Questions and Answers
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Question: Can a lady lead Nagar-sankirtan?
OK, they can do it, but if there is any sannyasi there, the sannyasi must lead it. One time, when Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was going to Yameswar Tota in Puri Dham, He heard some lady singing in the Jagannath Temple. Not understanding who was singing, a man or a woman, He ran there overwhelmed by ecstasy. Govinda caught Him on the way. When Mahaprabhu realised what had happened, He said to Govinda, "You have saved Me today!" Therefore, a sannyasi must not hear any lady's singing. The scriptures also say it. When everybody is singing together, that is a different matter, but if a sannyasi sits in some secluded place and listens to a lady's kirtan, that is not good.
[On another occasion, His Divine Grace made also an explicit remark: His Divine Grace had been leading a kirtan in the nat mandir on the Gaura Purnima day—some lady was playing the mridanga, and when the kirtan finished, His Divine Grace went away and on his way to his veranda he said, annoyed, "In Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, ladies must not play the mridanga!"]
[After this question was placed, a further question was asked on the topic, and His Diving Grace added some further clarification:
Yes, actually, ladies can do that in some places. It is not a problem. We do not look who is a lady, who is a man, but in this age of Kali, if ladies do sankirtan, it may not always look good. In some places, there is no sannyasi; in some places, there is a sannyasi, so this actually depends upon the place.
When Mahaprabhu heard Gopi-Gita sung by a lady, He ran towards her to listen to it, but Govinda caught Him on the way and, when Mahaprabhu realised what had happened, He said, "Govinda, you have saved Me!"
At the same time, in some places the situation is now such that ladies are the leaders, and if there is no sannyasi and they do sankirtan, what is the problem? Sometimes there is no sannyasi and a lady is charge of the temple, so if she does sankirtan there, what is the problem? It is not a problem for the Western side, and for the Indian side too—there are many ladies who sing in India.
We do not see who is a lady, who is a gent. It is not the question. We see who does service, who does what. Sometimes, people criticise, "Oh, a lady is doing this service!"—but we will not discriminate between ladies' service and gents' service. In previous time, there were so many things, but now ladies become prime-ministers, ladies become chief ministers, ladies become pilots, ladies become military soldiers, they do everything, so why cannot they lead in Harinam sankirtan?
Devotee: So, they can play the mridanga also?
They can play the mridanga, it is not a problem, but it is necessary to see the time and place.
Devotee: When I was reading the article, it mentioned that you were unhappy when you attended an arati and a lady devotee was playing the mridanga...
Yes, because sometimes it does not look good. If somebody is enthusiastic to do it, they can do it, I do not see any problem with that, but if some lady has material pride thinking, "I am playing the mridanga! I am with the men!"—this is not good.]
Another question has come. If the lady's days come and there is no other way (if there is no one else who can do it), then she can do the Deity service, otherwise who will cook for the Deities? It is better she cooks than making the Deities fast.
Question: Sri Brahma-samhita writes about Gokula and Goloka. What is the difference between them?
Gokula is Gokula, and Goloka is Goloka. Gokula is here, where Krishna's pastimes happened, it is Bhauma-Vrindavan (Vrindavan on earth), and Goloka Vrindavan is the highest plane of existence. You know that there are many planetary systems—Tal, Atal, Vital, Nital, Talatal, Mahatal, Sutal, Rasatal, Patal, etc. Goloka Vrindavan is situated above all planets, it is the highest place. So, Gokul and Goloka are not the same.
Question: We are told that we must see the Guru as Krishna, and if we have a deeper vision, we can see the Guru as Srimati Radharani. On the other hand, we also hear that the Guru is Nityananda Prabhu. Srimati Radharani and Sriman Nityananda Prabhu are different, so should we see the Guru as Srimati Radharani or as Sriman Nityananda Prabhu?
যে যথা মাং প্রপদ্যন্তে তাংস্তথৈব ভজাম্যহম্ ।
ye yatha mam prapadyante, tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
"Howsoever people surrender to Me, I accordingly reward them. Being the ultimate goal of all paths, I am the objective to be attained by all. O Partha, all men follow My various paths."
Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 4.11
You should understand that there is santa-rasa, dasya-rasa, sakhya-rasa, vatsalya-rasa, and madhura-rasa. Krishna-Balaram are sakhya-rasa, Gaura-Nitai are also sakhya-rasa. In another way we can say that Nityananda Prabhu is the master, Nityananda Prabhu is the boss, Nityananda Prabhu is the controller, He controls everything in this world, He is the ashraya-vigraha (the embodiment of shelter)—therefore, the Guru is Nityananda Prabhu because we take shelter in Gurudev. The highest position of Gurudev is that Gurudev is Srimati Radharani. I have told many times that Srimati Radharani is the Guru of prema, paramour love. This is Her position with Krishna. So, within madhura-rasa, Gurudev is Srimati Radharani; within sakhya-rasa, Gurudev is Nityananda Prabhu.
Question: It is told that there is no difference between the diksa-guru (initiating guru) and the siksa-guru (instructing guru), but Srila Sridhar Maharaj says that our sampradaya is a siksa-guru-sampradaya.
Yes, of course. One can have only one diksa-guru, but one can have many siksa-gurus. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also says the same.
Question: If it is possible to hear some pastimes of Santosh Krishna Prabhu?
Yes, it was his disappearance festival yesterday. He is a very good devotee. Gurudev likes him, and Gurudev gave him to me, but by Krishna's will he was taken away. He always said, "I cannot do so much service because maya is always attacking me. I do not want to stay in this world." So, Krishna has taken him, maybe Gurudev has taken him near him.
Question: Will the situation with the Ratha-yatra this year affect the world?
Only Krishna knows it. It is His arrangement. If Jagannath arranges something in a certain way, it is not in our hands. We are controlled by Him. Ratha-yatra will happen, no one can stop Him—Jagannath, Subhadra, and Baladev will go to Gundicha, but devotees cannot join properly this year. What is happening is arranged by the Lord, by the Supreme Absolute. He does everything. So, whether it is to the better or to the worse, who knows it? Only Krishna knows it, Jagannath knows it.
Question: Can we sing Sri Rupa-manjari-pada in the temple and at home?
Yes, why not? "Sri Rupa-manjari-pada ei mora sampada, ei mora bhajana pujana" is a separation song. You can sing it, what is the problem? This song expresses feelings of very deep separation from Srila Rupa Goswami, Sri Rupa Manjari.
Actually, we must always think, "When will I see my Guru? What can I do to serve my Guru? When can I see the Lord? When can I make my Guru happy?" We must always think in this way.
Always think about this. Also, there is Gurudev's favourite song,
It is a very nice song. There is also,
It is very nice. Always sing it.
Always sing it. Always remember it.
It is a very nice song, sing it. There is also "Nitai pada kamala koti chandra susitala." I remember when Gurudev was going for an operation, the nurses were taking him in a hospital trolley bed to the operation theatre—Yamuna Priya Didi and myself were there, we were crying, but Gurudev stopped us and said, "Why are you crying?" Then he started singing,
It is very nice. Sing this song. Practise singing every day, sing kirtans clapping hands. It is very nice if you do it every day.
Jay Srila Guru Maharaj ki jay.
Next Sunday we will explain Sri Raya Ramananda sambad. There are two very exclusive, very important things in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita—one is Rupa-siksa and Sanatan-siksa, and the other one is Sri Ramananda-sambad. If you read it, it will be good for you.
'কে আমি', 'কেনে আমায় জারে তাপত্রয়' ।
'ke ami', 'kene amaya jare tapa-traya'
"Who am I? Why do I suffer so much? I do not know it. How can I get relief? Actually, I do not know how to inquire about the goal of life and the process for obtaining it. Being merciful upon me, please explain all these truths."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 20.102-103)
Jay Srila Guru Maharaj ki jay
I am praying for everybody so that you all may overcome the current situation. As it is, you can join the programme and practise properly. Try to survive with your family—you have a good husband, a good wife, good children. Take proper care and practise Krishna consciousness properly, then more and more devotion will come to your life, you will get more and more energy to practise. I pray for this to my Guru.
Jay Srila Guru Maharaj ki jay. Nitai Gaura premanande Hari bol.
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