Tag Archives: Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Appearance Day Lecture By Srila Prabhupada On February 21, 1976

Prabhupada: Today, the auspicious day of our predecessor spiritual master, Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Ashtottara-sata Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s mission  Apart from his life, we are especially stressing on the mission of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. This place, Mayapur, was formerly known as Miyapura. Mostly it is inhabited by the Muhammadans. Some way or other it converted into the name of Miyapura instead of Mayapur. Still, people are very much doubtful where is the birth site of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And Bhaktivinoda Thakura was researching to find out the actual place. So under the direction of Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, this present Yogapitha was ascertained to be the birth site of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura in the beginning wanted to develop this place very gloriously, befitting the holy name of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So he started this movement of developing Mayapur. He could not finish it, so it was handed down to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. So under his effort, assisted by his disciples, this place has gradually developed, and our attempt is also to develop this place. Therefore we have named this temple Mayapur Chandrodaya. We have got great ambition to develop this place nicely and gloriously, and fortunately we are now connected with foreign countries, especially with the Americans. Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s great desire was that the Americans would come here and develop this place and they would chant and dance along with the Indians.

So his dream as well as Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s foretelling,

prithivite ache yata nagaradi grama
sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama

So Caitanya Mahaprabhu desired that all Indians to take part.

bharata bhumite manushya-janma haila yara
janma sarthaka kari’ kara para-upakara.

This is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission, para-upakara. Para-upakara means to do good to others. Of course, in the human society there are many different branches of doing good to others welfare societies but more or less  Why more or less? Almost completely they think that this body is our self and to do some good to the body is welfare activities. But actually that is not welfare activities because in the Bhagavad-gita we understand very clearly, antavanta ime dehah nityasyoktah saririnah. This body is antavat. Anta means it will be finished. Everyone knows his body is not permanent; it will be finished. Anything material bhutva bhutva praliyate it has a date of birth, it stays for some time, and then it annihilates. So the spiritual education begins from the understanding that “I am not this body.” This is spiritual education. In the Bhagavad-gita the first instruction given by Krishna to Arjuna is this, that we are not this body. Because Arjuna was speaking from the bodily platform, so Krishna chastised him that asocyan anvasocas tvam prajna-vadams ca bhashase: “Arjuna, you are talking like a very learned man, but you are lamenting on the subject matter on which no learned man laments.” Asocyan anvasocas tvam.

So such kind of welfare activity concerning the body, like hospital and so many other things, they are good undoubtedly, but the ultimate goal is to see the interest of the soul. That is ultimate goal. That is the whole Vedic instruction. And Krishna begins from this point. Dehino ’smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara. So when Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to do some para-upakara

bharata bhumite manushya-janma haila yara
(manushya) janma sarthaka kari’ kara para-upakara

These welfare activities did not mean that welfare to this body. It was meant for the soul, the same thing as Krishna wanted to impress upon Arjuna, that “You are not this body. You are soul.” Antavanta ime dehah nityasyoktah saririnah, na hanyate hanyamane sarire. So real welfare activity means to see to the interest of the soul. So what is the interest of the soul? The interest of the soul is that the soul is part and parcel of Krishna, God. Just like small spark of fire is part and parcel of the big fire, similarly, we living entities, we are very minute, small spark of the Supreme Brahman, Parabrahman, or Krishna. So as the spark within the fire looks very beautiful, the fire also looks beautiful, and the spark also looks beautiful, but as soon as the sparks fall down from the fire, it becomes extinguished.

So our condition is that the  Our present position is that we are fallen down from the whole fire, Krishna. This is explained in a simple Bengali language:

krishna bhuliya jiva bhoga vancha kare
pasate maya tare japatiya dhare

Maya means darkness, ignorance. So this example is very nice. The sparks of the fire dancing very nicely with fire, it is also illuminating. But as soon as it fall down on the ground, it becomes cinder, black cinder, no more fiery quality. Similarly, we are meant for dancing and playing and walking and living with Krishna. That is our real position. That is the Vrindavana. Everyone  Everyone is connected with Krishna. There the trees, there the flowers, water, the cows, the calves, the cowherd boys, or elderly cowherd men, Nanda Maharaja, other persons of his age, then Yasodamayi, mother, then gopis in this way Vrindavana life, Vrindavana picture. Krishna comes with full Vrindavana picture, and He demonstrates His Vrindavana life, cintamani-prakara-sadmasu, just to attract us, that “You are trying to enjoy in this material world, but here you cannot enjoy because you are eternal. You cannot get eternal life here. So you come to Me. You come to Me.” Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti kaunteya. This is Krishna consciousness movement. (aside:) Please ask them to wait for prasadam. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti. This is the invitation. Mam eti: “He comes back to home, back to Godhead.” This is the whole instruction of Bhagavad-gita. And at the end He said, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. Why you are bothering yourself, manufacturing so many plans to adjust material life? That is not possible. Here it is not possible. Here so long you are in material association, then you have to change the body. Prakriteh kriyamanani  Prakriti-stho. What is that verse? Purushah prakriti-stho ’pi Hridayananda: Bhunjate prakriti-jan gunan.

Prabhupada: Ha. Bhunjate prakriti-jan gunan. So long the living entity is in this material world, he has to associate with the different modes of material nature. The same example. Just like the fire spark falls down on the ground. So ground, they have got different situation. One situation is dry grass, one situation is wet grass, and one situation is simply ground. So similarly, there are three position: sattva-guna, rajo-guna, tamo-guna. So sattva-guna means if the spark falls down on the dry grass, then it ignites the grasses. So in the sattva-guna, prakasa, this fiery quality is demonstrated. But if it falls down on the water, wet ground, then it is completely extinguished. Three stages. Similarly, when we come down to this material world, if we associate with the sattva-guna, then there is some hope of spiritual life. And if we are rajo-guna there is no hope, and tamo-guna, there is no hope. Rajas-tamah. Rajas-tamo-bhava kama- lobhadayas ca ye. Rajas-tamah. If we associate with rajo-guna and tamo-guna, then our desires will be lusty and greediness. Kama- lobhadayas ca. Tato rajas-tamo-bhava kama-lobhadayas ca. And if we increase our sattva-guna quality, then this kama-lobhadaya, these two things, will not touch us. We may be little aloof from kama-lobha. So if in the sattva-guna  This is stated in the Srimad- Bhagavatam:

srinvatam sva-kathah krishnah
hridy antah-stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhritsatam

So we have to transcend all these three qualities, sattva-guna, rajo-guna, tamo-guna, especially rajo-guna, tamo-guna. If we do not try to do that, then there is no hope of spiritual salvation or liberation from the material entanglement. But in the Kali- yuga there is no practically sattva-guna, simply rajas, rajo-guna, tamo-guna, especially tamo-guna. Jaghanya-guna-vritti-sthah. Kalau sudra-sambhavah. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu spread this Krishna consciousness movement, chanting Hare Krishna mantra.

So from this place Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu started this movement, Krishna consciousness movement, throughout whole India, and He desired that prithivite ache yata nagaradi grama: “So as many towns and villages are there, this Krishna consciousness movement should be spread.” So this Krishna consciousness movement is now in your hand. Of course, in (sic:) 1965 Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he wanted me to do something in this connection. He wanted from his, all his disciples. Especially he stressed many times that “You do this. Whatever you have learned, you try to expand in English language.” And in 1933, when he was in Radha-kunda, I was at that time Bombay in connection with my business life. So I came to see him, and one friend wanted to give some land in Bombay for starting Bombay Gaudiya Matha. He’s my friend. So that’s a long story, but I wish to narrate this, the Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami’s mission. So at that time one of my Godbrother was also present. He reminded me about my friend’s donation, and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada immediately took up the land. He continued that “There is no need of establishing many temples. Better we publish some books.” He said like that. He said that “We started our, this Gaudiya Matha in Ultadanga. The rent was very small, and if we could gather 2 to 250 rupees, it was very nice, going on. But since this J.V. Datta(?) has given us this stone, marble stone Thakurabari, our competition between the disciples have increased, so I don’t like anymore. Rather, I would prefer to take out the marble stone and sell it and publish some books.” So I took that point, and he also especially advised me that “If you get money, you try to publish books.” So by his blessing it has become very successful by your cooperation. Now our books are being sold all over the world, and it is very satisfactory sale. So on this particular day of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s advent, try to remember his words, that he wanted that many books should be published about our philosophy and it should be given to the English-knowing public especially, because English language is now world language. We are touring all over the world. So anywhere we speak English, it is understood, except in some places. So on this day, particular on the advent of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, I’d especially request my disciples who are cooperating with me that try to publish books as many as possible and distribute throughout the whole world. That will satisfy Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as well as Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
Devotees: Jaya Srila Prabhupada.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Appearance Day Lecture By Srila Prabhupada On March 2, 1975

Prabhupada: auspicious day, 101 years ago, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he appeared on this day. So Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is gaura-sakti. Gaura-sakti means empowered, empowered by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He wanted His mission to be broadcast.(aside:) What is that sound? all over the world. He desired:

prithivite ache yata nagaradi-grama
sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama

Prithivite, all over the world, as many town and villages are there, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu predicted that His mission will spread. This prediction was made by Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally five hundred years ago.

So perhaps my Guru Maharaja, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, attempted to fulfill the desire of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And sometimes in the year 1918, he was brahmacari, and Bhaktivinoda Thakura, his material father, he wanted Actually, he wanted, Bhaktivinoda Thakura Of course, everyone wanted. But he wrote one small book, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Teachings and Precepts of Lord Caitanya, in 1896. And he presented that book to the McGill University in Canada. And he very much desired that the foreigners, especially Americans, would join this movement. That was his desire in 1896. And then, in 1918, my Guru Maharaja started with this mission one institution known as Gaudiya Math. Perhaps some of you know the name, Gaudiya Math. And he was trying to spread this message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and by chance or by prediction, as you think, I was taken to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura by one of my friends. I did not want to go there, but he forcibly took me there. Yes. And he ordered me that “You preach the cult of Caitanya Mahaprabhu in English language. This is very much essential.” So on the first meeting he told me like that. That was my first meeting with him. So at that time I was in favor of Gandhi’s movement. So I said that “We are not independent subjugated. Who will hear about our message?” So Bhaktisidhanta Sarasvati Thakura refuted my argument. I was very much pleased. I had so many talks. But I was very much pleased to be defeated, that “This so called nationalism or any ism, they are all temporary. Real need is the self-realization.”

So I was convinced. But at that time, although he wanted me to immediately join him and spread this movement, so at that time I was a married man, young man. I was married in 1918. And I got a son also at that time, 1921. And in 1922 I met him. At that time I was manager in a big chemical factory. So I thought that “I am married man. I have got so many responsibilities. How I can join immediately? It is not my duty.” Of course, that was my mistake. I should have joined immediately. (laughter) I should have taken the opportunity immediately. But maya is there. So I thought like that. So that’s a long history. Then in 1954, no, not 1954, 1968, when I was fifty-four years old  Nineteen fifty-four, yes. Nineteen fifty-four, I was at that time fifty-eight years. So I left home, and I was living alone. Then, 1958, I took sannyasa, and then I decided to take up the responsibility of my Guru Maharaja. I thought that “My other Godbrothers are trying, so I am not capable to do it. They are better situated.” But somehow or other, they could not do very much, appreciative activities, in this connection.

So when I was seventy years old I decided, “Now I must do and execute the order of my Guru Maharaja. And thus this movement was started in 1965 from New York. And I was not very much hopeful because it is very difficult task, just opposite the European and Western culture. I came  When I first came, I had no money. So I got a free passage through some Indian steam navigation company. So I came by ship. So when I was on the ship at Boston port, Commonwealth port, I was thinking that “I have come here. I do not know what is the purpose because how the people will accept this movement? They are differently educated, and as soon as I will say, ’So, my dear sir, you have to give up meat-eating and illicit sex and no intoxication and gambling,’ they will say, ’Please go home.’ ” (laughter) Because that was the experience of one of my Godbrother. He went to London, and he had the opportunity to talk with one big man, Marquis of Zetland. Marquis of Zetland was formerly governor of Bengal. At that time I was student. He was Scotsman, and I was student of the Scottish Churches’ College. So he came to see our college, and he was standing in front of me in the second-year class. So he was very nice, good gentleman. So he proposed to my Godbrother, “Whether you can make me a brahmana?” So my Godbrother proposed, “Yes, we can make anyone brahmana provided you follow this principle: no illicit sex, no intoxication, no meat-eating, no gambling.” So that Lord Zetland immediately replied, “Impossible.” (laughter) So I was thinking that “I will propose something which is impossible. Anyway, let me try.”

Devotees: Jaya! Haribol!
Prabhupada: So now, by the grace of Krishna and Caitanya Mahaprabhu and in the presence of my Guru Maharaja, you are so nice boys and girls. So in front of Caitanya Mahaprabhu you are chanting Hare Krishna mantra, and you are taking part in it very seriously. So my Guru Maharaja will be very, very much pleased upon you and bless you with all benefits.

So he wanted this, and he is not It is not that he is dead and gone. That is not spiritual understanding. Even ordinary living being, he does not die. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire. And what to speak of such exalted, authorized personality like Bhaktisiddhanta. He is seeing. I never feel that I am alone. Of course, when I came to your country without any friend, without any means  Practically, just like a vagabond I came. But I had full faith that “My Guru Maharaja is with me.” I never lost this faith, and that is fact. There are two words, vani and vapuh. Vani means words, and vapuh means this physical body. So vani is more important than the vapuh. Vapuh will be finished. This is material body. It will be finished. That is the nature. But if we keep to the vani, to the words of spiritual master, then we remain very fixed up. It doesn’t matter. Just like Bhagavad-gita. It was spoken five thousand years ago. But if you keep to the words of Krishna, then it is always fresh and guiding. Not that because Arjuna personally listened to Krishna about the instruction of Bhagavad-gita, therefore he knew it. That is not the fact. If you accept Bhagavad-gita as it is, then you should know that Krishna is present before you in His words in the Bhagavad-gita. This is called spiritual realization. It is not mundane historical incidences.

evam parampara-praptam
imam rajarshayo viduh
sa kaleneha (mahata)
yogo nashtah parantapa

If you don’t keep in touch with the original link, then it will be lost. And if you keep touch with the original link, then you are directly hearing Krishna. Similarly, Krishna and Krishna’s representative, spiritual master, if you keep always intact, in link with the words and instruction of the superior authorities, then you are always fresh. This is spiritual understanding. Na jayate na mriyate va kadacit nityah sasvato ’yam purano. Puranah means very old. Just like Krishna, the Supreme Being. He must be very old because He is the original person. But the Brahma-samhita says, advaita acyuta anadi ananta-rupam adyam purana-purusha nava-yauvanam ca. Purana-purusha, the oldest person, but you will find Him nava-yauvanam ca, always a fresh youth. That is God. God is not a material, that it gets old. The body gets old.

So you are hearing this philosophy daily. Try to understand more and more. We have got so many books. And this is the mission of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and, by disciplic succession, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, then my spiritual master. Then we are trying our level best. Similarly, you will also try your level best on the same principle. Then it will go on. Same principle. It doesn’t matter whether one is born in India or outside India. No. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, prithivite ache yata nagaradi-grama, “As many towns and cities and villages are there,” He did not say it to make a farce. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So sometimes I am very much criticized that I am making foreigners a brahmana. The caste brahmanas in India, they are very much against me. But this is not fact. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that all over the world His message will be broadcast, does it mean that it will be simply a cinema show? No. He wanted that everyone should become perfect Vaishnava. That is His purpose. It is not to make a farce, some lecturing and , or some mutual praising society. No. It is Krishna Society. Everyone who will join this Krishna Society movement, he is more than a brahmana. Brahmana, what is brahmana? Brahmana is also material. A devotee is more than brahmana. The brahminical culture is included already. Brahma janatiti brahmanah: “Brahmana means one who knows the Absolute Truth, Brahman.” He is brahmana. But that is not very fixed up. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate. Brahman is impersonal effulgence, and then further progress, realization of the localized aspect, Paramatma, Antaryami, and finally, understanding the Supreme Person, Krishna, Supreme Person, that is the final understanding.

So people cannot understand that how the Supreme, the origin of everything, can be a person. That is their difficulty. Because they are thinking, “A person, God? How it is possible. God is great, and He is the creator of everything. How a person can do that?” Yes. That is the Vedic version.

isvarah paramah krishnah
anadir adir govindah

He is the cause of Brahman. He is the cause of Supersoul. So ordinary man cannot understand. Avajananti mam mudha manushim tanum asritam. It requires Krishna’s grace to understand Him.

So try to receive Krishna’s grace through the disciplic succession, Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then you will understand everything. Yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau. This is the process, Vedic process. One should have unflinching faith in God and spiritual master. Don’t jump over God, crossing the spiritual master. Then it will be failure. You must go through. We are observing Vyasa-puja ceremony, the birth anniversary of our Guru Maharaja. Why? We cannot understand Krishna without spiritual master. That is bogus. If anyone wants to understand Krishna, jumping over the spiritual master, then immediately he becomes a bogus. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, guru- krishna-kripaya paya bhakti-lata-bija. That is Vedic injunction. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya. Nobody can understand Krishna without going through His most confidential servant. This is the meaning of this Vyasa-puja. You cannot surpass. If you think that you have become very learned and very advanced, now you can avoid the spiritual master and you understand Krishna, that is the bogus. That is the meaning of this Vyasa-puja ceremony. We should always pray, yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. Yasya prasadad, only by the grace of spiritual master we can achieve the grace or mercy of Krishna. This is the meaning of this Vyasa- puja, offering obeisances by parampara system.

So you have taken a very nice line of activities, spiritual activities. Of course, as far as possible, we have tried to give you instruction, books. But remain always faithful to the spiritual master and try to understand Krishna. And if you simply understand Krishna, then your life is successful. Janma karma ca divyam me yo janati tattvatah. The human life is meant for understanding Krishna. That is the perfection of life. Any other so-called understanding, that is simply waste of time because we are under the grip of the material nature. You may be very learned scholar. You may be a fool. It doesn’t matter. You are under the laws of material nature. So before finishing this small span of life  We have got this human form of life. It will be finished, as the cats’ and dogs’ life also finished. But if we try through the guru and Vaishnava, then, we can achieve in this life the full success, not failure like cats’ and dogs’ life. That is the opportunity. So as far as possible, we are trying to lead you in this line, and you kindly follow. Then your life will be successful. That is the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He wanted to deliver these fallen souls, the conditioned souls rotting in this material world. So Krishna Himself  Krishna comes Himself, Krishna sends His devotees, Krishna comes as devotee just to execute this mission to reclaim the fallen souls from the clutches of illusory energy, material world.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Appearance Day Lecture By Srila Prabhupada On February 15, 1971

Prabhupada:Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja, my spiritual master, his advent day today. In 1922, I was at that time very much engaged in Congress activity. I was very much devout follower of Mahatma Gandhi, and at that time, I was manager also in a very big chemical concern in Calcutta. Perhaps you may know, Dr. Bose’s laboratory. One of my friends he’s still living, Sri Narendranath Mullik he informed me that “One saintly person has come. Let us go and see.” At that time I was young man, and I did not care for very much about so-called saintly persons. Because in our house, my father used to receive so many sannyasis, but some of them were not very to the standard, and due to my association with college friends, younger days, I lost my faith practically, although I was born in a Vaishnava family. My father was a pure Vaishnava. From my childhood, he gave me Radha-Krishna Deity for worshiping. A ratha… I was playing with my boyfriends, Ratha-yatra, Dola, like that. My father encouraged. So I was trained up in this line, but in my youthful age, when I was college student, gradually, by their bad association or something, gradually, I lost my activities. But when this friend, Mr. Mullik, took me to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja, he immediately asked me that, “You are educated young boys. Why don’t you take up Lord Caitanya’s message and preach in the Western world?” In the very first sight, he told me. At that time, I argued with him that “We are dependent nation, and who is going to hear about our message?” So he defeated my argument. (aside:) There is no necessity of closing. Yes. He defeated my argument. He was learned scholar. What I was? I was still boy. So I agreed (chuckles) that I was defeated. So after finishing our visit with Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, I got some impression that “Here is a person who has taken Lord Caitanya’s message very seriously. Now it will be preached.” My friend asked my opinion, that “What is your opinion?” So I gave this opinion, that “Here is a person who has taken Lord Caitanya’s movement very seriously, and now it will be preached.”
So that was in 1922. Then, in 1923, I left Calcutta on business account, and I started my business at Allahabad. But I was always thinking of my Guru Maharaja, although I was that time not initiated. But the impression was there. I was thinking, “I met a very nice saintly person.” So in this way, I passed from 1923 to 1928, I think. Then during Kumbhamela… (child making noise) Stop that noise he’s making. In 1928 my Guru Maharaja, along with other disciples, came to Allahabad for starting their branch there. So some gentlemen known to me might have told them that “The proprietor of such and such business, Prayaga Pharmacy, he’s a very nice gentleman. He can help you in so many ways.” So they came to me, and I saw the same saintly persons whom I met 1922. I was very glad to receive. In this way, my connection was more intimate with my Guru Maharaja. And in 1936, or 1933, I was initiated officially, although I was initiated 1922. But officially, I was initiated in 1933, although from 1922 to 1933 I was always thinking of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja. So in 1936, he was to pass away by 31st December. So I do not know… Out of my own accord, I wrote him one letter that “Guru Maharaja, you have got many disciples. Some of them are directly serving you. I could not do so. I am a householder. So if you give me some direct service to you, it will be very kind of you.” So he replied that letter, that “You try to preach in English language. Then the persons who will be instructed by you and both yourself will be benefited.” Again, he said the same thing which he ordered me in 1922 at the first sight. Then there… He passed away 1936, 31st December.
Then there were other Godbrothers. I consulted him that “Guru Maharaja said like this. What can I do?” So they also encouraged me. I was writing. There was a paper, Harmonist. Then, by their desires, I started this Back to Godhead in 1944. That was also started on his advent day, this advent day. Back to Godhead was started. Yes. There was a meeting, and many friends came, and we first started this Back to Godhead on his advent day, this advent day, 1944. So our paper, Back to Godhead, the advent day is also today. Yes.

Hamsaduta: Doubly auspicious.
Prabhupada: Yes. So at that time, there was no sale of Back to Godhead. I was publishing about one thousand copies and distributing. So there was no income. I was spending three hundred, four hundred rupees from my pocket. At that time, I had income. Then, gradually… I wanted to remain as a grihastha and preach, but Guru Maharaja did not like this idea. I could understand. Sometime I was dreaming that he was calling me, and I was horrified that “I’ll have to go away from home.” (laughter) So at last it happened so that I left my home in 1950 and became a vanaprastha. I was living sometimes here and there. In 1959 I took sannyasa. But that Back to Godhead was going on. Then there was some inner dictation that “This paper, Back to Godhead, I am publishing, people are taking.” Some friend advised me that “Why don’t you write some books? That will be nice.” So then I began to translate Srimad-Bhagavatam. And because I left home, so practically I had no income. With this Bhagavatam, er, Back to Godhead, I was selling and I was some way or other maintaining. And whatever little money I had, that was finished.
Then, when I wrote book, Srimad-Bhagavatam First Canto was finished. So I approached the Bhaiji of… Perhaps Mataji knows this. (chuckles) In 1962. So I asked him that “You take this publication.” So I am very much obliged to Bhaiji. He said that “Our English printing is not very efficient. You can get this book published from elsewhere. I shall partly help you.” So he helped me with some money from the Dalmia Trust, and I first of all published my first part of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Then I published second part also. There was sale. Then there was no necessity of money. I was getting money by selling Srimad-Bhagavatam. Everyone appreciated. Even the, your American Embassy here, they purchased eighteen copies, and they gave me open order that “Whenever this Bhagavata will be published next part, subsequent parts, this is open order, eighteen copies, each part.” That order is still there.
So after publishing three parts of readings(?), then automatically, Guru Maharaja gave me indication that “Now you can start for America.” So some way or other, in 1965 I went to America, with great difficulty. But I took about two hundred sets of books. The customs clearance was done, I told them that “Oh, I am taking these books for distribution. Not for sale.” Anyway, they passed, and with these books I reached America. And I was maintaining myself by selling these books for one year. There was no friend, and I was living in apartment with great difficulty. Still, the whole, I mean to say, stock, and my typewriter, my tape recorder everything was stolen. In this way, I became very much depressed, and I was going to the shipping company, “When the next ship is going for, going to India?” So they gave me such and such date. Then I thought, “Let me wait for some time more. Then I shall return back.” I had return ticket, of course. There was no difficulty.

In this way, 1966, by selling these books, I had only $200, and I dared to take one apartment and storefront. Storefront one $125 per month, and apartment $75. So I had only $200 dollars. So I advanced him $200. I did not know how to pay next month’s rent. So I started in 1966, lecturing in a storefront and living in that apartment in 26 Second Avenue. Then gradually, these boys, American boys and girls, began to come. And then I started my kirtana in Tompkinson Square. More and more, these younger Americans, they came to me, and things were organized. Then I registered this Krishna Consciousness Society under religious act of New York in 1966, and gradually people took interest. People means the younger section. All the boys and girls, they were from sixteen… Not all sixteen, but there were sixteen. Krishna dasa was at that time sixteen years old. And… Between twenty to thirty. Only, I think, Keith—now Kirtanananda Maharaja—he was at that time twenty-nine. Hayagriva was, I think, twenty-nine. So in this way… This Hayagriva, I met him on the street. After renting the apartment and storefront, when I was returning, this Hayagriva, Professor Howard Wheeler, he was philosophically minded. So he asked me, “Swamiji, are you coming from India?” So I told, “Yes, I am coming from India.” So, “Are you interested in Indian philosophy?” “Yes, sir.” “So why don’t you come? I have taken one storefront and apartment.” So I came back. I showed him, “Here is my storefront and apartment. You come in the evening.” So… (Hindi)
So the Hayagriva and Kirtanananda, Keith, and some other boys, I think, Satsvarupa.
Pradyumna: Ravindra Svarupa?
Prabhupada: Ravindra, yes, yes, he was there.
Tamala Krishna: Mukunda.
Prabhupada: Mukunda. In this way, five or six students used to come. Gradually, it developed. Then we started next branch in San Francisco, next branch in Montreal, next branch in Buffalo, Boston. In this way… Now we have got forty-five branches. So practically, we began work from 1968. ’66 I started, but… And ’67 I became very much sick. So I came back to India, and again I went there in 1968. Practically, this propaganda work began vigorously from 1968. So from 1968, ’69, ’70, and this, ’71. So three, four years, all these branches have grown up, and now practically, throughout the whole continent, Europe and America, they know what is Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Due it to our propaganda. Just like these boys. You have seen they are chanting and dancing. We send street sankirtana even the most busiest quarter of New York, Fifth Avenue. And they go. The American boys, they are very daring. Sometimes police arrest them. And police is not harassing. The public and police, both, they are now sympathetic, that “Here is a movement which is actually genuine and very beneficial to our people.” They are sympathetic. And even some of the Christian priests, they are also very sympathetic. They say that “These boys, American boys, they are our boys. They’re so nice that they’re mad after God, but we could not give them. Swamiji has given them.” So they appreciate. Actually, these boys, they come from Christian family, Jewish family. There are many churches in America. I was surprised. When I first went to Butler, that’s a small county, but I saw there about dozen of churches. So I thought the American people are very religiously-minded. And actually so. The history of the American people, mostly they came from England for this religious purpose. So they migrated in America for being religiously advanced.

So American people, I very much appreciate them. They are religious. They have got very good potency for understanding God consciousness. That is my opinion. And I do not know why I was inclined to go to America. It was also Krishna’s desire. Because I thought that “If this movement, Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement.” Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that

prithivite ache yata nagaradi-grama
sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama

That is His prediction, that “As many towns and villages are there on the surface of the globe, everywhere, this message of Hare Krishna mantra and Lord Caitanya’s name will be there.” So I thought that “I should go to America. If the American people take it seriously, then other people will take it.” So actually, that is happening. These boys are so enthusiastic in preaching that on my word, they are going any part of the world. Any part of the world. They are prepared to go any part of the world. And just now I received one letter from my disciple Sriman Upendra dasa. He does not know Hindi, and in the Fiji Island there are many Indians, but still, he is making propaganda. He’s simply chanting Hare Krishna mantra door to door. They are also husband and wife. And people are very much appreciating.
So my Guru Maharaja’s desire and Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s prediction is now being fulfilled. At least, it has begun to be fulfilled. So it is a genuine movement, authorized movement, and India’s original culture. So our appeal to the Indian people, that “You should take seriously about this movement and try to cooperate with us.” That will be glorification for Indian culture. At the present moment, India is known as very poor, poverty-stricken country. People are under impression that “They are beggars. They have got nothing to give. They simply come here to beg.” Actually, our ministers go there and, for some begging purpose: “Give us rice, give us wheat, give us money, give us soldiers.” That is their business. But this movement, for the first time, India is giving something to them. It is not a begging propaganda; it is giving propaganda. Because they are hankering after this substance, Krishna consciousness. They have enjoyed enough of this material consciousness. The material consciousness means to enjoy sex life and drink and have sufficient money. These three items, they have got sufficient, immense. There are… So far material comforts, oh, there is no conception in India how they are materially comfortable. Their roads, their cars, their machines… You cannot imagine how American roads are there. There are freeways. In America, there are freeways: without any stoppage you can run your car in seventy mile speed, and four cars going up and four cars going down. And road just like velvet. (laughter) Our roads… So there is no comparison of their materially advancement. So I always… When I run in some freeway.These boys run our cars. And you’ll be very pleased that in each and every temple we have got at least four cars, nice. Especially one car for me and two cars for carrying them for sankirtana movement. Very good arrangement. Better than any temple in India. If you go sometimes… I request you to go. But one condition: that you have to become Life Member. (laughter) But if you go, will be very much pleased in our temples. And this Dr. Rao… Perhaps you know, he is a professor in your Gorakhpur University. He was a research scholar, atomic research scholar. His wife is sitting here. So he’s still. So he was very much captivated with the temple worship, and there he became my disciple.

So our temple is very nice. Just like this temple, you see practically how they are managing. Here, of course, we have no facility. But in other temples we have got very nice decorated. There is chandelier and… If you see, we have got pictures. It is very nice. So this movement is increasing, and our branches are increasing, practically, every month one branch. And these boys are doing very enthusiastically. So why not spread this movement in India? It is India’s culture. Why Indians are lacking? That is my… I have brought them to show you example. This is a genuine movement, Krishna. People are harassed, “Where is God?” Krishna, here is God. Why don’t you take Krishna? Krishnas tu bhagavan svayam. And Krishna’s order is there in the Bhagavad-gita: man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam… Why you are misusing this Bhagavad-gita? You take it very seriously, and let there be a successful world movement, Krishna consciousness movement. And people will be happy.Actually, that is the peace formula.

bhoktaram yajna-tapasam
suhridam sarva-bhutanam
jnatva mam santim ricchati

Santi means to understand Krishna, or God, as the supreme enjoyer. Here, in the material world, everyone wants to be enjoyer. That is not possible. Not everyone is enjoyer; everyone is servant. But his misconception is that “I am enjoyer.” That is called maya, illusion. He’s not enjoyer. He’s servant. So Krishna therefore says in the Bhagavad-gita, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. Sarva-dharman, we have created some dharma. Some dharma is for lording it over the material nature. Karmis. The karmis are trying to lord it over the material nature, all resources. Working hard, day and night, how to lord it over the material world. This is one dharma. Another dharma, when the karmi’s frustrated because he cannot enjoy… Because he is not enjoyer. Artificially, he is trying to enjoy. Then, when he’s frustrated, then he says, brahma satyam jagan mithya: “The brahma is satya, and this world is false.” Then he becomes a sannyasi, a renouncer. But he cannot live in that renouncement platform. And then he again comes back to this material world and engages himself in some philanthropic work: “Let us open hospital. Let us open schools and college…” If the brahma satyam jagan mithya… If the world is mithya, false, why you are again, a sannyasi, you are coming again back to this platform? That means he’s not satisfied in so-called brahma satyam. Practically, he has no realization of Brahman. Therefore he comes back again. And that is, I mean to say, indicated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, that ye ’nye ’ravindaksha vimukta-maninah. Persons who are thinking that “I have become liberated. I have become Narayana. I have become God. I have become Brahman.” Brahman, everyone is Brahman, constitu… That’s a fact. But there is another Param Brahman. Param brahma param dhama pavitram paramam bhagvan Krishna.
So the Mayavadi philosophers, they mistake that “Param Brahman or myself all the same.” No. That is not the fact. Therefore, without having shelter of the Param Brahman, he falls down again in this material world. Aruhya kricchrena param padam tatah patanty adho ’nadrita yushmad anghrayah. Because he has no information of the lotus feet of Krishna, he falls down again to the material platform. So just like pendulum, the clock pendulum, tock, tock, tock sometimes he’s renouncer and sometimes he’s enjoyer. Sometimes he’s accepting… For example. Don’t take it otherwise. Just like our national father, he renounced everything. But renounced for what? Greater enjoyment, that his countrymen will be happy. “The Britishers will go away, and we shall get independence, and we shall be enjoyer.” You see? So this renouncement or that… Again, renouncement for enjoyment. The Mayavadi philosophers, they say “Renounce this whole…” Brahma satyam jagan mithya. Jagan mithya. “But I want to be one with that Supreme.” That is for greater enjoyment. “I have failed to enjoy this world even after becoming prime minister or big man. Now I’ll become God.”
So this kind of philosophy will not make you happy. Therefore Krishna says, sarva-dharman parityajya. We have created dharma in two categories: one for enjoyment and one for renouncement. Both these things have to be given up. Neither enjoyment, nor renouncement. Then what is this philosophy? The philosophy is that you cannot renounce anything. Because what is the value of your renouncement? You haven’t got anything. Everything belongs to God. So what you can renounce? Similarly, what you can enjoy if everything belongs to God? Isavasya. Bhoktaram yajna-tapasam. Krishna says, “I am the enjoyer. I am the proprietor.” So if Krishna is proprietor, if Krishna is the enjoyer, then how you can renounce? The proprietor is somebody else, so what is the value of your renouncement? You are sitting in this room. While going away, if you say, “I renounce this room,” what is the meaning of this renouncement? When this room belonged to you? You have come here for some time and sitting here for one or two hours. That does not mean you possess it. Similarly, we come here empty-handed; we leave here, say, fifty years or hundred years. When I become proprietor? This is another maya, renouncement. As enjoyment is another maya, similarly, renouncement. So we have to give up this renouncement or enjoyment. We have to take the real position, that “Everything belongs to Krishna, or God. We have simply to serve Krishna.” That is bhakti-yoga. That will give you actual peace. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita. Bhoktaram yajna-tapasam. Krishna is the supreme enjoyer. You simply supply ingredients of His enjoyment; then you’ll be happy. Because He is enjoyer. And bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram. And He is the proprietor. So this attitude… Of course, they may criticize that “The bhaktas, the Vaishnavas, they have got slave mentality.” Some so-called philosopher remarked like that. But that is not slave mentality. That is the actual position. That we get information from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Jivera svarupa haya nitya krishna-dasa. We are eternally servant of Krishna. And mukti means svarupenavasthitih. When you are situated as servant of Krishna, that is mukti. And so long you are falsely claiming that “I am enjoyer, I am proprietor,” that is maya. That is our philosophy. And Krishna consciousness movement is meant for that.
We are that movement is not new. It was long, long ago started. Even before five thousand years, when Krishna spoke this philosophy to Arjuna, He said, imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam. Formerly, He spoke to Vivasvan, the sun-god. Manu. Manu understood this philosophy from Vivasvan. That means four hundred millions of years ago. So it is not a new movement. It is very old. Just like Krishna is very old. Advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam adyam purana-purusham. Purana means very old. Purana means very old. Nava-yauvanam ca: at the same time, very youthful. Similarly, this movement is very, very old, but it appears very fresh. Because it is spiritual, it is ever-fresh. So you take to this movement very seriously, and all of you will be very happy. That is our request. We are presenting this movement all over the world, and anyone who has taken, he is happy. But one must be sincere and serious. Then it will act.

Thank you very much.
Hamsaduta: The preceding lecture was recorded on February 15, the evening of the appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Goswami Maharaja Prabhupada, at 3 Krishna Niketana, in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and Raganuga-sadhana-bhakti

Dhanurdhara Swami
December 2007

There is a criticism of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati in certain Gaudiya Vaishnava circles, concerning his approach to sadhana. In short, the claim is that by overemphasizing vaidhi bhakti he did not faithfully pass down the traditional teachings on the practice of raganuga-bhakti. This is not a minor criticism. After all, raganuga-bhakti is precisely what Sri Caitanya came to give. To fairly judge Srila Bhaktisiddhanta's approach to raganuga-bhakti I suggest that we must start by examining what Sri Caitanya's immediate successors taught, especially Sri Rupa, as they were the ones entrusted to codify and establish His teachings. The intention of this paper is to explore such teachings, in order to demonstrate that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's approach to raganuga-bhakti—his emphasis on kirtana and his strong cautions regarding smarana—is firmly within the bounds of Gaudiya tradition. Moreover, I will suggest that it is especially warranted given the historical circumstances in which he developed his mission.

Sri Rupa Gosvami’s main description of raganuga-sadhana-bhakti is found in the second wave of the first division of Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. All Gaudiya developments in the practice of raganuga-sadhana stem from this account. Sri Rupa naturally begins his description with the qualification to adopt the practice:

The basic prerequisite for practicing raganuga-bhakti is simply a genuine longing (lobha) for a mood of devotion similar to that of one of the eternal residents of Vraja.” (B.r.s. 1.2.291)1

He next describes the symptoms of such lobha:

The appearance of greed (lobha) is shown when one’s impetus to execute devotional service no longer rests on scriptural rule and logic, but is reliant solely on one’s natural attraction for serving Krishna. (B.r.s. 1.2.292)

Such yearning to serve Sri Krishna in a manner akin to a specific devotee in Vraja arises in the heart by faithfully hearing scriptures such as Srimad-Bhagavatam where such perfect devotees are described.2 This also implies associating with qualified Vaishnavas who know scripture and can instill faith.

Immediately following his discussion of eligibility, Sri Rupa, in three verses, gives his seminal description of how to practice raganuga-bhakti. In the first of these verses he explains the basis of raganuga-sadhana:

One should constantly hear about and remember Vraja-Krishna and one of His dear associates whose devotion one genuinely craves. This practice should be done while living in Vraja. (B.r.s. 1.2.294)

Living in Vraja also implies residing there within the mind if one is not able to physically live there.3

He elaborates in the second verse what following a resident of Vrindavana entails:

One should emulate the activities of an eternal resident of Vrindavana (vrajalokanusaratah) both externally in one’s physical body (sadhaka-rupa) and internally in one’s perfected body (siddha-rupa) coveting that specific eternal associate’s particular mood of devotion (tad-bhava-lipsuna). (B.r.s. 1.2.295)

For example, if one develops a strong desire (lobha) for manjari-bhava, the mood and activities of the younger gopis such as Sri Rupa Manjari, one should first, in his or her present body (sadhaka-rupa), follow in the footsteps of Srila Rupa Gosvami. In other words, one should chant, hear, and perform other devotional services while emulating his life as a resident of Vrindavana at the time of Sri Caitanya. The raganuga-sadhaka legitimately coveting the devotion of Sri Rupa Manjari also serves internally in a spiritual body (siddha-rupa), which is necessary for meditation on one’s personal seva to Radha and Krishna in Sri Rupa Manjari’s footsteps (and devotional attitude).

It should be noted that siddha-rupa is not exactly referring to one’s eternal spiritual body (siddha-deha), but to a body developed by internal meditation under the direction of the spiritual master based on one’s eternal relationship with Krishna. If the siddha-rupa was the fully manifested spiritual body, or the goal of practice, then what would be the need to practice in the first place?

Finally, the third verse instructs the raganuga-sadhaka to not reject vaidhi bhakti, but to accept with discrimination those practices that nourish one’s maturing eternal relationship with Krishna. For example, one who is aspiring to serve Krishna in the mood of Mother Yasoda will not give up Deity worship, but will worship the form of Krishna as a small child (Bala-Krishna)