Holland, June 10, 2001 AM
Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
I want to explain something so that you will be very careful. I am receiving questions about the books published by the babajis of Vraja. They accept Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shri Nityananda Prabhu, and Shri Shri Radha-Krishna Conjugal. They have not written their own books. They only take books like Stava-mala by Shrila Rupa Gosvami, Stavavali and Vilapa Kusumanjali by Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi by Shri Prabhodananda Sarasvati, and other Gosvami books. They have taken our Gosvamis' explanations, which are in Sanskrit, and they are simply translating them into Bengali. Everything seems to be okay. However, you should know what are the defects of these babajis, and you should be very careful. You should carefully note down their defects in your hearts and your notebooks.
First of all they don't accept that the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya is one of the sakhas, branches, of the Brahma-Madhva Sampradaya, although this fact has been clearly explained by Shri Kavi Karnipura, Shrila Jiva Gosvami, and then by Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu. It has also been explained by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, by my Gurudeva, that is, Shrila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and also by Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja.
Secondly, they think that Shri Prabhodananda Sarasvati and Prakasananda Sarasvati are the same person, although there is so much difference between them. This cannot be so. Will a person of the Ramanuja Sampradaya go down to become a Mayavadi like Prakasananda Sarasvati, and then again become Prabhodananda Sarasvati, who was so exalted that he became the guru of Shrila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami? This idea is absurd. Prabhodananda Sarasvati and Prakasananda Sarasvati were contemporaries. Will the same person go back and forth, being a Vaisnava in South India, then becoming a Mayavadi, again becoming a Vaisnava in Vrindavan, and again becoming a Mayavadi? Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has vividly written about this, and great historians and research scholars have also rejected the idea that they are the same person.
Thirdly, they don't give proper honor to Shri Jiva Gosvami, and this is a very big blunder. This is a vital point. They say that Jiva Gosvami is of svakiya-bhava, that he never supported parakiya-bhava, and that he is against parakiya-bhava. They say that in his explanations of Shrimad Bhagavatam and Brahma-samhita, in his own books like Gopala Campu, and especially in his Shri Ujjvala-nilamani tika, he has written against parakiya-bhava. This is their greatest blunder. We don't accept their statements at all.
Shrila Jiva Gosvami was rupanuga, a pure follower of Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shri Rupa Manjari. However, for some devotees who were not very qualified at that time, who were beginners, and who did not know what is parakiya-bhava -- and even in Vraja there are so many like this -- he seemed to favor svakiya-bhava. For some followers, so that they would be able to come at least to vidhi-marga (worship according to the rules and regulations of Narada-pancaratra), Jiva Gosvami wrote as if he was a supporter of svakiya-rasa. He wanted that through this they should become qualified, and then they should come to the mood of parakiya. For qualified persons he has written that parakiya-bhava is in Vraja and svakiya-bhava is in Dvaraka. He has vividly written this, and he also accepted this. He can never be against the teachings of Shrila Rupa Gosvami, Shrila Sanatana Gosvami and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He can never be so. He was a follower of the same root idea of parakiya-bhava as Rupa Gosvami. For some unqualified persons he has written in that other way, but the babajis of Vraja cannot reconcile this. They are ignorant persons. They became opposed to Shrila Jiva Gosvami and took the side of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, even though in fact there is no dispute between Jiva Gosvami and Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.
Whatever Jiva Gosvami wrote for the benefit of those unqualified followers is in the line of tattva-siddhanta, established philosophical truths. He wrote that, by tattva, the gopis are Krishna-svakiya.
tabhir ya eva nija-rupataya kalabhih
goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhuto
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
["I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who resides in His own realm, Goloka, with Radha, who resembles His own spiritual figure and who embodies the ecstatic potency (Hladini). Their companions are Her confidantes, who embody extensions of Her bodily form and who are imbued and permeated with ever-blissful spiritual rasa."]
Nija-rupataya kalabhih. The gopis are Krishna's power. They cannot be parakiya in the eyes of tattva-siddhanta. They are the same as Krishna. They are the power of Krishna. They are also not the wives of any gopas, cowherd men, of Vrindavan. They are all beloved of Krishna, and they are not different from Him. Thus, by tattva, they are svakiya. (Sva means 'own' and kiya means sampatti, wealth.) This means they are of Krishna, Krishna's own, and they are His power. Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has written in the line of rasa-siddhanta or rasa-tattva. In rasa-tattva Yogamaya has arranged that both the gopis and Krishna think that the gopis are married to other gopas, and therefore they have a paramour relationship. If it were not like this, there would be no rasa at all. (Para means 'greatest', one's own greatest wealth, and it also means 'another', another's wealth. Therefore the meaning in both tattva-siddhanta and rasa-siddhanta is harmoniously reconciled.)
Shrila Rupa Gosvami has explained all these things, especially in Ujjvala Nilamani, and also in his other books. The gopis are Krishna's own, His power, but for rasa it is said that they are parakiya.
What is parakiya? There are two principles: atma-rasa and para-rasa, or eka-rasa and aneka-rasa. Krishna is eka-rasa or atma rasa. He is one rasa. In other words He is the complete embodiment of rasa. He is atmarama and aptakama. He is always full and satisfied in Himself. He doesn't need anything from anyone in order to be happy. The gopis are His own power.
Sakti-saktimatayor-abheda. Sakti, the energy, and saktiman, the possessor of that energy or power, are both one. They are identical. However, although Krishna has this quality, He is also para-rasa. Para-rasa means that the gopis are vaishisteya; that is, they also have a speciality that distinguishes them from Krishna. Although they are part of Krishna, although they are one with Him, their speciality is that they serve Him in the mood of rasa. Krishna is the enjoyer and they are the container or reservoir of love and affection. Krishna also wants to taste their mood. Aneka-rasa or para-rasa is the gopis' rasa, and Krishna wants to taste that rasa in various ways. That rasa is in the form of parakiya rasa, and this is the meaning of parakiya rasa -- nothing else. These are a very high-class of philosophical understandings, and Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has explained all these truths.
Therefore, Jiva Gosvami is not of a different opinion than Rupa Gosvami. They have the very same opinion. Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has proven that Jiva Gosvami was in parakiya-bhava, and that he accepted Shrimad Bhagavatam and Ujjvala-nilamani. [In his own Ujjvala-nilamani tika, Shrila Jiva Gosvami has written, "Svecchaya likitam kincit, atra kincid parecchaya. I have written some things by my own desire and some things by the desire of others. The portions which are consistent, in which svakiya and parakiya are reconciled and in the line of Rupa Gosvami, is my desire, and the portions that are not reconciled are written by the desire of others." I have written about all these topics in my book called Prabandha Pancakam, Five Essential Essays. You should try to know these things fully.
The babajis say that we are not a branch of the line of Madhvacarya. They say Madhvacarya is of a different opinion than the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. But this is quite wrong. We have so many specialties that are there in the line of Madhvacarya.
Also, they say that because Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa from Kesava Bharati, a Mayavadi, He, Himself, must be a Mayavadi. We don't accept this. Mahaprabhu's actual guru was Isvara Puripada, He only took vesa, red cloth, from Kesava Bharati, and there is no harm in this. Madhvacarya also did this, and Ramanujacarya as well. [Another point is as follows. Shri Madhvacarya accepted sannyasa from Acyutapreksa, who was also a kevaladvaita-vadi. Suppose we accept the opinion of the opposing party, just for the sake of argument. In that case, if Mahaprabhu is a kevaladvaita-vadi sannyasa, then by the same logic so is Madhvacarya. Where, then, is the obstacle to Shriman Mahaprabhuji's being in the Madhva Sampradaya, if both of them accepted the advaita-vadi Sankara's sampradaya?
There is a second point here. Shri Madhvacarya accepted eka-danda (a single staff of renunciation) according to the customs and regulations of the Sankara Sampradaya. It would be logically consistent to say that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu followed his ideal example, and also accepted eka danda-sannyasa from a sannyasi of the Sankara Sampradaya, namely Shri Kesava Bharati. From this it seems clear that Gaudiya Vaisnavas are in the line of Shri Madhvacarya.(from Five Essential Essays)] Sannyasa can be taken in this way. [During the time of Lord Chaitanya, the influence of Sankaracarya in society was very strong. People thought that one could accept sannyasa only in the disciplic succession of Sankaracarya. Lord Chaitanya could have performed His missionary activities as a householder, but He found householder life an obstruction to His mission. Therefore He decided to accept the renounced order, sannyasa. Since His acceptance of sannyasa was also designed to attract public attention, Lord Chaitanya, not wishing to disturb the social convention, took the renounced order of life from a sannyasi in the disciplic succession of Sankaracarya, although sannyasa was also sanctioned in the Vaisnava sampradaya. (Cc. Adi-lila 3.34 purp.)]
However, Mahaprabhu took gopal-mantra and other mantras from Isvara Puripada. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Rupa Gosvami, and Shrila Jiva Gosvami have accepted this -- that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was not a Mayavadi. Madhavendra Puripada also took sannyasa from a Mayavadi, but he took diksa initiation in the line of Madhva, and Laksmipati Tirtha was his guru.
We are thus in one line. There is some little difference in upasana-marga, but by tattva we are both the same. Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu has written about this very vividly, and the opinion of Kavi-karnapura is also that we are in the Madhva Sampradaya. He wrote a sloka about this.
Another point is that the babajis don't accept that Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhusana is in the Gaudiya Vaisnava line. They are vehemently opposed to this understanding. However, if Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu is out of our Gaudiya Sampradaya, then who is our savior? He went to Galta Gaddi in Jaipura and defeated the Shri Vaisnavas. He told them that Shrimati Radhika should be on the left of Krishna. He wrote a commentary on Vedanta Sutra called Govinda-bhasya, and that commentary has been accepted as the Gaudiya-bhasya (commentary representing the Gaudiya Sampradaya).
[As far as we in the Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya are concerned, our acaryas accepted Shrimad-Bhagavatam as the natural commentary on Brahma-sutra. The Gaudiya Sampradaya did not make any commentary on the Brahma-sutra because they accepted, and Chaitanya Mahäprabhu accepted, that Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the natural commentary because it was also written by Vyasadeva, the original author of Brahma-sutra. If the author has made his own commentary, there was no need of another. This is the Gaudiya-vaisnava-siddhanta. Sometime back, however, in Jaipur, there was a challenge that the Gaudiya Sampradaya has no commentary on the Vedanta-sutra. Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura was requested to go there, because he was the most senior Vaisnava scholar. He was living in Vrindavan at that time, and because he was very advanced in age at that time, he authorized Baladeva Vidyabhusana, "You do it. There is no need, but people are demanding, 'Where is your commentary on the Vedanta-sutra?'" Therefore, by the dictation of Govindaji at Jaipur, Baladeva Vidyabhusana, wrote the commentary on Brahma-sutra called Govinda-bhasya. In this way, the Brahma-Madhva- Gaudiya Sampradaya has also got a commentary on Brahma-sutra, and that is required. (from Shrila Prabhupada's lecture on Sept. 30, 1973)]
If Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu is not in our sampradaya, then what sampradaya is He in? All his commentaries are in the line of Shrila Rupa Gosvami and our Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas. If Baladeva Prabhu is out of our sampradaya, everything will be finished. This is a vital point.
Also, these babajis say that if anyone wears the saffron cloth of sannyasa, he is not in the Gaudiya Vaisnava line. They have no correct idea. It is stated in Chaitanya Charitamrita:
kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
yei Krishna-tattva-vetta, sei 'guru' haya
["It does not matter whether a person is a vipra (learned scholar in Vedic wisdom) or is born in a lower family, or is in the renounced order of life. If he is master in the science of Krishna, he is the perfect and bona fide spiritual master." (Madhya-lila 8-128)]
Krishna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami has written 'kiba nyasi'. Nyasi means sannyasi. Isvara Puripada, Madhavendra Puripada, and all renunciates in their line were sannyasis in saffron cloth. There are so many associates of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who wore saffron cloth. Svarupa Damodara also wore saffron cloth. What harm was there? Saffron cloth is the sign of renunciation. It is the color of anuraga, attachment for Krishna. Because it is a color, it is worn by sadhvis. Sadhvi means a married lady, a lady who is not a widow. 'Married' means having Krishna as one's beloved. We are not widows, but those who wear white cloths are widows.
From where has this word 'babaji' come in our line? From whom has it come? Isvara Puripada, Madhavendra Puripada, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, and after Him, Shri Rupa Gosvami, Shri Sanatana Gosvami, Shrila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Shri Jiva Gosvami, Shri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, and Shri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. After them, Krishna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami and Vrindavan dasa Thakura, and then Narottama dasa Thakura, Syamananda dasa, Shrinivasa Acarya, and Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. Where is the word babaji? Was anyone known as Babaji? From where did this word babaji come? The babajis have no reply. These Vaisnavas were all paramahamsa, not babaji.
Shri Sanatana Gosvami did not wear saffron cloth because he had great honor for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's saffron or reddish cloth. He was thinking, "I cannot be like Him, I am not so high." Therefore, out of honor and reverence he wore white cloth, and he used to worship this saffron cloth.
In Vraja, the Vrajabasis all used to call Sanatana Gosvami 'baba'. They called Sanatana Gosvami bara-baba, elder sadhu, and Rupa Gosvami chota-baba, younger sadhu. After them, others in their line took white cloth; but then, after the time of Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, they deviated. Some, like Jagannatha dasa Babaji, Madhusudana dasa Babaji, and Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, took this babaji name out of humility, and everyone used to call them that. [Baba means sadhu or father, and ji is a suffix meaning respectable. These mukta-mahapurusas are paramahamsas, and they are also the eternal associates of Radha and Krishna. They are far above the conception of babaji or sannyasa (which is within the varnasrama system). For them to accept the nomenclature babaji, therefore, is their humility.] [After Shriman Mahaprabhu, His lila-parikaras (eternal pastime associates) such as the six Gosvamis, Shri Lokanatha and Bhugarbha, and later Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja, Shri Narottama Thakura, and Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura were naturally niskincana paramahamsa Vaisnavas. There was no need for them to wear sannyasa-vesa, saffron cloth.
Secondly, Shriman Mahaprabhu had performed the lila of wearing sannyasa-vesa and saffron cloth. Thus considering themselves to be worthless, lowly and unqualified, these mahatmas did not wear sannyasa-vesa and saffron cloth in order to show honor and respect to the vesa of Shriman Mahaprabhu and also to maintain their own identities as servants under the shelter of His lotus feet. On the other hand, in order to express veneration for the niskincana paramahamsa-vesa of the associates of Shriman Mahaprabhu, and, under their guidance to preach His message throughout the entire world, many akincana Vaisnavas on the path of raganuga-bhajana, holding the paramahamsa-vesa upon their heads, have accepted a position below their worshipable superiors by wearing the saffron cloth of the sannyasa asrama which is included within the system of varnasrama dharma. These two customs, each having their own place, are both exquisitely beautiful and also completely in accordance with siddhanta. Today suddha-hari-bhakti has been, is being, and will continue to be, preached and spread throughout the world by these mahapurusas, great perfected saints, who wear this second type of niskincana sannyasi-vesa. (from Five Essential Essays)]
When Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura saw that many babajis were now bogus, that they were with widow matajis and producing sons, he became very furious and said that we will again accept the same saffron cloth of others like Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Mahaprabhu, and Isvara Puripada. He then preached everywhere in the world.
At that time, those family persons who were of loose character and had no status in society honored these bogus babajis. That is why Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura re-introduced the reddish cloth and sannyasa. Presently, those who are bogus persons, but were previously in the Gaudiya Matha, have become lusty and have thus been kicked out from the Gaudiya Matha. Now they have become babajis.
The babajis especially criticize Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, saying that he didn't have a guru. This is a bogus idea. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura preached the name and the glories of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya to the whole world. He wrote hundreds of books. Still, the babajis say he did not have a proper guru, and that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada also had no proper guru.
[A sadhaka may receive bheka (sannyasa vesa) from some suitable guru and alternatively, when genuine vairagya (in bhava-bhakti) arises, he may accept bheka from himself. Haridasa Thakura, the Six Gosvamis, Lokanatha Gosvami, and others are examples of the practice of accepting bheka from oneself. This is also the way that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura accepted sannyasa vesa after the disappearance of Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, from whom he had received the diksa mantra. We see from these examples that acceptance of bheka in this way is fully in agreement with sastra. Shri Ramanujacarya also accepted tridandi-sannyasa from himself after the disappearance of his guru Shrila Yamunacarya. (from Five Essential Essays)- ed ]
You should know that Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was in the Bhagavata-parampara of Shrila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja. Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was also in the line as the same Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and his guru, Shrila Gaura Kisora Das Babaji Maharaja. They were all in the same line.
Those in the babaji line say that our Guru Maharaja, Shrila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and even Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, were not in the proper disciplic line, and that they have no guru-parampara. But it is actually the babajis who are not in the guru-parampara.
I saw in France that so many devotees have given up Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, and they have become babajis. They took babaji-vesa, dor-kaupin and so on. Then, after two years, they fell down with mataji-babajis. They accepted and lived with divorced ladies. They are bound to do this. Thus, those who are not accepting that Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, our Guru Maharaja, Shrila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and all other high-class Vaisnavas are in the Gaudiya line, are completely ignorant. If you read their books this poison may come.
avaisnava-mukhodgirnam putam hari-kathamrtam
sravanam naiva kartavyam sarpocchistam yatha payah
["One should not hear anything about Krishna from a non-Vaisnava. Milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects. Similarly, talks about Krishna given by a non-Vaisnava are also poisonous."]
Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Vilapa Kusumanjali, and other books like Krishna Bhavanamrta, Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi, and Stava-vali are all good books. They are amrta, nectar. However, you should not hear them from non-Vaisnavas; otherwise the bogus ideas of such non-Vaisvnavas will come, and you will be deviated. Be very careful about this.
Another point is regarding bhajana-pranali. Instead of giving the proper process to the appropriate persons, without giving proper training, without considering whether a person is qualified or not, these babajis give their own version of bhajana-pranali. Their so-called disciples do not know who is Krishna or what is bhajana. They don't know any definition of bhakti, and they don't even know how to clean themselves after passing stool. They don't know anything. What will become of them?
naitat samacarej jatu
manasapi hy anisvaram
vinasyaty acaran maudhyad
yatharudro 'bdhi-jam visam
["One who is not a great controller should never imitate the behavior of ruling personalities, even mentally. If out of foolishness an ordinary person does imitate such behavior, he will simply destroy himself, just as a person who is not Rudra would destroy himself if he tried to drink an ocean of poison." (SB. 10.33.31)]
If someone is not qualified, but he wants to drink poison as Sankara did, he will die at once. First be Sankara, and then take poison. First be qualified.
First you should know Shrila Rupa Gosvami's Upadesamrta: vaco vegam manasa krodha vegam. Also read Manah Siksa. First learn tattva: maya-tattva, jiva-tattva, and Krishna-tattva. Afterwards, if you have actual greed, then you can read those other books. Otherwise, if you don't learn these principles first, you will be lusty, and you will be bound to deviate and give up bhajana and sadhana.
We should read Jaiva Dharma. There, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has explained all the ideas of Shrila Rupa Gosvami. First learn trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna / amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih. "One can chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than the tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respects to others. ln such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly." This was advised by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu:
ye-rupe la-ile nama prema upajaya
tahara laksana suna, svarupa-rama-raya
["O Svarupa Damodara Gosvami and Ramananda Raya, hear from Me the symptoms of how one should chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra to awaken very easily one's dormant love for Krishna." (Antya 20.21)]
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself gave us the instruction to have these qualities. Try to develop these qualities, and then you can read the other books. There are so many devotees around the world, especially in France, who are reading all these elevated books. However, they don't know Krishna-tattva or any other tattva, and they have no nistha, steady and strong faith, in their gurudeva. Gradually they are giving up Shrila Swami Maharaja, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and the entire guru-parampara. They criticize this line. Therefore, although the books which have been translated by these babajis are themselves bona fide, we should boycott them. Don't read them. If you are qualified like a hamsa, a swan, if you can separate milk from water, then you may read their translations -- otherwise not.
About ten years ago I went on Vraja Mandala Parikrama with Pujyapada Janardana Maharaja. We went to Radha-Kunda, and there we challenged the babajis. We had a discussion for three hours, but no one came. I have also challenged those babajis in my book, Five Essential Essays, but no one responded. After reading that book they wanted to take us to court, and I challenged them, "Yes, we will see you in court." But they never came. Their lawyers had advised them not to go to court, as they would have lost everything.
Don't be attracted to these sahajiya babajis of Vraja. You should be attracted to our guru-parampara: Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Shrila Jiva Gosvami, Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, and all those in our Bhagavata-parampara.
I have come to tell you these things only to make you all careful. Don't be bewildered. Try to be very strong, knowing all these points.