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Rasika Darshan

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Rasika Darsana


Q & A with Swami B. V. Tripurari


"On numerous occasions my Guru Maharaja expressed an affinity for

sakhya rasa, and in my experience many of his disciples have an

undeveloped but natural attraction for this spiritual sentiment."


Q. We commonly hear that all the gurus in the line of Sri Rupa Goswami

(the Gaudiya sampradaya) are in a type of conjugal love with Krsna

known as manjari bhava. However some devotees point to the following

prayer written by Srila Prabhupada as evidence that his spiritual

identity in Krsna lila was that of a cowherd boy in sakhya bhava

(friendly love). What are your thoughts on this?


"O my dear brother! Meeting you again I will experience great joy.

Wandering about the pastures and fields, I will pass the entire day

with you tending the cows. Joking with you and frolicking throughout so

many forests of Vraja, I will roll upon the ground in spiritual

ecstasy. When, oh when will that day be mine?" (Prayer to the Lotus

Feet of Krsna)


A. Most of the gurus and siddhas in our sampradaya have an affinity for

manjari bhava, but there are some exceptions. Siddhas such as Vamsidasa

babaji and Srila Prabhupada's godbrother, Akincana Krsnadasa babaji are

examples. The diksa guru of Syamananda dasa, Hrdaya Caitanya, was in

sakhya rasa. Indeed, the Gaudiya sampradaya began when the dvadasa

gopalas (twelve cowherd friends of Krsna) appeared with Nitai and Gaura

and began initiating disciples. So there is no prohibition in the

Gaudiya sampradaya against having a guru in sakhya rasa, and if you

have a sat guru who is situated in sakhya rasa, it is not a problem.


On numerous occasions my Guru Maharaja expressed an affinity for sakhya

rasa, and in my experience many of his disciples have an undeveloped

but natural attraction for this spiritual sentiment. Pujyapada Sridhara

Deva Goswami considered him to be in sakhya-rati. However, to harmonize

the sentiments of some of his disciples, Srila Sridhara Maharaja also

said it is possible that Srila Prabhupada veiled his sentiments for

manjari bhava out of deference to Nityananda Prabhu, who empowered him

to preach, and while under the influence of Nityananda Prabhu expressed

sentiments for sakhya bhava. Such a possibility exists, although it

seems unlikely because almost the entire Nityananda parivara openly

express affinity for manjari bhava.


[Editors note: More on this topic can be found in the Sanga entitled:

Highest Rasa: "Fools Rush In"]


Q. According to Rupa Gosvami, sakhya-rati is presided over by Upendra.

Can you offer an explanation of this?


A. Upendra is another name for Govinda. Upendra means either one who

comes after Indra, as in the case of Vamanadeva who appears as Indra's

younger brother, or one who is above Indra, as in the case of Govinda.

It was Indra, chief of the gods, who crowned Krsna as the Lord of the

gods and, in conjunction with Surabhi and the other gods present, gave

him the name Govinda. In Sri Hari Vamsa (2.19.46) and Visnu Purana

(5.12.12), Indra gives Krsna the name Upendra at the end of the

Govardhana lila. In Sri Hari Vamsa, Indra says, sa mamopari yathendras

tvam sthapito gobhir isvarah, upendra iti krsna tvam gasyanti divi

devatah: "O Krsna, because the cows have established you as the Indra

above me, the supreme controller, the devas in heaven will call you

Upendra." In the same lila described in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Surabhi

under Indra's direction names Krsna "Govinda" instead of Upendra.

Govinda means he who gives pleasure to or is known by the cows, or he

who is the Lord of the cows. The cows are said to be the source of the

gods--gobhyo devah samutthitah. Thus the name Govinda--Lord of the

cows--is synonymous with the name Upendra--he who is above Indra. So it

is this Upendra--Govinda--not the Upendra who is the younger brother of

Indra, that is the personification of sakhya rati. Furthermore, in

Gopala-tapani Upanisad it is revealed that the name Govinda in the

eighteen-syllable Krsna mantra is identified with sakhya-rati. He who

gives pleasure to the cows, Sri Govinda, does so in his eternal lila by

taking them into the forest along with his comrades, all of whom love

him as their dearest friend. This lila and this name and form of God

are all about sakhya-rati.


Q. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's principal associate Sri Nityananda Prabhu

is known as akrodha paramananda nityananda-raya, which means that he is

always joyful in transcendental bliss and never becomes angry. However

it is narrated in the book Nityananda-caritamrta that Nityananda Prabhu

visited a Buddhist monastery and found the Buddhists all sitting

together. The Lord then asked a question and when no one replied he

became angry and kicked the Buddhists in the head. I find this quite

confusing. Why did such an uncharacteristic display of anger come from

Nityananda Prabhu?


A. The text you mention is originally from Caitanya Bhagavata

(1.9.145). It goes on to say that the Buddhists smiled in return,

paldila bauddha-gana hasiya hasiya. So Nityananda Prabhu somehow made

them happy. This is his principal characteristic. Therefore Locana dasa

prays to him thus, ha ha prabhu nityananda premananda sukhi,

krpabalokana koro ami baro duhkhi: "My dear Lord Nityananda, you are

always joyful in spiritual bliss. Since you always appear very happy, I

have come to you because I am most unhappy. If you kindly cast your

glance upon me, I may also become happy." It appears that the followers

of Nityananda Prabhu often speak of kicking in the head people who do

not take advantage of Mahaprabhu's mercy. This is a peculiar expression

of their particular bhava (sakhya bhava/fraternal love), in which the

eagerness for heroism and a good fight that is prominent in sakhya

bhava is transformed into an expression of religious heroism in

Caitanya lila. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura said that this is an

example of their special mercy, for it immediately draws Krsna's

sympathy to those whom they insult.


However, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has cautioned that while great

devotees may sometimes speak like this out of bhava, less advanced

devotees should not imitate them.


Q. Souls emanating from Balarama are said to be replete with knowledge

(nitya siddha), while those emanating from Maha-Visnu are lacking in

knowledge (nitya-baddha). Is this due to Balarama being a greater

manifestation of Krsna?


A. There are different types of souls. Souls emanating from Maha-Visnu

are called tatastha-sakti (marginal energy); these souls can lose sight

of themselves and become inhabitants of the material world. They are

part of the Lord's play known as srsti lila, the lila of creation.

Souls emanating from Baladeva, Sri Radha, Subala, and so on are never

subject to material illusion. They are not involved with the material

energy because their source is not involved, as is Maha-Visnu in the

case of the nitya-baddha jivas.


Q. Some saints in Krsna lila or Caitanya lila are described as

combinations of different personalities; for example, Ramananda Raya,

the associate of Sri Chaitanya, is said to be Arjuna and Visaka sakhi

simultaneously. How are we to understand this and which Arjuna is being

referred to, the cowherd friend of Krsna in Vraja lila or the warrior

friend of Krsna of Bhagavad-gita fame?


A. Eternal associates (nitya parsada) of Krsna like Ramananda Raya are

constituted of Krsna's svarupa-sakti, unlike the jiva souls in the

material world who are constituted of his tatastha-sakti. Nitya parsada

souls often appear with the Lord in his various incarnations in

appropriate forms or in more than one form. For that matter when the

jiva comes under the influence of Krsna's svarupa-sakti, it can realize

more than one spiritual form in which to serve Krsna. For example, it

is taught in the Gaudiya tradition that the jiva can attain a form as a

young brahmana boy in Gaura lila and a corresponding form as a gopi or

gopa in Krsna lila.


Sri Jiva Goswami cites a passage from the Candogya Upanisad in his

Priti-sandarbha in this regard, interpreting it in an interesting way.

Sri Jiva says, "By his own will a liberated soul can manifest many

different forms. This is described in these words of Candogya Upanisad

(7.26.2): sa ekadha bhavati, dvidha bhavati, tridha bhavati: 'The

liberated soul may manifest one form, two forms, three forms, or more

forms than that.' "


He cites this passage while speaking about the highest liberation, as

described in the preceding chapter of the same Upanisad. Sri Jiva says,

"The highest state of liberation is described in these words of

Candogya Upanisad (7.25.2): sa va evam pasyann evam manvana evam

vijanann atma-ratir atma-krida atma-mithuna, 'In this way the liberated

soul sees God, thinks of him, understands him, delights in him, and

enjoys pastimes with him.' " Candogya 7.26.2 cited above is referring

to spiritual forms and the potential of the liberated to have more than

one such form for the sake of lila with Bhagavan.


Regarding Ramananda Raya in particular, various devotees have

identified him differently. Kavi Karnapura identified him with the gopi

Lalita and the Pandava Arjuna based upon the Ramananda-samvada's being

roughly analogous to the Bhagavad-gita. He also identifies him as the

priyanarma sakha Arjuna of Vraja-lila based on his pacifying Sri

Caitanya when he assumed the bhava of Krsna in separation from Radha.

Priyanarma sakhas are confidential friends of Krsna who are involved in

service within the romantic life of Radha-Krsna.


Others such as Bhaktivinoda Thakura have identified Ramananda Raya with

Visakha gopi based on Visakha's being so similar to Radha, having been

born on the same day, and so on. Because of this similarity, she (as

Ramananda Raya) is eminently qualified to help Caitanya Mahaprabhu

enter Radha's bhava. Such is the rasika darsana (visionary ecstasy) of

different devotees, and such is the potential of the nitya parsadas of

Sri Krsna.


[Editor's note: More information on priyanarma sakhas can be found in

the Sanga entitled "The Dearmost Friend of Krsna."]


Questions or comments may be submitted at the Q&A Forum

http://www.swami.org/sanga/ or email sangaeditor@swami.org.


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