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Gauracandra

Mirabai and the Gaudiya tradition

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There was a little exchange regarding Mirabai and her interaction to the Gaudiya tradition. Here is a quick quote from a book called "Vaisnavism: Contemporary Scholars Discuss the Gaudiya Tradition" by Steven Rosen. The excerpt comes from a chapter called "Krsna in the Performing Arts" by John Stratton Hawley.

 

Dr. Hawley: Well, I’d read a bit of her. I’ve read more of her in years since. Why do you ask me about her? She’s not a primary focus for the Gaudiya tradition.

 

SR: Well, there’s a Gaudiya controversy about her. There are many unresolved questions about her meeting with Jiva Goswami and / or Rupa Goswami.

 

Dr. Hawley: In fact, which one do you understand it was? Did she meet Rupa or Jiva?

 

SR: Prabhupada mentioned a meeting with Rupa, and there is a more popularly known meeting with Jiva. The story with Jiva is the….

 

Dr. Hawley: That’s the older tradition.

 

SR: Right. But it is certainly questionable. That story is related in Nabhaji’s Bhaktamala, I think.

 

Dr. Hawley: That’s right.

 

SR: But there was sort of an insult to Jiva, wasn’t there? Jiva Goswami had said something to her about not coming to Vrindavan to meet with him because she was a woman. Her famous response was biting: “I thought the only male in Vrindavan is Krsna.”

 

Dr. Hawley: That’s the story. Correct.

 

SR: Is there more to it?

 

Dr. Hawley: Well, that’s basically it. He refused to talk with her, having taken a vow not to speak to women. I would have imagined that the Gaudiyas would not accept it, for obvious reasons. And perhaps it never happened. One never knows. Indian religious writers like to connect popular personalities – say that they have met – but that doesn’t mean the ever really did.

 

SR: There is another reason to doubt the story. First of all, it portrays Jiva Goswami as a fanatic, in a sense, in regard to women. And he clearly was not a fanatic. According to both Prema-Vilasa and Bhakti-Ratnakara, Jiva Goswami met with Jahnavi-devi, Nityananda Prabhu’s wife, and had extensive discussions with her. It was she who established murtis of Radha next to the Krsna images in Vraja and it was she who influenced Jiva to send the bhakti-sastras to Bengal with Srinivasa, Narottama, and Shyamananda. So there is some evidence to suggest that Jiva was not extreme in this regard. If he did not turn away Jahnava because she was a woman, it is unlikely that he would have turned away Mira. After all, she was a respected Vaisnavi of the time. To this day, she is remembered and there are even courses taught about her devotional poetry...

Gauracandra

 

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Mirabai's Bhakti:

 

'Jinike priye na rama videhi' This verse from Rama Carita Manasa is a translation from the verse in Bhagavatam, 'guru rasasa pati' It means that one should abandon that wife who is not favorable to bhakti, one should abandon that husband who is acting as an obstruction on the path of devotion, one should abandon that father, that son, that brother and so on.

Any relationship which obstructs bhakti should be given up. Vibisana gave up his brother Ravana, because he had no love for Rama. Prahlada gave up his father Hiranyakasipu, and Bali Maharaja gave up his guru.

 

We also hear the pastime of Mirabhai. She had written a letter to Tulasi das about the circumstances she had to go through in performing devotional activities for Krsna. Her family, especially her husband the Rana of Mewar, were unfavorable. He would always suspect that she had some illicit connection with a man. But she was absorbed in the love of Giridhari. "I cannot tolerate it any more. They are torturing me so much. They have

given me poison, they have tried to have me bitten by a snake, and they insult me. Please guide me." Tulasi das wrote this verse to her, and though he did not instruct her specifically, she understood his message.

 

One day she was deeply absorbed, dancing and singing in kirtan behind closed doors with Giridhari there. The King heard her singing in great jubilation, and someone was playing the flute. With great anger, his sword in hand, he tried to enter inside the room. She did not hear him. Krsna was playing the flute, so how was it possible for her to have any external consciousness?

 

When the king entered he saw that no one else was there, and Mirabai had fainted unconscious. He looked everywhere for that man who was playing the flute. Somehow or other he revived Mirabai and harshly asked her, "Where is that man you have hidden here?" Mirabai said, "You cannot see Him? He is standing right there." "I cannot see him" he said. Then Mirabai mercifully placed her hand on his eyes and, by the touch of her fingers, the Rana was able to see the three-fold bending form of Krsna playing the flute. Now

taking darsana, he was humbled and also fainted. In the meantime Krsna disappeared. When the Rana came back to consciousness, he so much repented. Lamenting, he fell at the feet of Mirabai and again and again begged for forgiveness. He said, "I was so offensive and foolish".

 

Because she had suffered so much, she had no reaction to these words. She had made up her mind that she must go to Vrindavana. She explained that what had happened had happened, and nothing could stop her now. Chanting "Giridhari Gopal", she left for Vrindavana. There she met Srila Jiva Goswami and he took Gopal mantra from him. Was she a real disciple of Jiva Goswami? No, she was half disciple, because she ended up in Dwaraka. She said, "I only see Krsna. I don't see anyone else." Her vision was not so

broad that she could see the gopis. She failed to accept the guidance of the gopis, and that is why she could not get any position in Vraja. She went to Dwaraka, where she entered into the Deity of Dwarkadisha and never came out.

 

This is a very important point for those who are trying to follow the path of yugala vasana, those who want the service of the Divine Couple in Vraja, but who think they can achieve it by following all the principles of vaidhi bhakti. They are meditating on Dwaraka-lila, yet they want the service of Radha-Krsna in Vraja. Because they have such meditation, however, they will not get a position in Vraja. They will enter Dwaraka, just like Mirabai.

We will have to be careful about that.

 

Lecture by TRIDANDI SWAMI SRI SRIMAD BHAKTIVEDANTA NARAYANA MAHARAJA ON RAMA NAVAMI - Mathura 12 April 2000

 

dasa dasanudasa

Satyaraja dasa

 

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As we said in another thread, we are very surprised with Sriman Valaya Prabhu's quote on a verse where Srimati Mirabai clear recognize Sri Caitanya's divinity as Sri Krsna. Recently we had a nice discussion with a disciple of Srila Shridhara Maharaja in another forum and he said that his Gurudeva strongly rejected the opinion of my own Gurudeva concerning Srimati Mirabai's diksa by Sri Jiva Goswami.

 

He said that Srimati Mirabai has never accepted Sri Caitanya's divinity according Srila Shridara Maharaja's understanding.

 

We are posting here some of the argumets that we had offered at that time on that subject matter.

 

Dear B. Prabhu, dandavat pranamam

 

Your post was very conciliatory and is revealing a sincere heart. Our Acarya is trying to teach us that one never should see the apparent discrepancies in other Acaryas' statements as conflicting opinions and different positions; rather one should understand these seemly contradictory points as different specialties in their seva. To harmonize these opposites one should always be under the association of elevated Vaisnavas, who can see their position in the transcendental realm under samadhi.

 

You are right while you denote that Mirabai's bhakti is not completely free from advaitavada. In our line we are instructed that to seek after Sri Krsna's direct association is a kind of advaitavada in disguise. As Sri Krsna is visaya-tattva, is personal aspect alone is devoid of any sakti. That's to say, His rupa cannot give you hladini-sakti. Krsna is fully complete with His svarupa, or His asraya-tattva, who are the possessors of the saktis. That's why we are instructed to serve Sri Radha-Krsna Yugala, or Sri Mahaparabhu, where both visaya-tattva and asraya-tattva are present.

 

This subtle aspect of param-tattva is almost absent in all other Vaisnavas lines, and we can observe a great difficulty in convey this siddhanta to them. It said that one may understand this point only due Sri Caitanya's direct mercy.

 

Therefore, as her bhakti wasn't pure, in spite of her practices of raganuga-bhakti in Vrindavana, she has attained Dvaraka-prema, and not Vraja-prema. This result is mentioned by Srila Cakravartipada in his Sri Ragavartma-candrika in the chapter Misra-bhakti and Vaidhi-bhakti.

 

 

In his Ragavartma-candrika, Srila Cakravartipada states:

 

"Without possessing the desire to conform to scriptural edicts, a person may sometimes begin devotional service motivated by lobha. Nevertheless, if je still follows those scriptural injunctions although they may be contrary to his devotional mood, he still becomes a parikara of one of the Dvaraka queens. The scriptures substantiate this fact:

 

virasam susthu kurvvan yo / vidhi margena sevate

kevala-naiva sa tada / mahisitvamiyat pure

 

"One who aspires for the higher spiritual mellows but approaches it by the path of vaidhi-bhakti is rewarned with eternal companionship to one of the queens of Dvaraka, in Dvaraka."

 

The word kevala-naiva in this sloka means krtsnaiva; to perfectly perform vaidhi-bhakti without any omissions, including those parts that conflict with one's devotional preferences."

 

To conclude Srila Cakaravatipada states: "The argument continues that the misra-bhakti process, or the process that is a blending of raga-bhakti with vaidhi-bhakti, results in obtaining the eternal companionship of the queens of Dvaraka or Mathura, according its purity."

 

By the direct approach of Krsna, as Mirabai has done, where is the asraya-tattva? It is absent, or mixed with vaidhi-bhakti, resulting therefore in Dvaraka-prema.

 

One should observe that we are employing the concept of misra-raganuga-bhakti; i.e., raganuga-bhakti mixed with vaidhi-bhakti, and not the concept of general bhakti mixed with karma, jñana, yoga, and so on. This pollute bhakti won't lead one to Dvaraka, it will conduce to another Vaikunthas in a lower position, or not even that. We are stressing that Vraja-prema is only attained by pure raganuga-bhakti, not tinged with vaidhi-bhakti.

 

dasa dasanudasa

Satyaraja dasa

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Dear B. dasa, dandavats pranamam;

 

We agree with most of your points, but we should wait for the reply given by our Acarya concerning the association between Srimati Mirabai and Gaudiya-vaisnava acaryas. Remember that Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja is living at Mathura since his sannyasa vesa, he is a Hindi speaker Vaisnava, and he is aware of all legends and facts regarding Mirabai's cult that is very strong in his area.

 

By now we can summaryze:

 

1. Mirabai never has followed Sri Jiva's or any other Gaudiya-vaisnava anugatya.

 

2. She was seeking after the visaya-tattva aspect of Sri Krsna, as her songs and poems denote.

 

3. This kind of bhakti should not be considered as pure raganuga-bhakti, because she was not following (at least not completely) an asraya-tattva or a ragatmika-parikara.

 

4. With this kind of misra-raganuga-bhakti she would have attained Dvaraka-prema, according sastric evidences given by Srila Cakravartipada in his Ragavartma-candrika. Never Vraja-prema.

 

 

And let us also consider come cultural aspects related to Srimati Mirabai & Sri Tulasidasa Goswami, as follows:

 

Srimati Mirabai and Tulasidasa Goswami are from North of India and Hindi speakers. Their books were written in Hindi. In fact those are the main authors on Vaisnavism who had written in Hindi. There is no others books originally written in this language by any other Vaisnava-sadhus.

 

People from Bengal and from South India use to say that Hindi is like an spiritual desert. No sadhu employs this language to write, as they prefer Sanskrit, Bengali, Tamil, and some other languages.

 

Gaudiya-vaisnavas acaryas use to write in Bengali and Sanskrit, Sri Vaisnavas use to write in Tamil and Sanskrit, but none of them would ever write anything in Hindi.

 

Therefore there is an evident dispute between Hindi and Bengali speakers Vaisnavas who try to spread the glories of their own local Acaryas, specially at Vrindavana, that is a Gaudiya-vaisnava village in a Hindi speaker country.

 

Tulasidasa Goswami is a Rama-bhakta, and obviously his teachings are not suitable to attain devotion to Sri Radha-Krsna in Vraja-lila.

 

Srimati Mirabai, in spite of her devotion to Sri Krsna, her devotion is not to be placed under the category of mañjari-bhava, and she hasn't followed Sri Rupa-Raghunata Goswami's line.

 

Nowadays some people are stating in some forums that Srila Tulasidasa Goswami and Srimati Mirabai are to be considered raganuga-bhaktas, in the same scale of Sri Caitanyadeva's associates. But this is only an absurd and a gross misconception, as according Gaudiya-vaisnava acaryas they are not in Sri Caitanya's line.

 

We do respect their poems, teachings and prema, but they are not our preceptors. They belong to other schools of Vaisnavism.

 

dasa dasanudasa

Satyaraja dasa

 

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According the material that we have by now, this poem attributed to Srimati Mirabai may be an interpolation made by some Gaudiya-vaisnavas, or an evidence that at least one stage of her life she was convinced of Sri Caitanya's divinity, but she couldn't keep this opinion during the rest of her life.

 

Nothing surprising, as many other great Vaisnavas who also were residents in Vrinadava at her time also had rejected Goswamis' association and their belief in Sri Caitanya's divinity such as Hit Hari Vamsh, Hari Ram Vyasa, and so on.

 

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Quote: SD _____________

a very sweet devotee has posted in other forum this beautiful poem by Srimati Mirabai, ...............

____ Thank you for the appreciation. You have just posted my translation of St.Mirabai's song which was forwarded to Peter prabhu and many other devotees.

All the other speculative theories you are spreading around regarding Miraji are UTTERLY false!...

 

This was a reply that we had in another forum from our dear Jay Sri Radheyji. So, we can easily trace this connection between Srimati Mirabai and Sri Caitanya as a very newly interpolation made by these fanatics (they are not Gaudiya-vaisnavas).

 

The it seems that the authenticity of this verse was clearly destroyed.

 

__________

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Peter prabhu,

 

You have received the information of the bhajan from Dr.Jaya

who has already informed about the bhajan before the

translation was sent to you.

Please check your past mail.

Here again is the whole web site dedicated to Saint.Mirabai and

the one who created it is Dr. Prayaga Narayan Misra originally

from Allahabad, UP, India, currently settled in Chandler,

Arizona, USA.

 

He is a very respected scholorly devotee, both material and

spiritual. He has provided me the bhajan tape sung beautifully

by the vocal artists, after my ardent repeated requests.

 

He is very dedicated to ACBVSP and currently helping the ISKCON

at Phoenix, AZ.

 

His email address <Wwti@aol.com>

or <pnmisra@hotmail.com>

 

Please get more information about this gentleman at:

 

Dear Friends and Music Loving Devotees of Lord Krishna!

Please visit the webpages of Saint Mirabai and enjoy the Nectar

of Krishna Love!!

 

http://msnhomepages.talkcity.com/RightWay/pnmisramira

 

humbly yours,

 

Jaya Sri Radhey!

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Nothing surprising, as many other great Vaisnavas who also were residents in Vrinadava at her time also had rejected Goswamis' association and their belief in Sri Caitanya's divinity such as Hit Hari Vamsh, Hari Ram Vyasa, and so on. [/quote

 

Satyaraj Prabhu

Is this Hit Hari Vamsa the one who invented a new concoction of the Goswamis teachings rejecting vaidhi bhakti and such observation of Ekadasi etc and eventually lost his head in Vrndavan?

I think a branch developed from Vallabhacharya line. Srila Sridhara Maharaj tells that they were servants of Chandravali, in opposition to Radharanis Supreme position. This history is on tape but not published, for obvious reasons.

 

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Hit Harivamsa

 

There is a controversy on who actually wrote Radha Sudhanidhi and Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi. Prabhodananda Saraswestipada or Hit Harivamsa?

 

According my own preceptors Radha Sudhanidhi and Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi are written by Srila

Prabhodananda Saraswatipada. He was the uncle of Gopal Bhatta Gosvami. Srila Probhodananda Saraswatipada wrote many books in Sanskrit.

Hit Harivamsa was the name of a disciple of Gopal Bhatta Goswami. He did not write the Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi because this is a Sanskrit book, and many states that he was not versed in Sanskrit. Hit Harivamsa wrote many duha (poetic works), chanda, in the Hindi language (Vraja dialect). If he had written these books in Sanskrit then other books in Sanskrit would have been possible for him. Therefore, some conclude that

he could not have written these books.

 

Sri Atul Krsna Goswami and other Gaudiya Vaisnavas have said how one day Hit Harivamsa had come to see Gopal Bhatta Goswami but he had not been fasting for Ekadasi. That day he ate tambula. His Gurudeva, Gopal Bhatta Goswami, asked him why he was not fasting.

 

He replied; "Oh this is Maha-prasada. I had to honour it, I could not leave it. This is why I am not fasting."

 

Gopal Bhatta Gosvami was angry saying, "You should leave at once! I do not want to see you again!"

 

Hit Harivamsa was very sad.

 

Sometimes he would go see Srila Prabhodananda Saraswati in Kalidhana. He would pacify Hit Harivamsa somewhat. He read Sri Prabhodhananda Saraswati's books then he took the books to his disciples who were later saying, "These books are written by Gurudeva. But, our Gaudiya Sampradaya does not accept

this thinking because his disciples do not accept the rules for fasting on Ekadasi, and have an opinion opposed to Srimad Bhagavatam and all sastras. Gaudiya Vaisnavas do not accept their thinking because they do not accept the rules and regulations given in sastra.

 

Some are saying that Hit Harivamsa is an incarnation of Lalita Sakhi. But most authorities do not accept this.

 

Others say that his banishment was caused by his defense of sayuja meditation. This is the most plausible thesis, since sayuja meditation is strongly rejected in Goswamis' line.

 

Do you known what is sayuja meditation?

 

 

 

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Is this Hit Hari Vamsa the one who invented a new concoction of the Goswamis teachings rejecting vaidhi bhakti and such observation of Ekadasi etc and eventually lost his head in Vrndavan? I think a branch developed from Vallabhacharya line.

 

Actually it was Sri Caitanya who strongly has rejected vaidhi-bhakti as a mean to attain krsna-prema. This conclusion is made in Sri Ramananda-samvada (C.c. Madhya 8) and many other parts of Caitanya-caritamrta. Probably Pujyapada Srila Sridhara Maharaja has also instructed you in the same manner.

 

According our acaryas vaidhi-bhakti is only a platform to the development of raganuga-bhakti. Our aim is raganunga-bhakti and not vaidhi-bhakti. Vaidhi-bhakti should be internally rejected as soon as one ingress into the realm of raganuga-bhakti. Then vaidhi-bhakti is only an external behavior.

 

In his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Sri Rupa Goswami has established that the platform of vaidhi-bhakti is to be made according smrti tradition, following the 64 angas, or processes of vaidhi-bhakti mentioned in Puranas, specially in Varaha Purana.

 

Srila Vallabhacarya, however, has established that the platform of vaidhi, that he has called maryada-marga may be followed according countless traditions, even by those that are not Vedic (such as Christian and Muslim). The aim in Vallabha's sampradaya is pusti-bhakti, that is the same of raganuga-bhakti according Srila Rupa Goswami himself. It is spontaneous love and affection towards Sri Hari and it is identical to raganuga-bhakti in all aspects.

 

So, one may argue what is the real importance of vaidhi-bhakti? No sadhana can make you attain raganuga-bhakti. Here is the main point of discussion between Sri Vallabha-sampradaya and Goswami's line. Even in Gaudiya-vaisnava sampradaya many paribharas did not accept the same importance of vaidhi-bhakti as attributed by Goswami's line.

 

Now. let's consider some historic events:

 

Sri Vallabhacarya was Sri Caitanya's contemporary. He was present at Prayaga when Sri Caitanya has instructed Sri Rupa on the lines of His process of prema-bhakti. Sri Rupa and many of Sri Caitanya's followers had countless meetings and discussions with Sri Vallabhacarya and his followers.

 

During the renascence of Vrindavana, Sri Vallabhacarya, Srimati Mirabai and many others vaisnavas were there also. At that time one cannot say that it existed something called 'Gaudiya-vaisnavism', because there were no such sectarian viewpoint among these pioneers.

 

The divergences begin to appear during Sri Jiva's time, when it is clear related that the 6 Goswami's party have organized a new sect lead by Sri Jiva Goswami in Vrindavana. Sri Vallabhacarya, Srimati Mirabai and many others had opted to other positions, forming different sampradayas like Sri Vallabha, or remaining alone such as Srimati Mirabai.

 

If one reads the historic relates made by Sri Vallabhacarya's party of many events were Gaudiyas were reciprocating with them, their version is completely different, and vice-versa. One can read the history of the Deity of Sri Gopala fond by Sri Advaita Acarya at the top of Govardhana hill in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and other Gaudiya-vaisnavas texts, and thereafter the same version made by Sri Vallabhacarya's son Sri Vitalanatha and others of his followers. The differences of all aspects of the property of the Deity, His puja, how to worship Him, and all the events that are related with His transference to Nathadwara are very different and quite sectarian.

 

It is very hard to have and unbiased opinion after studding these events. Some say that is better just to ignore them, as Srila A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Goswami has opted to do. It is better to seek after the essence like he has done.

 

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Thanks for the information, if my memory serves me well, which it does'nt always, this account appears to be in line with what I've heard from SSM.

I fully agree with the Saragrahis approach of seeking the essence. As the devils disturbance seems to come into the details of different applications. That is not to say we should accept anything and everything in the name of Swayam Bhagavan, as the perversion of the supreme gift of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu will benefit no one and will only cause more confusion.

 

Regarding my Gurudevs instruction on Vaidhi and Raghanuga marg he has spoken many different things in different dharsans according to time and circumstance. Here is one example:

A bona-fide student will avoid all kinds of imitation, sahajiyism. We have to cross Bhu, Bhuvah, Maha, Jana, Tapa, Viraja, Brahmaloka, Vaikuntha to Goloka, step by step. Anuraga, our affinity for the Supreme Personality is not a very cheap thing. We have to understand who Krishna really is. Those without dedication should not deceive themselves into thinking they can find Him in the area of the material zone.

Madhvacaryya gave one hundred points against mayavadism - mere renunciation. And our Guru Maharaj gave prakrita-rasa-sata-dusani one hundred points against this sahajiyism to guard against imitating Krishna-bhajan in material life. So many ways, at every step we have to make decisions to go this way or that. Every moment we are at the crossing, but on the whole my sincerity will guide me. Deception and illusion are there, but the grace of the Lord is also there in the background. But he won’t allow these agents of deception to misguide me if I don’t associate with them.

Srila Rupa Goswami says we must observe vaidhi bhakti (regulative practice) for as long as we can’t get admission into the level of raga bhakti (spontaneous affection). Das Goswami also says we shall show reverence to raga bhakti, but we shall try to live within vaidhi bhakti, rules and regulations, shastra regulated devotion. But the arrogant do not care for this instruction of the followers of Sri Chaitanya Maharapbhu. There was one party in Vrindavan, that did not admit the necessity for formal devotion. Many others you will find in Vrindavan also. This party say they have connection with the Gopal Bhatta Sampradaya - Gaudiya vaisnavism with a little deviation. They want to begin with raga bhakti, anu raga.

Disciple: If they don’t have regard for vaidhi bhakti (regulated devotion )and go directly to raga-nuga,(spontaneous devotion) isn’t this something like sahajiyism?

Srila Sridhara Maharaj: Worse than sahajiyism. Sahajiyism formerly accepts everything, but they want easy entrance to do only what comes naturally without work, and they don’t admit the necessity for formal devotion. They are lazy in their practice, preferring the enjoying mood to the serving mood, but service means sacrifice. So the atmosphere is dangerous and any theistic awakening we should mark with all attention and care so that we may not go down again to the depths of nescience. Very carefully we shall try to collect our wealth. Real progress towards the Infinite gives the idea, “That I am nothing, I am in great danger.” Progress towards the Infinite is like that. “Thinking I have it, I am above.” This is a foolish feeling , foolish statement. The very nature of advancement is that, “I am low, I am undone, I am the most helpless.” The closer we are the further away we will feel, whereas the further away we actually are from divinity, we may complacently feel we are close. As much as we come into the relativity of the Infinite, we cannot but conceive ourselves to be the lowest of the low. That is the criteria.

The very sign of real progress will show I am nothing, I am the most needy, the most wretched and the most helpless. The negative aspect must be improved to attract the positive. If one point of the negative will say, “I am positive” then immediately it will be rejected, you are under the false control of maya. Rather to think, “I am the meanest of the mean,” that will attract the attention of the high. This is the science of devotion proper.

When I first came here to Nabadwip, one boy used to dress as a woman. He would tell, “Oh, I have seen Krishna and I have shown so many.” When he came to me, I said, “No, no, no. We know a little of what is Krishna and how to see Him, also who can see Him. Some knowledge we have gathered from different scriptures and saints.” So I related some of it. Then he persisted, “I have shown Krishna on the branch of this tamarind tree, so many have witnessed that.” I said, “In spite of your statement that you have shown Krishna to so many, I disregard that.” Summarily this is all bogus. “Why are you cheating yourself”? I asked. “You are cheating the public and yourself, so be careful of that.” Then after some months that man came back to me and said, “What you say is all true.” SSM

 

Of course Srila Guru Maharagj was never deterring anyone from approaching raga that would be contradictory to preach against the goal of our spontaneous devotional life would be avaisnavism His fame and honor is no doubt appreciated right across Gaudiya spectrum and beyond. But we must understand the name he was given Sri Bhakti Raksaka (the guardian of devotion) by Srila Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati Thakur was not random but thru the divine vision of the Thakur who recognized this protective quality within him. And this vision has served the whole Vaisnava arena from the most subtle deviations. For this I for one am eternally greatful.

There is one place where Srila Bhakivinode Thakur has expressed that our practice of Vaidhi when purified, becomes Raghanuga.

As I understand this it does'nt mean we give up the simple vaidhic process of offering or observine those those activities recommendied in Sri Rupas NoD, it's just that the ritual becomes saturated in pure spontaneous divine love, we can't sleep without it, we can't eat or move without it,

we can't breathe without engagement, body mind and soul, in all those activities that give pleasure to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandhavika Govindasundarajui. Rather it just expands from a limited circle to every atom, moment and opportunity that is presenting itself to us in the environment, for Their service, which is truly everywhere in our ears and eyes in varying degrees according to Their Grace.

I'm just an insignificant soul , I don't know so much, I'm just trying to take the essence like you recommend and perhaps extend a little of that to others.hopefully this will help my spiritual advancment towards that distant Ideal Reality.

 

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Some of the leaders of Vaisnavas simply did not agree with the doctrine established in Vrindavana by 6 Goswamis during the Vaisnava renascence in Vrindavana. Sri Vallabhacarya has founded his own sampradaya, were pusti-marga (the same as raganuga-marga) is the aim.

 

To instruct ordinary people on how to attain such aim his followers were very pragmatic completely disdaining the rigid vaidhi-bhakti's discipline as established by the Gaudiya-goswamis, such as illustrated by following the example:

 

"Since the time of AcharyaShri Vitthalnathji (Shri Gusaiji), Raag, Bhog and Shringar took on a new significance in the sect. He highlighted the importance of transforming people's natural addiction to material things to spiritual.

 

"In an imperial age when artistic and cultural achievements were reaching new heights, Gusaiji recognized the need to evolve the more austere form of Shri Vallabhacharyaji's form of worship. In order to make God available to the people of his own time, Shri Gusaiji expressed the basis of Pushti Marg in a way that the modern man / woman could understand and follow.

 

"At a time when new modern musical instruments were being introduced (tabala, sitar etc), new musical modes and raags were being devised, Shri Gusaiji helped preserve the purest form of ancient Indian music - Drupad. He helped resurrect interest in the original Indian music and through his active encouragement, he helped revive popular and imperial interest in Drupad. Tansen, the greatest musician of Akber's court, converted to Islam to further his career at court. Later, impressed by the divine

court of Shri Nathji, and the music it produced, he converted to Pushti Marg and returned to Hinduism.

 

"Shri Gusaiji was a connoisseur of fine things in life - spiritual and material. Just as he helped preserve the best of the old world, he also took ideas from the best of the new world. Many of the bhogas (food items) introduced during his time reflected the culinary delights introduced / invented in the modern India of his time. For example, the jalebi we all eat with such gusto, and a central feature of the bhog during Gusaiji's uttsav, was a new delicacy at the imperial court in Agra. Many regional, courtly and folk delicacies were introduced at the time. Soon, the kitchens of Shri Gopal at Gopalpura were cooking fine delicacies that were certainly the envy of all.

 

"Even in dress code, the purely south Indian dress of dhoti uparna was added to and the Acharya family wore modern court dress - ghardar jamma, charvaag, achkan etc on official occasion. These dresses were also offered to the Lord and on festive occasions, the Lord often wears what can only be termed as haute couture of Medieval India.

 

"It is in Shringar that we see some of the best fusion of this ancient and modern ideals. The age old paagh was now decorated with expensive strings of pearls, rubies and emeralds, a style very much in vogue at the imperial court. Aigrettes with plumes of peacock feathers (at court they wore feathers from various exotic birds) were studded with precious stones, chokers worked in gold and precious stones replaced the enamel ornaments of the previous era. Soon, like the royals of his time, ShriNathji also began to be dressed head to toe in a glittering array of jewels. Even his socks and mojadies were embroided with real jewels.

In this way, Shri Gusaiji helped save the embattled Hindu sense of self-confidence by introducing a new court at Govardhan. A court that could rival the imperial court of Agra and yet be its best friend. Thus embodying the very spirit of the time.

 

"Many of the greatest politicians of the time, rulers and courtiers alike, were drawn to the court of ShriNathji. Akber himself came on a number of occasions to converse with Shri Gusaiji and even managed to obtain darshan of the Lord during Sharad Purnima. During his many visits to Gokul he was even allowed to attend the regular darshans of Shri Navnit Priyaji. Taj begam, the chief queen of Akber and mother to the heir, was a deeply religious woman who was a devotee of Shri Gusaiji. Tansen, Birbal and Raskhan were devotees too. Many Rajput kings prided themselves in being devotees of the sect.

 

"This had a great impact on the fledgling sect at the time. It absorbed many of the customs (purda for example) and ideals of the devotees at the time. Gifts from the royals at the time played a great part in helping to shape the modes of Shringar that were offered to the Lord at the time. Many jewels of that era are still offered to the lord and are worn on special occasions. One of the most important jewels offered at the time is the diamond that is worn in the "chibuk" (chin) of the Lord. Akber offered this during his Sharad Purnima darshan and since than, it has come to occupy a very special place in the shringar of Pushti Marg.

 

"It is not known exactly when pichoies were added to the "Shringar" portion of the darshan, but the idea of using soft furnishings to transform a room was well known at the time of Shri Gusaiji. It is more than possible, that coloured and embroided cloth may have been hung in the inner sanctum of Shri Nathji. Painted pichoies were added later and later still, more and more of them were commissioned and preserved to commemorate special events.

 

"Over the centuries, this idea of progressive infusion has been carried out by several enlightened Goswami balaks. New festivals, such as Teej and Ghoomar have been added. New foods and musical instruments (such as sarangee) have been added to further the raag, bhog and shringar, much espoused by Shri Gusaiji."

 

 

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Thanks again for that info, it fills in a blank space on the canvas of the overall picture I have of this vast and extensive

puzzle.

When I resided in Vrndavan in my younger days, filming various temples and lines of worship, sometimes around the time of the major festivals Like Janmastami and Radhastami, all would work very diligently to out devote the other temples.In a sense it was an unspoken thing but if one remained objective you couldn't help but notice the competition. A little friendly competition never hurt up the standard of devotion.

I'm sure the Lord takes delight in seeing so many beehives busily engaged in making such tastful arrangements for their divine pleasure.

Anyway when I was filming at the Radhavallabha Temple I was always struck with their exquisite flower and jewel decoration, truly amazing artistic craftsman ship, also their musicians are extremely talented but for some reason i always felt it to be more a performance, that was not so easy to enter, as is the sankirtan of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And I would feel separated from the bhajans other than thru meditation, which because I'm attracted to the dance aspect of kirtan would leave me feeling like a porkchop in Jerusalem.

I can see from all that you have related they appear to be very pukkha in their dress and very well groomed, perhaps the Vaisnava equivalent of the English gentry. I can remember thinking the poojari even walked like a peacock, or a French aristocrat, I tend to have a taste for the arts in Krsna

conciousness myself and I think that is what had me very hipnotized. Those deity decorations of Sri Nathji are truly extraordinary but with my simple taste I could never picture The Lord playing in the groves of the forest in all that attire. No offence but I tend to see the Lord in a very relatable fashion 'cept of course in special grand festivities. This feeling tends to arise in the South Indian Temples like Sri Rangan, and Venkateshwaran at Tirupati, I miss the simple cowbow Govinda and of course His Companion. That doesn't diminuish the dedication in these majestic and awe inspiring centres of worship, it's just a personal taste preference.

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>> Those deity decorations of Sri Nathji are truly extraordinary but with my simple taste I could never picture The Lord playing in the groves of the forest in all that attire. No offence but I tend to see the Lord in a very relatable fashion 'cept of course in special grand festivities.

 

Yes, but at first you should understand their conception of Bhagavan's rupa, as follows:

 

"Mahaprabhu Shri Vallabhacharyaji, born of the divine Yagna, gave us nine different svarupas to worship. From the infant form of the Lord all the way to the Lord as Shri Dwarkadhishji! Depending on the attitude and aptitude of the sevak, He gave them different svarupas and differing sevas. One has only to read the 84 Vaishnav's Varta to see how He even accepted two brothers who were into worshipping the non-form of the Lord as his sevak!

 

" Mahaprabhuji was not averse to worshipping the Lord in His diverse forms. He worshipped, on a regular basis, Shri JagganNathji, Shri VitthalNathji (Pandharpur - MH), Shri RanchodRaiji, Shri TirupatiBalalji, Shri RangNathji, Shri BadriNarayan etc. There are bathaks at various sites around India to vouch for His belief in the diverse nature of God.

 

" The Lord lives in various bhavas and depending on your bhav, you should worship the deity who closely matches your bhav. Otherwise, there will always be a mismatch between what you want to do and what you are currently doing - in terms of seva / sadhana. As to why the majority of us worship the infant form of the Lord, rather than any other, well, there are two reasons. One - historical. Second, spiritual.

 

"1) Small form of our Gods is a historical accident that has been later enshrined as a "de rigour" by our gurus since. In pre-islamic India, the svarupas of the gods were relatively large. Visit any ancient shrine, and you will appreciate the "bhaavya / adbhuta" bhava in this. The Lord at Trivendram is so large, that His total darshan requires you to see Him through three doors !!! In the time of Shri Mahaprabhuji, the icons were relatively medium sized - to be transportable during war or threat of destruction from a marauding muslim armies. Let us not forget, MahaPrabhuji's own parents fled from Kashi because of a threat from an invading army. It was a time of great uncertainty and destruction.

 

"Later still, the armies of Aurangzeb caused so much havoc, that the icons of the Lords became smaller still - so that they could be transported hidden in one's turban - in order to escape destruction. For this reason, we still say - so and so Lord resides on so and so's head - "mathai biraj chai". If you look in our sect, NavnitLalji, BalKrishnaji, Madan Mohanji and VitthalNathji are some of the smallest svarupas.

 

"The tradition of making small, transportable svarupas became popular with time, as devotees as preferred a smaller svarupa that they could take care of relatively easily. In home shrines, small icons were preferable to big ones, as space (living or otherwise) was always a precious commodity. Many a times, the seva and its gods had to share a very small area - typically a small gokhalo (niche in the wall) and hence, small icons were more suitable than big ones. It is for this reason, besides small icons, chitra seva became popular.

 

"If you read the historical documents, chitra (picture) seva was non-existant in the time of Shri Mahaprabhuji. Only later, when the Lord came to live at Nathadwara and painters came to paint icons for pilgrims, that the acharyas of the time decided to "modernise" and allow chitra seva. There are many practical reasons for this. For example, In those days, often a daughter may be married outside the sect. In that instant, the girl may not find it easy to worship a svarup in her new home. A chitraji, was seen as a easy compromise. The girl could still have her God in her room, and still not take up any "room" in the seva of her in-laws. Also, it was understood that the chitraji would not require the same seva as a svarupa - ie - no bathing, no jewels, no clothes etc. This was designed to save time for the busy daughter-in-law - she could than concentrate on the svarup of the lord rather than the shringar. Of course, later various elements of seva were developed and now chitra seva is as complex as svarupa seva.

 

" 2) The spiritual reason for bal-seva is more subtle. At a time when people were worshipping the Lord for material gain only, Shri Mahaprabhuji devised a system of worship where, by natural instinct, devotes would not "ask" for any material gain. If you see a mighty ruler, with a magnificent court in front of you, you might be tempted to think of how you can "gain" from a relationship with this powerful person. Seeing a child on the other hand, invokes feeling of maternal / paternal instincts of love.

 

"Let us be brutally honest with ourselves - we are all essentially selfish. "Hatu vina na hoai heta". We tend to keep relationship with people from whom we think we may benefit at some time. Whether this benefit is in kind or not is not the issue - for example - we keep friendship with people that we "like" because keeping that relationship will allow us to do the things we ourselves enjoy - going to films, picnics, restaurants, telling jokes etc etc etc. There is an english proverb - "birds of a feather, flock together" - ie, like minded people stick together. More often than not, this is for mutual benefit.

 

" Same applies to Gods. People tend to worship God when we think we may gain something from Him / Her. Why are Ganesh and Lakshmi so popular? MahaPrabhuji thought about this selfish nature of ours and decided to take us beyond this with the least effort on our part ! His mercy and kindness are beyond compare!! We can ask a "God", in His mighty form, for boons and favors. But, can we ask a baby, still crawling on the floor, for favors? Of course, the first instinct on seeing a baby is to pick it up and play with it. Any baby, even a strangers' baby appears "loveable and cute". As a human instinct, we give to children and never take anything from them! Babies, sweet and innocent as they are, we all know that they can not understand our speech and so we do not bother to "talk" to them - we simply play with them.

 

"Similarly, Shri MahaPrabhuji thought that if we worship the Lord as a baby, we might overcome our greed and instead of "asking" from the Lord, we will "give" to the Lord. What does one give a baby apart from love?! Babies do not care for diamond necklaces and large share portfolios. They only care to play with YOU. They demand your attention and time. Material objects are of no concern to them. Similarly, our BalGopal does not care how important a man you are in this world, for if you do not have time for Him, He has no time for you! If a person plays with Him, He plays with that person!

 

"Even if you are sad or upset, do you show such an emotion to your child? If a baby come to you when you are upset, you immediately wipe your tears, smile and play with the child. Similarly, Shri MahaPrabhuji asks us to go to God with a smile on your face and love in your heart. Tears are forbidden in front of a child! Who would knowingly upset a child with his/her sadness?

 

"In His Balsahaj (child like) manner, He is sometimes shy, sometimes naughty, and sometimes playful. But who can blame a child for all of this? We love a child no matter what he/she does - especially if the baby is very young - at a time when they have just learned to crawl - they are not yet "chatur" enough to do anything else. What else can you do but love such a child! Can you ever "ask" such a child for material gain in this world?

 

"Unfortunately, Shri MahaPrabhuji underestimated our greed! The basis of vatsalya seva / bhav have been long forgotten by us. We go before our Lord and no matter how young or old His form, we ask for ever bigger rewards for our "seva"!!!! We beg like the incessant beggars in the streets of India. The only difference is, they beg in rags, we beg in starched / clean clothes. They beg outside the temple walls, we beg inside!

 

"We have forgotten that the BalKrishna wants to play with us. He is but a child for heaven sakes!! We lock Him up in large impersonal buildings with no one to "play" with Him. Servants only play whilst they are paid! Who plays with the Lord for love? Even in our homes, we wake Him up at our convenience and put Him back to sleep within minutes! In our nice new modern homes, we have many games to play, but no one to play it with! We ignore the child that sits in our seva and indeed in our heart - only because we have ceased to treat Him as a child! We see the BalKrishna as our ticket to something big!

 

"Sarva Dharmeshu nastashu…", truly, all Dharmas must have been destroyed from our heart, if indeed we are asking a baby to give us money! It is the eternal, universal dharma / duty of every adult to assist a child, not the other way around! Yet, shamelessly we do what Shri Acharya Charan never thought we would!

 

"As to why we do not worship the chakra yeilding Lord of KuruKeshtra, it is by choice of our gurus that we worship the svarupas that we do. That does not negate the majesty of the Lord in His various forms. Indeed, as mentioned before, Shri MahaPrabhuji worshipped the Lord in His infinite forms. Our narrow, blinkered view would shock and sadden him indeed!! What is Shri Dwarkadhishji if not the great Lord who preached Shrimad Bhagvat Gita? If we call Him Shri Dwarkadhishji and Dada calls Him Yogeshwar, does it detract from the essence of His lilas?

 

"As time went on, after Shri Gosaiji, in our narrow view, we have restricted the Lord to a few lilas in Vraj. It is fine to view things as eternally sweet and link all things to the Vraj-lila, but, to say that the Lord only existed as THE Lord at that time and no other time, is to insult the great acts / lilas of the Lord in His later life. Yes, a man still remains but a baby in his mother's eye, but that does not mean his achievements as a man are to be belittled in any way!

 

"We do not worship other goddesses in our sect as we consider all beings, divine or otherwise to be part of the Lord. The VishudhaDvaita philosophy of Shri MahaPrabhuji is a step beyond anyone else. If indeed the Lord is truly omnipotent and omnipresent, than nothing in this world exists - not even maya without the Lord's grace. In that case, all things are Him - not just His reflection, but Him Himself!! This part of the philosophy is so fundamental to our marg that we must understand and appreciate it if we are ever to appreciate the importance of Shri Vallabh in our lives. Hence, all Gods and Goddesses are the Lord! We should respect and love all the Vedic gods, as Shri MahaPrabhuji certainly respected them, and so it is our duty to follow all "lokikai Vedikairapi" - social and Vedic traditions.

 

"Coming back to my main point, we have been given nine svarupas to chose from. Depending on our inclinations, the guru should give us THE svarupa for us. The svarup we are given should enhance our feelings towards God and help us progress further on our spiritual path back to the Lord. For those who are full of Madhur bhav, Shri Madan Mohanji and Shri VitthalNathji are their ideal. For those who enjoy the sakha bhav, Shri Nathji, Shri Gokulchandramaji etc are their ideal. For those who wish to worship with dasya bhav, Shri Mathureshji and Dwarkadhishji are ideal. Vatsalya bhav flows easiest when in the presence of Shri BalKrishnaji and Shri NavnitLalji. Ofcourse, any one of the svarupas can be worshiped with sakha, dasya and vatsalya bhav, but some svarupas tend to automatically invoke certain emotions within our heart if only because they correspond to our natural instincts.

 

"There is evidence enough in our Vartas to prove that the early Acharyas gave devotes the svarupas that corresponded to the sevak's natural tendencies. In one instance, Shri Acharya initially gave one svarup to worship and as the sevak naturally progressed to another stage, gave him yet another svarup to worship.

 

"Worship can only occur naturally if the svarup, bhava and sadhana (seva) coincide. This is the marg of sahajabhakti. Bhakti should be sahaj. Bhav should be sahaj. That is the basis of our sect. We must not forget that Krshna means - to attract. The Lord attracts different people differently. Pushti Marg is unique among Hindu sects in that we have NINE svarupas of the Lord that we can worship!!!!!!!!! We have not been restricted in our bhav by our Adya Guru. Let us thank the Lord for His mercy in this decision of Shri MahaPrabhuji. I would encourage you to worship the Lord in the form that you find most appealing. That IS Pushti Marg."

 

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Dear Satyaraja,

 

The following post has somewhat misrepresented our previous discussion and the opinion of Srila Sridhar Maharaja. I am sure this was not your intention but I wanted to respond to clarify the points I previously presented. You wrote:

 

“When we posted this info in this mela recently, a disciple of Srila Shridhara Maharaja has contested this episode by stating that Srila Shridhara Maharaja told him that Srimati Mirabai has never accepted Sri Caitanya's divinity and the shelter of anyone in His line. This verse by Srimati Mirabai demonstrates that at least at in one stage of her devotional life she has accepted Sri Caitanya's divinity.

 

My Reply: Previously our conversation centered on the controversy of whether or not Mira was an initiated disciple of Sri Jiva Goswami. It is the stated opinion of Srila Sridhar M that she is not. Apart from the opinion of SM I cited as evidence the absence of any mention of Mahaprabhu in her songs as well as the general Gaudiya opinion that Sri Jiva had no initiated disciples and referenced this with the opinion of Radha Krishna Goswami a respected acharya in your circle.

 

Apparently you found a song accredited to Mira praising Mahaprabhu. Others on this forum have stated the authenticity of this song is in question and theorized it may be an interpolation meant to link her to the Gaudiyas. I do not know one way or the other but even if we accept that the song is from Mira that does not prove in any way that she was initiated by Sri Jiva. One proposed reference to Mahaprabhu among her hundreds of compositions does not make the case for her being initiated by Sri Jiva. And her connection with Sri Jiva is what is in question.

 

I have included below my two previous posts that show our discussion was centered on the initiation question and not whether Mira had any appreciation for Mahaprabhu. In my opinion it is likely that Mira had some type of appreciation for Mahaprabhu but that was not what the essence of our discussion was about. With Respects, Brahma Das

 

Regarding Sri Jiva and Mirabai: It was the opinion of Srila Sridhar Maharaja that there was no connection between the popular saint Mirabai and Sri Jiva Goswami. This opinion may not be the same as the opinions of another contemporary Acharya as stated on this forum. We know sometimes the details of various opinions differ between respected Acharyas but there is no need to make this a big controversy. When this happens we should consult with our superiors and look at the opinions of scripture and previous acharyas and see if we can harmonize the differences in some way. Those in the circle of faith of one Acharya will have a natural tendency to accept the opinions of their Acharya as conclusive and that is normal. Those in the other circle are not obliged to do so in the same way. The idea is the essence of devotional siddhanta will be the same among all Gaudiya Acharyas. Regarding Mirabai much of the information surrounding her is the stuff of legend and controversy. She is accepted as a saint by most and claimed by many schools both dwaita and adwaita. But the fact is there is no clear line of succession from her so her attainment and affiliation remains a mystery. Many traditions will claim her in much the same way contemporary religions all want to claim Jesus Christ as one of their own. What we do know is that among the Goswami’s Sri Rupa was considered the head. But Sri Rupa had only one initiated disciple and that was Sri Jiva. Sanatan Goswami had none. This was because Mahaprabhu sent Gopal Bhatta Goswami to Vrndavana to be the initiating Acharya. Mahaprabhu sent a seat and a cloth for him to use for this function and these are still preserved at Radha Ramana temple. Opinions vary as to why Mahaprabhu chose Gopal Bhatta but the prominent opinion is that in those caste conscious times Gopal Bhatta was the best choice to be accepted by everyone. His brahmana family can be traced back to the time of Ramanuja who chose his forefather to be head priest of the Ranganath temple. His background was without question. Where as Rupa and Sanatan’s service to a Muslim monarch might be considered a disqualification by those outside Mahaprabhu’s circle of faith. In any case Sri Rupa was the siksa head of the Six Goswamis of Vrndavana and that is the most important position. There is also no record of Sri Jiva ever initiating a disciple although he became the most accomplished writer among the Goswamis and later served as the siksa Guru of the followers of Sri Rupa. The idea that Mirabai was the only initiated disciple of Sri Jiva is questionable. If we look at the songs of Mirabai not only are the confidential associates of Krishna missing so also is any mention of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. How the only initiated disciple of Sri Jiva could fail to mention Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is beyond comprehension. And the idea that Sri Jiva would initiate with the Gopal mantra anyone who did not have the utmost regard for Mahaprabhu as Krishna is also questionable. Mahaprabhu was the heart and soul of Sri Jiva and is mentioned everywhere in his writing. But the fact remains not a word about Mahaprabhu is found in all the songs of Mirabai. Therefore it is the opinion of Srila Sridhar Maharaja that Mirabai had no connection to Sri Jiva and the stories in that regard are fictitious and the stuff of legend. Prabhupad expressed a nice opinion of Mirabai but I have never seen anywhere that he said Mira was initiated by Jiva Goswami or was connected to our line in any way. This does not mean we should not appreciate her in some way as a saint who taught love of Krishna. But the idea of her having a connection to Sri Jiva is questionable. If there is any further information in this regard I am open to considering it but it is doubtful that anyone will be able to find any concrete evidence that Jiva Goswami initiated Mirabai. It is probably for preaching purposes that she is sometimes connected to Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Sincerely, Brahma Das

 

And here is my later post from our conversation.

 

Again, regarding the idea that Jiva Goswami initiated Mirabai here is some evidence to the contrary. Radha Krishna Goswami, whose commentary on Upadesaamrita has been published by Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti (Kesava Maharaja's mission) along with the commentaries of Saraswati Thakura and Thakura Bhaktivinoda, is considered a Rasika Acharya by that group and others. In his book Sadhana-dipika he clearly states that it is common knowledge that Jiva Goswami had no initiated mantra disciples. He further states that Jiva's successor at Radha Damodara temple, Krsna dasa pujari, was his siksa disciple, his student to emphasize his point. Furthermore, Mirabai lived from 1498-1546. During this period Jiva Goswami was not the leader of the sampradaya but rather a young man. Most biographers of Mirabai say that she was initiated by Ravi dasa, who she mentions in her songs. Therefore I want to reemphasize that Srila Sridhar Maharaja did not accept any of the stories that connected Sri Jiva to Mirabai. This includes the common story that Sri Jiva would not see Mira until she mentioned that all the devotees in Vrndavana were female and Krishna the only male. This is a very common story but Sridhar Maharaja believed this meeting never took place. Sri Jiva was born around 1513 and did not become the leader of the sampradaya until after the departure of Rupa and Sanatana. Therefore the story is sometimes adjusted to Mira meeting with Sanatana because the dates are more in her favor. In essence this story tells how Mira corrected either Jiva or Sanatana and thus gained their association. It is believed by many that this story was concocted by some later followers of Mirabai to connect her to the Gaudiya saints and in some ways even put her above them. Respects to all, Brahma Das

 

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A Princess and the River

 

I was with Meera when she had her first glimpse of the Yamuna river.

 

I came upon her first in the small temple of my village. I had heard singing coming from the temple which I did not recognize. When you live in a village you soon become sensitive to all the changes in the texture of sounds and smells. And I heard a voice which I did not recognize.

 

Not that it is unusual for strangers to come to our temple. But it is unusual to hear the kind of voice I heard.

 

There was longing in that voice which would wound the heart of a god. Her song was piercing, like the light after a thunderstorm.

 

As I came around the corner of the temple I saw her dancing by herself. Her song was the drum of the dance. I watched, for I do not know how long, as she danced.

 

I have seen much beauty in my life. The lords of long life have seen fit to show me beauty in many forms. But I have never seen what I saw in that moment. Her movement was a caress of tenderness. She was dancing gently on the finger tips of Krishna. Each footfall was gentleness falling from the sky like rain.

 

I have never seen Krishna face to face. But watching her dance I could make out his form in the shadows which were gathering with the night.

 

As the frogs and crickets began to weave a carpet of sound around the village her song washed through my heart and I was never to be the same again.

 

How could I not follow her when she left?

 

I asked her where she was going and she answered, "To dance on the banks of the Yamuna. My lord has asked me to join the dance."

 

So I followed as she walked her way towards the river where Krishna tamed the serpent.

 

It was morning when we reached a low hill separating us from the Yamuna. We had been walking and singing the entire night. Meera would not think of stopping now that she was so close to her beloved's sacred ground.

 

We sang our feet forward. I must admit that I nearly stopped many times. But one look at the expectation in her eyes and I forgot whatever tiredness I might thought was lurking in my body. As the morning birds began to sing we could feel the moisture of the river upon our faces. The air was laden with the perfume of the Yamuna.

 

She clutched my arm and said, "He is dancing, my dark skinned one, he is dancing so near to me."

 

Then she stopped. She suddenly became shy. Her song stilled upon her lips and I saw the tears in the corners of her eyes. I had no doubt that she was about to meet the Lord of her life.

 

"He is dancing even now, can you hear him?"

 

I listened as best I could, but I only heard the morning bird song.

 

It was then that she came alive with fire. She led me over the hill at a run and we saw the broad waters of the Yamuna bright with the morning sky. She ran straight to the river. She did not stop. For a moment I thought she was going to run over the water, so great was her

faith.

 

She dove into the Yamuna. Her clothes clung to her body as she pulled the waters of the sacred river towards her heart. She dove past time. I began to hear the sound of a flute, and the sound of many women's voices. I heard the dance and my head became heavy with grace. My eyes blurred and suddenly the morning light turned blue. A radiant blue which deepened the green of the forests and painted the water in a hue I have never seen before on this earth.

 

Meera had come home to the Krishna's river.

 

She emerged from the river and danced until she was dry. Only then did she find a tree to sit under and rest from her nights exertion. We both slept through the heat of the day and woke with the evening chorus of frogs.

 

A Rajput princess, myself, the sunset and the river welcomed the night like a long lost lover.

 

(An anonymous)

 

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