AFFECTIONATE GUIDANCE: CHAPTER SIXTEEN
The Flow of Mahaprabhu's Line
Srila Guru Maharaj's Godbrothers clearly expressed their great regard for His Divine Grace. One mentioned to me in a letter that they would always continue to come here, because for as long as Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev- Goswami Maharaj is present they want to come and hear from him. They expressed that whenever they hear from Srila Sridhar Maharaj, they feel they are in the shade of Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur.
They all gave such honour to our Srila Guru Maharaj, and why? Their life's goal is the service of Sri Sri Radha- Govinda, and they understood that such service is coming through their Sri Gurudev, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. But they also saw that their Gurudev had transmitted his divine power to Srila Sridhar Maharaj—so their idea was that Gurudev's merciful power is graciously present in our Srila Guru Maharaj. It is for this reason that they always came to Srila Guru Maharaj.
They had left all their mundane facilities and life's desires, and joined within the Mission for the service to Radha-Krishna, and to Prabhu Nityananda and Mahaprabhu. In which way will they get that service? Only the mercy of the Vaisnavas and the mercy of Sri Guru can give that service. This was very clear to them, so they would all forego any personal position—everything—and come from time to time to see Srila Guru Maharaj. They expressed to him about their preaching work and preaching style, and they felt very happy to see his happiness.
So many of Srila Guru Maharaj's Godbrothers used to attend the meeting of the Visva-Vaisnava-Raja Sabha organised by our Math. Srila Guru Maharaj would always give the presidential chair to Sripad Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj. Although Sripad Goswami Maharaj took sannyas from Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Guru Maharaj knew that Sripad Goswami Maharaj's all-round position was so high within the Gaudiya mission. He therefore always offered the presidential chair to him.
Once, after accepting that presidential chair, Sripad Goswami Maharaj gave a particularly special lecture. He explained that he and other great preachers are active in all directions, but they all wait to see how Srila Sridhar Maharaj considers the quality of their preaching style. He used the word 'simhavalokana.' He indicated, "We are preaching over the whole world, but from time to time we look to see whether Srila Sridhar Maharaj is happy with our preaching activities."
Simhavalokana refers to how a lion goes some distance then looks behind to check the environment, then proceeds further, then again looks behind. In this way Sripad Goswami Maharaj described how all the preachers again and again look toward Srila Guru Maharaj to see if their preaching has his approval.
'Rupa-Saraswati Dhara dekhena tomate.' Rupa Goswami Prabhu is supreme in the Preceptorial Line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Actually, no one says, 'Chaitanya Sampradaya.' Rather, the correct name is Rupanuga Sampradaya. Mahaprabhu wanted to establish Rupa Goswami as the Guru of His sampradaya. That same current of Rupa Goswami is flowing through Srila Guru Maharaj. This is the cause that all the devotees of Srila Saraswati Thakur respect Srila Guru Maharaj. They always saw it, and still to this day they see it in this way.
Rupa Goswami Prabhu was established by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. If we will try to understand this, we must especially take shelter in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta. The expression is given there clearly.
When Mahaprabhu appeared He showed His effulgence as the Lord. At that time Rupa and Sanatan were the chief administrators in the Bengal government, yet they were devoted to Krishna. They felt that Krishna would appear at that time, and they tried to understand where He would appear.
When they saw the exalted effulgence of Mahaprabhu they observed Him and came to see Him. It was clear to them that "He is our dearmost Sri Krishna. Here He has appeared!" This was the special connection Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan had with the Lord. At that time their names were Dabir Khas and Sakar Mallik respectively. Sanatan Goswami was the Prime Minister, and Rupa Goswami was the Finance Minister. They externally showed themselves as government servants, but internally they always hankered for Krishna-prema. They saw Nimai Pandit, Mahaprabhu Gaurasundar as the shining bulb.
Many other devotees knew the divine personality of Mahaprabhu of the infinite world, and had connection with Him. These devotees included Advaita Acharyya, Haridas Thakur, Srivas Pandit, Gadadhar Pandit and Pundarik Vidyanidhi.
So, Rupa and Sanatan secretly came to see Mahaprabhu, and it was very clear to them that He was in fact their Lord; and they tried to serve Him. The devotees would meet together and plan their future programme.
They knew Mahaprabhu would take sannyas, and they awaited that day. When eventually Rupa and Sanatan heard Mahaprabhu had indeed taken sannyas, they became even more attached to Him. When Mahaprabhu tried to go to Vrindavan through Nabadwip and Ramakeli, thousands of people followed Mahaprabhu in sankirttan. At that time, Rupa and Sanatan secretly met with Mahaprabhu in the village of Ramakeli.
Rupa and Sanatan lived near Ramakeli. At night they changed their rich dress for very humble devotee clothing, and met with Mahaprabhu. They took blades of grass between their teeth and fell down at the Lotus Feet of Mahaprabhu, expressing:
mat-tulyo nasti papatma
"We are most insignificant and unqualified, we are not fit to present ourselves before You. We are very fallen, please rescue us!" Hearing their words Mahaprabhu's heart melted to see their mood of devotion.
Mahaprabhu embraced them, and instructed them, "Do not be frustrated. Go back and do your jobs."
Earlier Rupa and Sanatan had written many letters to Mahaprabhu, and Mahaprabhu had encouraged them, saying,
"Be like a paramour lover who always thinks of her lover but outwardly does all the usual duties within the family. You be like that, and when the right time will come, Krishna will relieve you from your mundane jobs."
In this way Rupa Goswami had earlier received some nourishment, and when he met Mahaprabhu in Ramakeli, Mahaprabhu gave him and his elder brother Sanatan even more hope: "Go back, and at the right time Krishna will take you from your mundane posts. You are both my eternal servitors so you have no fear from anywhere. Krishna will help you."
Before going back they explained, "Oh Mahaprabhu, the King here is Muslim. No doubt he is sympathetic towards You, but if he sees this large following, he may change his mind. If you go with these thousands and thousands of people the king may feel some threat from you and try to harm you."
Later Rupa met with Mahaprabhu when He was on his way back from Vrindavan. Mahaprabhu taught Srila Rupa Goswami and gave him the charge of organising His Mission in Mathura and Vrindavan. Mahaprabhu instructed him to reveal the lost holy places of Krishna's Pastimes, and to compose scriptures to relay the teachings that He would impart to him. Mahaprabhu Himself was the teacher of Rupa Goswami, and He expected that Rupa Goswami would be the leader of His sampradaya.
Mahaprabhu met with Rupa Goswami in Prayag, and He met with Sanatan Goswami in Benares. Both of these Goswamis are the direct students of Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanyadev. Mahaprabhu did not teach others as a teacher but as an adviser, but He personally taught Rupa and Sanatan Goswami. They learnt from Mahaprabhu as students, and Mahaprabhu made them into Masters in the line of His divine conception. That was the first stage of the manifestation of Sri Rupa Goswami.
Later Rupa Goswami met again with Mahaprabhu in Nilachala. At that time Mahaprabhu received Rupa Goswami as His son. Mahaprabhu did not break any of the laws of Jagannath-ksetra, so he gave shelter to Haridas Thakur in a thatched garden-house of Tapan Misra. When Rupa Goswami came there He also gave him shelter in that garden along with Haridas Thakur. When Sanatan would come to meet with Mahaprabhu he would also stay with Haridas Thakur.
Mahaprabhu's nature was to not disturb the environment. Sympathetic dealings with nature is the best attitude for Vaisnavism. Our Guru Maharaj said that actual varnasram-dharmma is to deal sympathetically with nature. Varnasram is organised so as not to disturb the natural flow within this world. Within that flow we can manifest our divine practising life through our activity, so there is no necessity to disturb that.
Mahaprabhu did not want to establish brahmanism, an external thing, but what He gave was far superior. His gift is superior to any 'ism.' He taught Rupa Goswami in Prayag and told His associates, "You will come to see just how qualified he is." Establishing Rupa Goswami as His best student He threw open a challenge to all the experts such as Ramananda Ray, Svarup Damodar, Sarvvabhauma Pandit, Bhagavan Acharyya, Sikhi Mahiti, and many pandits of the King who were followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. There were hundreds of very big personalities who were associates of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Furthermore, Mahaprabhu considered Ramananda Ray as an equal to Himself, or even more—as Guru. Svarup Damodar is considered as a second manifestation of Mahaprabhu: saksat Mahaprabhura dvitiya Svarupa. However, Mahaprabhu decided that His sampradaya, His succession, would be through Rupa Goswami. He did not say that it will go through Svarup Damodar although he was considered to be almost more than Mahaprabhu. If anyone wanted to offer Mahaprabhu a poem or any composition it would come first to Svarup Damodar, and if it was agreeable to him, only then would it be presented to Mahaprabhu. Without this process, none could go directly to Mahaprabhu.
Mahaprabhu wanted to learn from Ramananda Ray when they were on the banks of the Godavari. Eka Ramananda hoy ithe adhikara: "He is a living mukta-purusa. No one else can behave like Ramananda Ray within this mundane plane." Although Mahaprabhu gave him such a great certificate, He did not show His succession there.
Instead, Mahaprabhu made Rupa Goswami His successor and presented him in an assembly of all the generals. Mahaprabhu told them, "Test this man." Ramananda Ray was the judge and he questioned Rupa Goswami about his plays Lalita Madhava and Vidagdha Madhava. Ramananda Ray himself had earlier written the play Jagannath Vallabha Nataka.
Mahaprabhu made as judges Ramananda Ray, Svarup Damodar and Sarvvabhauma Bhattacharyya, but the chief judge was Ramananda Ray. He questioned Rupa Goswami on the style in which he had written various parts of the plays, and also posed many questions about Rupa Goswami's opinions. Rupa Goswami answered them perfectly, one by one. Everyone in that assembly was stunned, including Haridas Thakur who was the first person to preach the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, before even Mahaprabhu by a few years.
Several times Haridas Thakur had undergone great austerity and trials. He was even beaten in twenty-two market places by guards intending to kill him. He faced so many tests but he crossed them all, and showed the glories of Sri Harinam. Haridas Thakur said about Rupa Goswami's sloka glorifying the Name, "We have never before heard such chanting of the glories of the Holy Name."
Ramananda Ray said, "Kim kavyena kaves tasya. The real Krishna conception that has been given by Mahaprabhu has been presented by Rupa Goswami in this assembly, and we are stunned to hear it. Such things are beyond human expression, yet Rupa Goswami has accomplished this."
When Mahaprabhu asked Ramananda Ray, "What have you gathered from his expression?" Ramananda replied, "It is unbelievably excellent. You have given him everything You heard from me. I have no doubt of this. Furthermore, his presentation is superior to anyone's. Kim kavyena kaves tasya. He is certainly a great poet. We are stunned to hear his poetry. Kim kandena dhanus-matah: if a hero cannot strike his target he cannot be a great hero. Rupa Goswami is such a great hero that he never once misses. We all accept that he is Your representative."
They said, "You must have given all Your mercy to him, otherwise it is not possible that he can give us this presentation in this way."
Mahaprabhu accepted their statements although this was very much against His nature, in the sense that Mahaprabhu never expressed, "I am a pandit." But on this occasion He said, "Yes, I have given My mercy to him." This is extraordinary. The Lord did not stop there. "It is not sufficient for Me to say that I have given My mercy. I want you all to give your mercy and blessings to Rupa that he will give My conception in this world."
They replied, "When You have given Your grace, that is sufficient."
But Mahaprabhu objected, "No, it is not sufficient. You are all my friends, so give him your mercy, then he will be enriched with pure love of Krishna and will be able to spread Krishna consciousness."
They all unhesitatingly gave their blessings to Rupa Goswami. This was a beautiful meeting. In this way Mahaprabhu made the exalted, golden form of Srila Rupa Goswami and gave him the whole charge of His sampradaya.
After that, Rupa Goswami stayed with Mahaprabhu for one year in Jagannath Puri where he learned more and more. Then he went to Vrindavan Dham to preach.
Kavi Karnapura was also empowered by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and he gave the corresponding identities of all Mahaprabhu's devotees in Krishna-lila. He said that in Krishna-lila Rupa Goswami is Rupa Manjari, the leader of all the manjaris. Srimati Radharani is the Chief Mistress Servitor of Sri Krishna, and Lalita, Visakha, Chitra, Champakalatika, Tungavidya, Indulekha, Sudevi and Rangadevika are the eight principal sakhis of Srimati Radharani. The head is Lalitadevi, and under Her is Rupa Manjari who is present in Gaura-lila as Rupa Goswami.
If we don't consider Vakresvara Pandit as Mahaprabhu's disciple, we may say that Kavi Karnapura was the only disciple of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at that time. Kavi Karnapura was the son of Sivananda Sen. When he was still in the womb, Mahaprabhu instructed Sivananda Sen to give him the name Puridas. However, when he was born, Sivananda Sen gave the name Chaitanyadas instead. When the boy was young, not more than five years old, he came with his father to see Mahaprabhu. The Lord asked his name. Someone said it is Chaitanyadas, and Mahaprabhu was a little shy and objected, "No, his name is Puridas. Why have you given him the name Chaitanyadas?"
Mahaprabhu then gave good nourishment to that boy. He instructed him, "Oh Puridas, now you chant the Holy Names. Chant 'Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.'" But that boy would not say anything. Twice and thrice Mahaprabhu insisted that he chant Hare Krishna. Mahaprabhu was surprised. He thought, "The whole world is chanting the Holy Names of Krishna as soon as I tell them to chant, but this boy cannot chant! What is this?"
He asked Svarup Damodar why this boy did not chant: "Everyone chants the Hare Krishna Mahamantra when I instruct them, but not this boy. Why won't he chant?"
Svarup Damodar replied, "Oh, that boy has just been initiated by You. He feels You are the World-Guru, You are Krishna Himself, and You have just given him initiation. He has just received the mantram from You, therefore he is not saying it outwardly."
Surprised, Mahaprabhu said, "This boy is very intelligent!" In this way Puridas received his special initiation. That Puridas was later known by the name Kavi Karnapura and he composed Chaitanya Chandradoya Nataka, an inconceivably excellent play. We cannot believe it humanly possible to write such a play. He graced that play with all the wealth of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He also composed Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika and Krishna-ganoddesa- dipika.
We learn through Kavi Karnapura and other devotees such as Svarup Damodar, Raghunath Das and Srila Jiva Goswami, that Mahaprabhu Himself gave the power of His sampradaya to Srila Rupa Goswami. Rupa Goswami is the supreme personality in Mahaprabhu Chaitanyadev's sampradaya, and he carries the preceptorial line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This is the history, a very serious subject matter. I think you may understand what I have tried to express.
Rupa Goswami Prabhu is also glorified by Narottam Das Thakur who, it is mentioned in the Scriptures, is a non-different form of Mahaprabhu Himself. In his glorification of Rupa Goswami, Narottam Das Thakur included the entire siddhanta, the supreme mood of devotion and the supreme glories of Rupa Goswami. Until this very day, that particular devotional prayer is the life of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Srila Saraswati Thakur wanted to hear this during his last moments in this world, and he wanted to hear it from no one but Srila Guru Maharaj.
Although Srila Saraswati Thakur was very softhearted, he could not tolerate anyone else but Srila Guru Maharaj singing that song. So he exclaimed, "No, I do not want to hear the tune. This song will be sung by Sridhar Maharaj only." That song was:
sri-rupa-manjari pada sei mora sampada,
I do not wish to try to express this song in English, because very deep truths are within it. On special days such as the Appearance and Disapppearance Days of Srila Saraswati Thakur and Rupa Goswami Prabhu, Srila Guru Maharaj would himself sing this song, thereby giving the blessings of Rupa Goswami to all the assembled devotees. He would sing it at other particular times as well.
Remembering these Pastimes, I am thinking we are so fortunate to be in the line of that Rupa Goswami Prabhu.
Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu, ki jaya! Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, ki jaya! Om Visnupad Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, ki jaya! All the assembled devotees, ki jaya! Harinam Sankirttana, ki jaya! Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Sridhar Mission, ki jaya! Jaya Namacharyya Srila Haridas Thakur, ki jaya! Gaura Premanande, Hari Hari bol!
Section 1 — 'Siddhanta'
Section 3 — 'Our Devotional Line'
|"HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS | HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS"|
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