of His hand against His left shoulder, He made a great sound. Seeing all this, Srivasa trembled. Then he became stunned. He did not move.

"The Lord roared, O Srivasa! For so many days you did not know My true identity? Because of your loud sankirtana I left Vaikuntha and came here with all My associates. Not knowing Me, You left Me and went to Santipura. I will rescue the devotees. I will kill all the demons. Don't worry. Now recite prayers to Me." Gazing at the Lord, Srivasa wept tears of love. The fears in his heart died. Now He was confident. His whole body was filled with joy.

"He offered dandavat obeisances. Then, folding his hands, he recited prayers. By his nature, Srivasa Pandita was a great devotee of the Lord. He accepted the Lord's order. By the Lord's desire, he recited prayers."

The Deity form of Ugra Narasimha is usually not worshipped by the devotees of Mahaprabhu or by the devotees of Radha and Krsna except in special situations or in special places. The Ugra form of the Lord is very fearful and hard to please. Of course such has become the fashion among certain devotees, but it is actually imprudent on the part of a devotee to think that he can pacify Lord Narasimha when the Lord is in an angry mood.

At the time of killing Hiranyakasipu Lord Narasimha manifested great anger, so much so that the Demigods, great devotees like Narada Muni, and even Laksmi (the Goddess of Fortune) were afraid to approach Him. Only the pure devotee like Prahlada Maharaja was able to approach Lord Narasimha at that time. So who are we to think that we are more qualified than great devotees like Narada or that we are equal to Prahlada Maharaja? But such is our audacity.

During the Ratha-yatra festival each year in Jagannatha Puri when Lord Jagannatha goes to the Gundica temple Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to take His sankirtana devotees for darsana of Lord Narasimha at a small temple just adjacent to Gundica. In that temple Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu performed congregational chanting of the holy names of Krsna and danced in ecstatic love of God before the Deity. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to manifest the bodily symptoms of love of God before the Deity such as loudly chanting the Holy Name, dancing in ecstasy, shivering and sometimes fainting.

Based on all these facts it is safe to say that the aspiring devotees should not unnecessarily avoid the worship of Lord Narasimha, for such would be an offence.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written five beautiful prayers in 'Sri Navadvipa Bhava Taranga' for receiving the mercy of Lord Narasimha. These prayers are certainly assurance to all sincere devotees that the worship of Lord Narasimha is purely in the line of aspiring love and devotion to Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. Those prayers are as follows.

e dusta hrdaye kama adi ripu chaya
kutinati pratisthasa sathya sada raya
hrdaya-sodhana ara krsnera vasana
nrsimha-carane mora ei to' kamana

Within my sinful heart the six enemies headed by lust perpetually reside, as well as duplicity, the desire for fame, plus sheer cunning. At the lotus feet of Lord Narasimha, I hope that He will mercifully purify my heart and give me the desire to serve Lord Krsna.

kandiya nrsimha-pade magibo kakhana
nirapade navadvipe jugala-bhajana
bhaya bhaya paya yan'ra darsane se hari
prasanna hoibo kabe more daya kari

Weeping, I will beg at the lotus-feet of Lord Narasimha for the benediction of worshipping Radha and Krsna in Navadvipa, perfectly safe and free from all difficulties. When will this Lord Hari, Whose terrible form strikes fear into fear itself, ever become pleased and show me His mercy?

yadyapi bhisana murti dusta-jiva-prati
prahladadi krsna-bhakta-jane bhadra ati
kabe va prasanna ho'ye sa krpa-vacane
nirbhaya karibe ei mudha akincane

Even though Lord Narasimha is terrifying toward the sinful souls, He offers great auspiciousness unto the devotees of Lord Krsna headed by Prahlada Maharaja. When will He be pleased to speak words of compassion unto me, a worthless fool, and thereby make me fearless?

svacchande baiso he vatsa sri-gauranga-dhame
jugala-bhajana hau rati hau name
mama bhakta-krpa-bale vighna jabe dura
suddha cite bhajo radha-krsna-rasa-pura

He will say, "Dear child! Sit sown freely and live happily here in Sri Gauranga-dhama. May you nicely worship the Divine Couple, and may you develop loving attachment for Their Holy Names. By the mercy of My devotees, all obstacles are cast far away. With a purified heart, just perform the worship of Radha and Krsna, for such worship overflows with sweet nectar."

ei boli' kabe mora mastaka-upara
sviya sri-carana harse dharibe isvara
amani jugala-preme sattvika vikare
dharaya lutibo ami sri-nrsimha-dvare

Saying this, will that Lord delightedly place His own divine lotus-feet upon my head? I will experience sublime love for the Divine Couple Radha-Krsna and undergo the ecstatic transformations called sattvika. Falling on the ground, I will roll about at the door of Sri Narasimha's temple.

(Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, - Sri Navadvipa Bhava Taranga, 36-40)

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