Srila B. R. Sridhara Maharaja
Srila B. S. Govinda Maharaja
The Exclusive Guradianship of Gurudeva
The One Channel of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math
Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear
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by Srila Bhakti Rakshaka Sridhar
Devotee: In Sri Brahma-samhita it is described that Sri Sri Radha and Krsna are seated on a divine throne, and the whorl of the lotus flower upon which They are seated is described as a hexagonal figure. What is the meaning of this hexagonal figure?
Srila Sridhar Maharaja: I am sorry, but we are not to enter into the discussion of such higher and subtle position of the Lila of Radha-Krsna. That is not to be brought into public, and that is the distinction between the Gaudiya Math and the sahajiya section. The sahajiyas are trying to imitate all these things, but we have no faith in imitation. The higher Lila will come in an individual case, and it will awaken in an irresistible way. When the program of the sadhana stage is finished it will come automatically, spontaneously. We are believers in that, and not to know the form already and then we will reach there - that is not the policy accepted by Guru Maharaja, Prabhupada (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura): pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura also said, "Stick to the rulings of the class you are fit for, then you will see automatically."
vindeta bhaktim krta-punya-rasih
tatha tathotsarpati hrdy akasmad
(Sri Chaitanya-chandramrta 88)
Strictly stick to Gaura-lila, Mahaprabhu, and you will find automatically within your heart that Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi is flowing. Don't attempt directly to have it. It will come automatically, spontaneously. Not intellectually you shall approach that, for that will give you a bad prejudice. Not only that, but it will be harmful prejudice and you will have to expend more energy to do away with that layer of misunderstanding. So our Srila Prabhupada did not allow these things. Do your duty in your plane, according to what you deserve, and that will come naturally. That is his instruction all through, not only temporarily, but all through. Don't go to be a disbeliever and be very eager to see the final result. Don't do like that, for then you will get Maya instead of Yoga-maya. He knows it fully well, She knows it fully well, when you are to be taken in to the confidential area, and that cannot be acquired by any other thing but His sweet will - the flow of Her sweet will, or His sweet will. Try to have the natural thing, not any thing of imitation or any reflection. Reflection and shadow, these two kinds of misconceptions may come there. Reflection is more dangerous. In Harinam also it has been stated like that. Reflection and shadow, both are misguiding. And we are to cross that. On our way that sort of temptation may come, but we must not think that everything will come within the fist of our intellect.
na tams tarkena yojayet
Don't take the inconceivable under the jurisdiction of reason. When it will be extended to you, you will be astounded to find only a peep into that. Na tams tarkena yojayet: don't try to drag that into the zone of reason. This is autocratic in its nature. It may come in one shape to you, it may go in another shape to another gentleman. It is so expansive and so free in its nature. It is infinite. Rather the Infinite is the base of those Pastimes. Always prepare yourself. Hanker. But don't make it an object of your experience. When Mahaprabhu talked about the higher Lilas it was as if He was in a trance. As if in a trance He gave a description of His wonderful experience of Krsna-lila. Several times we find that sort of deep Lila: the higher Lila of Krsna being related by Mahaprabhu Himself: the Govarddhan-lila and the Jalakeli-lila when He jumped unconscious into the ocean and for a few hours was carried by the waves of the sea to Chakra-tirtha from Swargadvar. The jalakeli of Krsna, He described how it is. A lso at Chatak Parvvat - there is no end to His Lila. When His body was transformed like a pumpkin, then also He described a Lila, but the nature of that description was not any book-produced thing. It cannot be taken into black and white. It is such a thing. So we receive caution often, that: "Don't try. It will come automatically. Go on with the program that is given by the Sastra and the Guru and it will be. If you have such possibility of fortune then it will come to you. It is not a natural experience that can be given to this and that. It is not to be tackled in such way."
Engage your full attention in Gaura-lila and that will come automatically within you. From the indirect way it will come to you from the higher domain. When it will be pleased it will come down for some time to give you experience, and you will simply be astonished, "What is this!" Then even when gone, withdrawn, you will have nothing to lament. It is a living thing. Try to come to get the whole. We cannot make it our object. Such higher thing! Such higher thing. Even it is very hard to see an ordinary man's conduct with his intimate friends, and so it is with the Lila of the Supreme Lord. How can we dare to enter into that, and especially publicly? It is not possible. Externally we can try to give some description of the outer possibilities, but not the actual thing. We won't venture to enter there.
Devotee: Can they draw something general, like a lotus flower?
Srila Sridhar Maharaja: A lotus flower is representing the idea of beauty, softness, and such things, and different petals representing different platforms of rasam. In such a way we can take it - beauty, softness. No mundane ideas should be drawn there - only distant similarity. But categorical difference should always be there.
Even we are not allowed by our Master to read the books where They are described: Govinda-Lilamrtam, even Stava-kusumanjali, even Ujjvala-nilamani. He did not allow us to study and to discuss it. Rather, he would be very much disturbed if he heard that someone was interfering with the higher Lilas in those books. He did not like it. Dusta phala karibe arjjana - Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura gives warning that we will get only a bad result if we venture to cross the line; a bad effect will come to us. Aparadha. From the lower position, anartha, the steps are shown. Sraddha, sadhu-sanga, sravan, kirttan, then anartha-nivrtti - the undesirable things will vanish altogether. Then ruchi, then asakti, then bhava-bhakti - the sprout of real devotion. Then prema-bhakti, and sneha, mana, pranay, rag, anurag, bhav, Mahabhav. By such steps we are to approach there. Once Prabhupada remarked, though how you will take it I do not know: one gentleman, of course he was a senior, wanted to discuss these things with Prabhupada. H e laid much stress on that, and ultimately he left the association of Prabhupada and lived a secluded life. Previously he did much service to the mission, that gentleman. Prabhupada remarked, "Oh, he has two lives. He is married with Krsna and she has got a child." Such a remark was there that he was a man, but taking himself as a Gopi he wanted to culture about the life of the Gopis - the intimate connection of Krsna and the Gopis. In this way he wanted to culture intensely, but Prabhupada remarked in that way: "Oh he has turned into a lady, a Gopi, and after coming in contact with Krsna she has produced a child!" Another time the Guru Maharaja of Prabhupada - Gaura Kishor Babaji - was in a hut near the Ganges. Another disciple of Prabhupada, leaving Prabhupada went to imitate Prabhupada's Gurudeva, Gaura Kishor Babaji, and constructed a tiny hut nearby and imitated his bhajan, Harinam and the discussion of Narottama Thakura - all these things - and observed strict vairagyam in his physical life. Gaura Kisho r Babaji remarked one day that only by entering a labor room and imitating the cries of labor, a child will not come by that sound. Many important previous events are necessary, then a child will come. Only imitation will not give birth to a child. Such was his remark to that gentleman.
So, there is suddha-sattva, pure goodness. You must come in connection with what is known as suddha-sattva first. Visuddha-sattva refers to the nirguna world. You must come in connection with nirguna, then only may you try to approach the subtle happenings or events there. So, we are not to simply satisfy our curiosity. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. With this spirit we must approach the whole thing. At the same time we may not be, by God's grace, a disbeliever by considering, "I shall judge the whole thing to the last details, then I shall accept what you say."
There are many things below, but the charm and reasonableness of the higher plane is enough to convince a person to come this side, and these high Lilas should be left high above your head. Very cautiously we are to handle all this Lila, especially Madhurya-lila. Just the other day I was thinking, about a year after joining the Mission, Prabhupada arranged for the full Karttik month to preach in Vrndavan. He asked the Maharaja, Bharati Maharaja at that time, to explain the Seventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam - the story of Prahlada, not the story of Krsna, Radha-Krsna. Yashoda or anything of Vrndavan, but, "Preach the Suddha-bhakti of Prahlada first. They are all ripe in sahajiyaism. Just try to make them understand that. 'Enter into the plane of Bhakti; what to speak of Krsna-lila - that is far, far above.'"
So, in Vrndavan the people rather wondered, "What is this? They are explaining Bhagavatam, but instead of the Tenth Canto they are explaining the Seventh Canto, the Prahlad-lila, the lower portion of Bhakti. That is wonderful and strange." Again, I found later on that Srila Prabhupada himself gave a lecture between Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda. There is a boundary line between the two. There, he read and explained the Upadesamrtam of Srila Rupa Goswami for a few days. He did not explain anything about Srimati Radharani, nor about Krsna, but he spoke on Upadesamrtam - the basis. His attention was always towards the basis. The fruit will come of itself: "Pour water onto the root; pour water onto the root, and the fruit will appear itself." He himself explained this while sitting in the middle between Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda. He explained not only Bhagavatam, but Upadesamrtam. Upadesamrtam is the substance of Mahaprabhu, in the language of Rupa Goswami.
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat
And the last sloka:
preyasibhyo 'pi radha-
kundam casya munibhir abhitas
tadrg eva vyadhayi
yat presthair apy alam asulabham
kim punar bhakti-bhajam
tat premedam sakrd api sarah
These topics were explained by Srila Prabhupada, but nothing of the Govinda-Lilamrtam or Srila Visvanatha-Chakravartti Thakura's Sri Krsna-Bhavanamrta - all these things were left untouched. So, our training was in this line. Pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange, that is always upon our head, that the prospect of our life's future, life after life, cannot be finished. We shall rather foster the hope, the pure hope that we may be taken in one day in the camp. With this idea....
Devotee: Sometimes in Sri Chaitanya charitamrta, Srila Krsna Das Kaviraj Goswami refers to Govinda-Lilamrtam, Ujjvala-nilamani and other such confidential selected works. How are we to take that? Srila Sridhar Maharaja: There are three chapters of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta that we were generally not allowed to enter into, including the discussions with Ramananda Ray, to a certain extent. Where the Lila portion of Radha-Govinda is mentioned - we had no entrance into that Lila. Of course when parayan (chanting of the whole book within a fixed time) is going on, we go on reading, but not to enter into details of discussion about that. At that part we went on reading but without giving any particular attention to the Lila of highest order of Raga. That was barred: "Don't try to come into details there. That will come automatically when the time will be. Do not make it a discussion of the public. Don't take it in the public. Don't take it in the public eye." So much so, that the following incident happened in Vrndavan. Prabhupada had a friend there from his childhood, an attorney, who came to see him, so Prabhupada went to give a return visit to this friend from his boyhood. Sripad Paramahamsa Maharaja was with Prabhupada and they went to give the return visit. They were told, "He is upstairs." They went there and saw that a Goswami was explaining the Rasa-lila section of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Prabhupada just bowed down his head and came away. Immediately he came away. Then his friend also came down, leaving that Rasa-lila discussion, and said, "Yes, the Rasa-lila explanation is going on, but you did not take your seat at all. You just bowed down your head and came down. What is the matter?" Srila Prabhupada replied, "Our Guru's order is such that, "If you attend Rasa-lila explanation you will commit offense." That will be offense to attend Rasa-lila explanation, so I cannot stand there even for a second. I had to come back. This is my Guru's order. To attend Rasa-lila explanation is aparadha."
So, for us, such strict behavior he has shown. And we also do that, especially myself. At so many other places they show the Rasa-lila with dolls, but I never do that. Following what is true to my understanding of my Gurudeva's will and his words, I do not make any show of Jhulana-lila or Rasa-lila or anything of the type. I find in my heart that this is not desirable to my Guru Maharaja. But in so many Maths I see at present, I hear also, that they are doing that, but I strictly abstain from that sort of showing. The Jhulana-lila, the Rasa-lila - that is too high for us, I consider. I must be true to my hearing of the words of my Gurudeva if I want my realization and not any position of some sort of popularity - to attract people by such a show, and to make money, or to make favorable field for preaching. They may do like that, but I do not. I do not want popularity nor any position of a higher Acharya. I am a student. Still I am a student. I consider myself to be a student. A faithful student. What I heard from my Gurudeva, I try my best to stick there, to keep my position there as I heard from him. I do not want to mutilate that in any way to suit my purpose. I try not to do that. Of course for big propaganda they may take different ways as they think. They are now free. But I cannot participate in such things.
When Prabhupada offered me to go to the West, I replied simply that I did not consider myself fit to go the West, saying, "I will not be able to show success there." I mentioned two defects. Then some of the sanyasins showed much reverence to me, "What is this? So many persons wish this opportunity. You are prepared to lose this chance? You neglect to take advantage of such a position, that you will be a world preacher. Do you have no hankering for that?" I replied, "Yes, Maharaja, I have no hankering to have such a position. my only humble ambition is that I may be reckoned as a sincere devotee of Mahaprabhu, Sri Chaitanyadeva. No other ambition I have in my mind such as to become a world preacher and so on."
Crave For Mercy
In my nature I am such. I want truth, and I hope and crave for the mercy of the Vaisnavas and you all that I may not have that ambition, but to be the humblest, the most humble servant of the Lord, that I may not be misguided. I may engage myself in the lower form of service. Tad dasa-dasa-dasanam dasatvam dehi me prabho. My faith may be so firm and may be of such quality that the least offer of His Divine Service may satisfy me. I may not be ambitious to run high, to get the chance there in the higher officer class. In my lowest connection with the Divinity I may go on, satisfied with my life. Mahaprabhu says, "Just consider Me a speck of dust at Your feet, Oh Krsna."
patitam mama visame bhavambudhau
krpaya tava pada-pankaja-
"O Nandanandana, son of King Nanda, although I am Your eternal servitor, I have fallen into the terrible ocean of material existence due to the fructification of my own deeds (karma). Please graciously consider me to be a particle of dust at Your lotus feet." That may be our guidance. "Consider me to be one of the specks of dust that are at Your feet." That is too much?! No, our faith should come to such a grade of quality that we may be satisfied to become a speck of dust at His feet. Then by His sweet will, anything may happen. But our humble aim should be to have even the least connection of the Divinity, the reality, and not a concocted Krsna. pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange Very sweet. The raga-patha is on the head. We are servants of the raga-patha. We are in viddhi-marga, under sastric rule. We must live and move under sastric rule, and always keep the raga-patha upon our head.
Once an incident happened while our Srila Prabhupada was at Radha Kunda. A panda in his talk made a side remark that, "We are Brahmins in Vraja. We can bless Raghunath Das Goswami." Prabhupada was perturbed by such a haughty remark, "Das Goswami is the highest Acharya in our camp, in the Gaudiya Camp. And that fellow he says that he is able to bless Das Goswami, and I am to hear that?" He stopped taking food, and remarked, "If I was an ordinary babaji I would not care. I would leave the place. But I am traveling here in a motor car, as an Acharya. I have the responsibility. I am moving here in the pose of an Acharya that I shall protect the Sampradaya. I shall brush the dusts of undesirability from the Sampradaya. How can I tolerate such a remark against my Guru?" He left his food: "Until any pratikar (opposition or remedy) is given by me, I won't take any food. I cannot take any food."
This Is Reality
I think I did something to give vent to the feeling of my Gurudeva today. I did something today to clarify his position. Pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange - this is enough. Tad dasa-dasa-dasanam dasatvam dehi me prabho ... This is not a figurative thing, this is not mere poetry, Mahaprabhu says:
napi vaisyo na sudro
naham varni na cha grha-patir
no vana-stho yatir va
"I am not a priest, a king, a merchant, or a laborer (brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra); nor am I a student, a householder, a retired householder, or a mendicant (brahmachari, grhastha, vanaprastha, sannyasi). I identify myself only as the servant of the servant - of the servant of the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, the Lord of the Gopis, who is the personification of the fully expanded (eternally serf-revealing) nectarean ocean that brims with the totality of Divine Ecstasy." This is not only an ornamental thing. It is reality. This is reality. To actually feel ourselves to be mean is really to become eligible for the higher service. So much selflessness, so much self-abnegation is necessary for a unit here of the lowest order to enter into that domain. So much self-abnegation is necessary, then we can come into that plane. There is a plane of undercurrent, and if we really want to contact that, we shall have to develop such finest of the fine sentiment in us, and with no demand. In this negative way we are to tr ansform ourselves, then we can have a touch of the approach to that plane. The least tinge of exploiting, any speck of the ambitious life, will not take us there. That is another thing. Pratistha is self-establishing, to be stable, to be immortal, to be invincible - it is not self-giving, but it is the self-establishing tendency: "I must stay. I must live." But if necessary, I must die for the interest of Krsna.
nitya-dasa prati tuwa adhikara
"Slay me or protect me as You wish, for You are the master of Your eternal servant." A suicidal soldier! For the cause of the country, if necessary I must die. I must efface myself. I may be effaced. If it is necessary my very existence may be effaced for the satisfaction of Krsna. "My very existence may be effaced if it is necessary." Such temperament, such selflessness of such degree is necessary to find out that plane. So much subtleness. Let us be blessed by Prabhupada Srila Saraswati Thakura. All glory to Guru and Gauranga. All glory to Guru and Gauranga.
Seeing the Treasury
(To the devotees gathered there:) You are helping me to take out from my inner heart so many beautiful and so many valuable things. It is through your help that these old memories are coming again fresh to me. I am forced to take out those things of the inner nature of my previous life which I got from my Gurudeva as wealth. Again I have the chance of seeing that treasury. I am given the opportunity by this recapitulation of what I heard at the divine feet of Gurudeva. This is our education, what I got from the divine feet of Gurudeva. I just sincerely put it to you all. It is such.
He instructed that we must not go to live in Radha Kunda. One day - near Lalita Kunda, the Swananda Sukhada Kunja is there, and there is a single-story building - he said, "A second story is necessary, but I will not be able to live there." I asked, "If you will not live on the first floor, who will live there? What is the necessity of further construction?" "No. You don't know. Better persons will live there: Bhaktivinode Thakura, Gaura Kishor Babaji Maharaja. They will live there, and we shall stay on the ground floor and we shall serve them." Again he said, "I shall live in Govarddhan. Radha Kunda is the highest place: the place of our Guru Maharaja, our Gurudevas. They will live here in closer connection with Lila, but we are not fit to live there. We shall live in Govarddhan, just a little far away. Because we shall have to come and serve our Gurudeva, we must be near, but we must not live in closer connection with them. We are not fit."
The whole tenor of his life was such: "That is high, high. And from below we are to honor that." We are to establish in the whole world this sort of posing: the proper regard of that higher Lila: "That is too high." One day in Allahabad - perhaps it was that very year Sripad Swami Maharaja (Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja) was initiated - while speaking in a park Srila Prabhupada said, "I am out to give a challenge to fight with any person to show that the highest position is occupied by my Gurudeva, by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura and by Mahaprabhu. Let anyone come to fight with me to decide. I am ready. I am ready to give that challenge to anyone and everyone. Let them come to fight with me. I am ready to establish the throne in the highest place - my Gurudeva."
Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, preached exclusively this Madhura-rasa, but with great precaution. What is not that thing, he used perhaps 90% of his energy to point out the negative side - "This is not Madhura-rasa" - and clear away the negative side. He had to spend, in his words, 'gallons of blood' to establish what that Madhura-rasa is not.