Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
(An informal meeting at the airport in Hong Kong)
April 16, 2008
[Devotee:] You teach, and it’s stated in scripture, that all those in the line of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu have two constitutional or spiritual forms – one in the pastimes of Radha and Krishna and one in the pastimes of Mahaprabhu. Many scriptures describe the personal services of Shrimati Radharani’s maidservants, Shri Rupa Manjari and her followers, in Radharani’s transcendental pastimes with Krishna. So my question is this: what are the personal services of the followers of Shrila Rupa Gosvami in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabu’s pastimes?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] It may be that they have two constitutional forms – one in Krishna’s pastimes and also one in Mahaprabhu’s pastimes. Shrila Kavi Karnapura has explained this in his book, Shri Gaura-ganodessa-dipika, and Shrila Rupa Gosvami has explained this in his Radha-Krishna-ganodessa-dipika. Shrila Kavi Karnapura has written that in Gaura-lila (Mahaprabhu’s pastimes) Radhika is Shri Gadhadhara Pandita, Lalita-devi is Shri Svarupa Damodara, and Visakha-devi is Shri Raya Ramananda. He has told everything in this regard.
[Devotee:] With reference to the books and prayers of Shrila Rupa Gosvami, Shrila Raghunatha das Gosvami, Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura and our other acaryas (spiritual preceptors), you have told us many times about the personal services of the followers of Rupa Manjari in Goloka-Vrndavana.
[Shrila Naryana Gosvami Maharaja:] Their services are rendered according to their group (yutha). For example, Rupa Manjari is in the group of Lalita-devi. Lalita-devi has delegated so many duties for those in her group. How can I decide what are their duties?
[Devotee:] You have told about their many services, like assisting Shrimati Radharani in cooking for Krishna and in serving His prasadam.
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Some make garlands, some fan Her with a chamara fan, some make powders for massaging Her, and there are so many other services.
[Devotee:] When those same maidservants came in the form of followers of Shrila Rupa Gosvami in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes, what are their services to Mahaprabhu?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] You can see in Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta what Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda, and Rupa Gosvami are doing. What is Shrila Rupa Gosvami doing?
[Devotee:] Mostly kirtana, offering obeisances, and writing books?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:]
sri-caitanya-mano bhistam sthapitam yena bhutale
svayam rupah kada mahyam dadati sva padantikam
[“When will Shri Rupa Gosvami give me the shelter of his lotus feet? Because he understood the innermost desire of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he was able to establish His mission in this world and is very dear to the Lord.”]
[Devotee:] And preaching – establishing His mission. Do all the followers of Shrila Rupa Gosvami have the same kind of services?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] There may be some differences, but those different duties are all according to a particular group. Each group has various duties.
[Devotee:] Do they also render personal services?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] One may write books, preach, and perform kirtana. Shrila Haridasa Thakura performed kirtana and japa chanting of the holy names. Shri Svarupa Damodara was always with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the Gambhira. Shrila Sanatana Gosvami was writing books, establishing Deities, and engaged in so many other services. Regarding their followers, they do likewise. What am I doing? I am not an eternal associate, but what am I doing? What was Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja doing?
[Devotee:] Writing, preaching and opening temples.
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] And inspiring everyone to perform bhajana – doing that for which Mahaprabhu came.
[Devotee:] Do Shrila Rupa Gosvami and his followers also perform personal services like cooking and serving prasadam?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] You can see what they do by reading Chaitanya-caritamrta and other authorized books.
[Devotee:] All of our acaryas are performing those varieties of services?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] We should also become qualified to do this.
[Jayasri dasi:] Shrila Gurudeva, you say that only a pure Vaisnava or Guru can give the seed of bhakti to the conditioned soul. At the same time, it is said that the seed of bhakti is already within each soul. How can we reconcile this?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] The seed of bhakti is present in each soul, but there is something more to be given. A seed alone will not suffice. If some water, air, soil, and sunrays are given to the seed, then it will sprout. Do you understand?
[Jayasri dasi:] I remember you saying that bhakti or pure devotion is the sentiment for Radha and Krishna – the special feeling or love and affection for Radha and Krishna. Does this mean that the Guru gives this sentiment? Is that correct?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] First he gives a seed – the desire to serve Shri Radha and Krishna. Though the seed is already in the heart of the soul, Guru makes an environment for that seed to sprout. So he gives something.
[Jayasri dasi:] How can the seed sprout?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] By water, air, and sunrays. The bona fide spiritual master gives all these things by speaking about topics that are favorable and inspiring for bhakti. He gives hari-katha and diksa and a relationship with Shri Krishna.
[Jayasri dasi:] The Shrimad-Bhagavatam mentions that the real Buddha is an incarnation of Krishna. Why is the real Buddha not worshipped nowadays? Why is it that a false Buddha is worshipped?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] We preach about the real Buddha wherever we go. Do you know the difference between the Bhagavata Buddha (the incarnation of Shri Krishna) and the atheist Buddha?
[Jayasri dasi:] Yes, you told us this before, many years ago in Taiwan.
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] We tell this everywhere. Those in the line of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura teach this truth. So some people know – but where we do not go, they do not know. Now it is your duty to preach this mission.
[Dinanatha dasa:] Your Gurudeva’s book (Shrila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja’s book), Mayavada-jivana (Beyond Nirvana), mentions that Sankaracarya was defeated by the Buddhists in Tibet, and as a result of this defeat he put himself in boiling oil and gave up his life.
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Yes, what my Gurudeva has written is true. He has evidence.
[Jayasri dasi:] How can this be true? Was Sankaracarya not a scholar like the Tibetan (Buddhist) Lama guru?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Sankaracarya defeated all kinds of religious persons in India, but he could not defeat any devotee. He never defeated any devotee of Krishna, or Rama, or any incarnation of Visnu. He only defeated jnanis (mental speculators) and karmis (materialistic philosophers).
[Jayasri dasi:] Isn’t Sankaracarya more advanced than any Mayavadi or Buddhist? How can he be defeated by them? Isn’t he more advanced?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] He can be defeated by them because he has accepted Buddhism. He accepted and preached ‘covered Buddhism’, a hidden form of Buddhism. Do you understand?
The root of Sankaracarya’s teaching is Buddhism. His guru was Govindapada, whose guru was Gaurapada. They knew better than him about Buddhism.
[Jayasri dasi:] So the guru of Sankaracarya is more powerful than Sankaracarya.
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Yes, more powerful.
[Devotee:] Since both of them are not bona fide, what is the significance of one un-bona fide teaching or teacher defeating another un-bona fide teaching?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Sankaracarya has taught a special thing – they accept the Vedas and also the Supreme Lord as the creator. [They say that there is a Supreme Lord, but He has no form; He is impersonal.] This is the only difference. Buddhism doesn’t accept this. Gaurapada was the guru of Sankaracarya’s guru. The disciple of Gaurapada wrote commentaries called Sankya Karika from which Sankaracaraya based his own commentary and preached his mayavada philosphy. They knew more than Sankaracarya; no doubt.
It may be also said that Sankaracarya was actually Sankara, Mahadeva, Lord Siva. No one can defeat Sankara, so it was only by the wish of Krishna that he could be defeated. Now his duty was completed. There was no need of staying in this world any longer.
[Jayasri dasi:] But the way he died was quite horrible – to die in boiling oil!
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] There was a ruling of the Buddhists that no one should deviate from Buddhism and no one should follow Sankaracarya. To this end, they determined that everyone should see how he received such a painful death. It was declared before the debate that the person who loses will enter boiling oil.
This may be likened to the Muslim Kazi who declared that Shrila Haridasa Thakura should not be beaten inside a house, but in 22 marketplaces. In this way everyone would know, and no one would dare to give up Muslimism to accept Hinduism.
[Dinanatha dasa:] Yes, it was to create fear. But, at least the mayavada philosophy accepted the Lord . This is more favorable than Buddhism. If Sankaracarya had defeated that Buddhist, wouldn’t that have been more favorable for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Somehow this was the will of Krishna. No one can challenge Krishna. Without Krishna’s will, nothing can be done. Even a blade of grass cannot move, and leaves cannot move, without His will. So, there was some reason that Sankaracarya was defeated. Why did Duryodhana want to disrobe Draupadi and make her naked? Was she meant to suffer for some past karma?
[Devotee:] He was envious.
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] No, no, no. Krishna personally inspired Duryodhana to do this. From within his heart, Krishna told him: “You should do this.” Krishna thought, “In this way the Mahabharata battle will take place and I will have the opportunity to kill all the Kauravas.”
[Madhava Maharaja:] Krishna thought, “I will take away the burden from the Earth.”
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] There are so many reasons.
[Madhava Maharaja:] Krishna wanted to show the world Draupadi’s surrender. She called Krishna, and He was bound to come.
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] This may also be the reason: During the attempted disrobing of Draupadi, Bhima declared, “I will break the legs of Duryodhana, because he said, ‘Naked Draupidi will sit on my lap.’ And I will break the arm of Duhsasana because he pulled her cloth with that arm.”
[Devotee:] Shrila Gurudeva, a couple of days ago you were speaking about the pastimes of Lord Rama. You said that Rama placed the real Sita in the care of Agni-deva (the fire god), and the false Sita was kidnapped. Then Rama was weeping in the forest, “Alas Sita, Alas Sita…”
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] This is Rama’s sweet pastimes as a human.
[Devotee:] But He already knew that She was with Agni-deva. Why would He weep?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Now He is thinking, “I have forgotten all of this.”
[Devotee:] Oh, very interesting.
[As he was leaving for his gate Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja called out to the devotees present:] Come to India in October for Vraja Mandal Parikrama. I am inviting you all.
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Assistant Editors: Hariballabha dasi
Transcriber and proofreader: Vasanti dasi
Typist: Anita dasi
Proof-reader: Krishna-kamini dasi