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Srila B. P. Kesava Maharaja: rasa-katha

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Lord Sri Krsna's rasa-lila pastimes are the crest-jewel of all His pastimes, and the benefits of cultivating such pastimes are the crest jewel of all benefits. Therefore those who are qualified to relish these topics will be the crest jewels among all devotees. The Lord's rasa-lila should never be studied in any way by those who are seized by the disease of the heart, who are lusty for personal gratification, or otherwise unfit. In matters of ordinary education, if one wants to dispel one's ignorance it is necessary to gradually master the highest knowledge of the university; but a beginning student or someone of little knowledge is never admitted prematurely into the highest class. Similarly, it is never appropriate to give instructions about the most elevated topic, the rasa-lila, to persons of little knowledge who are simply attached to the external bodily senses."

(Srila B. P. Kesava Maharaja, Sri Damodarastakam-tika, Verse 8)


This and over a hundred more lengthy quotes by previous Acaryas saying the same thing - neophytes should never study Ujjvala-Nilamani similar books - are presented together in this article by Sripad Visnu Maharaj.

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All glories to Sripad Visnu Maharaja's service. We appreciate his article but must note that Sripa Visnu Maharaja also quotes this remark by Srila Bhakti Prajnan Kesava Maharaj regarding the third section of Jaiva Dharma, and points out why SBPKM did not publish it earlier,

"According to Srila Prabhupada's line of thought, even if one engages in bhajana but is not highly qualified, it is improper to enter into discussions on rasa. Srila Prabhupada has expressed this very clearly in such works as Bhai Sahajiya, Prakrta-rasa Sata-dusani and many other essays. Nevertheless, even today there are many unqualified persons who are given to studying the portions of Jaiva Dharma containing the analysis of rasa. According to Srila Prabhupada's understanding, this is detrimental. Being the worthy recipient of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's merciful glance, and being destined with an increasingly intense desire to fulfill his innermost wishes, he has divided the book into three sections for his followers. According to his desire we will not be selling the third volume, viz. rasa-vicara to the unqualified public. The first two volumes will be available for a symbolic price."


However Sripad Visnu Maharaja never mentioned that SBPKS authorized publishing the entire book including the rasa-vicara section in the later edition in Hindi ,edited and translated from Bengali by Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja. Sripad Visnu Maharaja refers to the rasika camp a lot in the article. We both know that there is certainly subtle if not direct criticism of our sanga for publishing certain literatures from the Gaudiya library that deal with Radha Krsna lila, e.g. Gita Govinda etc. Jadurani has put up an entire website to discuss the topic. . . .



Unconventional Teachers</CENTER>

Srila Prabhupada (HDGACBSP) observed:


"Among Vaisnavas there may be some difference of opinion due to everyone's personal identity, but despite all personal differences, the cult of Krsna consciousness must go on. We can see that under the instructions of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja began preaching the Krsna consciousness movement in an organized way within the past hundred years. The disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja are all Godbrothers, and although there are some differences of opinion, and although we are not acting conjointly, every one of us is spreading this Krsna consciousness movement according to his own capacity and producing many disciples to spread it all over the world."

Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 4: Chapter Twenty-eight, Text 31



"Disunity between individual souls is so strong within this material world that even in a society of Krsna consciousness, members sometimes appear disunited due to their having different opinions and leaning toward material things. Actually, in Krsna consciousness there cannot be two opinions. There is only one goal: to serve Krsna to one's best ability. If there is some disagreement over service, such disagreement is to be taken as spiritual. Those who are actually engaged in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be disunited in any circumstance." Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 4: Chapter Thirty, Text 8



. . . it seems to me that in the same way Srila Krsna das Kaviraja Gosvami took some "risk" in writing the Ramananda Samvad section of Cc, he considered the greater good rather than the possible abuse of the topic. In a similar mood the entire Jaiva Dharma was published by SBVNM in Hindi and then translated into English. In this printing they included SBPKM's caution regarding the last section of the book in the intoduction"


". . . In the third division, there is a penetratingdiscussion of the nature of rasa.

According to Srila Prabhupada’s line of thought, one should not enter into rasa-vicara (a consideration of the confidential, transcendental mellows of bhakti) until he has attained higher qualification. An unqualified sadhaka will impede his progress, rather than helping it, if he makes an unauthorized attempt to enter into rasa-vicara. Srila Prabhupada has expressed this clearly in numerous articles, such as Bhai Sahajiya (My Brother Who Cheapens the Sanctity of Spiritual Life by Equating His Material Instincts with Spiritual Emotions) and Prakrta-rasa-sata-dusani (One Hundred Objections to Perverted Material Mellows). One should therefore exercise caution in this matter.

The original Jaiva-Dharma was written in Bengali, but the book uses Sanskrit extensively, for it contains many quotations from sastra. In a very short time at least twelve large editions of this book have already been published in Bengali, which shows how popular it is. This present Hindi edition of Jaiva-Dharma has been printed according to the system used for the most recent Bengali edition of Jaiva-Dharma, published in a new format by the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti. Tridandi Svami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, the highly competent editor of the Hindi monthly spiritual magazine ‘Sri Bhagavata Patrika’, took great pains to translate this book into Hindi, and published it in the magazine in a series of articles spanning a period of six years. At the repeated request of many faithful readers, he has now published these articles in book form for the benefit of the Hindi-speaking religious populace.

In this connection, I feel compelled to note that our highly distinguished translator’s mother-tongue is Hindi, and he learned Bengali in order to study this book. After thoroughly mastering both the language and the subject matter, he accepted the difficulty and substantial labor of translating it into Hindi. I am very pleased at heart that he has expertly preserved the rigorous philosophy, the deeply profound analysis of rasa, and the lofty and subtle moods of the original book. The Hindi-speaking world will remain indebted to him for this monumental work. In particular, Srila Prabhupada and Bhaktivinoda Thakura will definitely bestow great mercy on him for his tireless service. . .


Srila Bhakti Prajnan Kesava Maharaja


In his remarks in the preface Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja wrote:


Prior to the Bengali edition of Jaiva-Dharma published by the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, all editions of Jaiva-Dharma published by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada and the subsequent Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas in their line have included the section on rasa-vicara. However, for specific reasons, our most revered holy master, Srila Gurupada-padma,published an edition containing only the first two sections of the book, which deal respectively with nitya-naimittika-dharma and sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana. He did not publish the third part of the book, which deals with rasa-vicara (a detailed consideration of the confidential, transcendental mellows of bhakti).

Later, however, when Sri Kesava Gaudiya Matha was in the process of publishing its Hindi edition from Mathura, Srila Gurupadapadma personally reviewed the entire book. In his introductionto this edition, he very clearly instructed the readers to first examine their eligibility or lack thereof, and then cautiously proceed with their study of the third section dealing with rasa-vicara. Therefore, when all three parts of the book were published together in the second edition, I did not feel that it was necessary to give any further clarification. . . .


It is always inappropriate to reveal confidential vraja-rasa topics before general people. However, there is every possibility that this sacred mystery will disappear if it is not thoroughly explained. Although neem and mango trees may be present together in the same garden, a crow will sit on a neem tree and taste its bitter fruits, whereas the cuckoo, who has discriminating taste, will sit on the mango tree and savor its sweet sprouts and blossoms. Consequently, it is proper to present rasa-vicara. Until now, the world of Hindi literature has lacked such an exceptionally fine and comprehensive book, which acquaints one through comparative analysis with the highest philosophical conclusions and super-excellent methods of worship of vaisnava dharma. Jaiva-Dharma has fulfilled this need. It will usher in a new era in the philosophical and religious worlds, and particularly in the world of Vaisnavism.


Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja





So some "risk" is taken when Vaisnava literature that deal with high topics are published, but it is done so they will not be lost forever and for the greater good. If anyone has any question as to why SBVNM has also translated Ujjvala Nilamani into Hindi then they should write to him and ask directly rather than just either guess or criticise him for his seva to his gurupadapadma Srila Bhakti Prajnan Kesava Maharaja.


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