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[For the readers' ease – our writing will be in bold letters; the statements of the documentary will be in italics; the references in the form of quotes, articles and discourses given as the Appreciation to the documentary statements will be in normal text.]


On Rasa-lila

"Unlike other, so-called gurus and siddha-purusas of his time, Sarasvati Thakura did not allow his disciples to discuss the details of Krsna's amorous love with the gopis, although Sarasvati Thakura did indeed have many highly qualified disciples. He was particularly disturbed if he heard of any disciples discussing Rasa-lila."

Appreciation:

Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura began his mission with a healthy, conservative emphasis on the fundamental principles of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's teachings. Documented evidence shows that as his mission unfolded he began to reveal progressively advanced topics, all the while making sure that the foundation, guru-seva and nama-sankirtana, was unshakably grounded. It is not surprising then that we find historical accounts of his wise cautions and prohibitions, most notably recorded in books of selected statements by His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja, as well as other statements, admittedly fewer in number, encouraging his followers not to remain forever preoccupied with their disqualifications.

The ultimate intention of the acaryas is, of course, not to confuse us but to convince us that the higher topics should never be taken lightly, cheaply or independently. Rather, they should be received with nothing less than the utmost respect. As Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has clearly remarked (Dec. 24, 1969), caution is one thing but "it is not that we have taken a vow to boycott the gopis."

 

A. Srila Sarasvati Thakura supported proper hearing of Rasa-lila  

Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura did not forbid his highly qualifieddisciples to speak, or to hear Rasa-lila from other bona fide devotees. He must have forbidden beginners, especially from discussing independently. However, he could not have made a blanket statement, prohibiting for all time his disciples in general from hearing appropriately and from the right source.

The following is an excerpt from Srila Sarasvati Thakura's lecture, delivered at Radha-kunda during Vraja-mandala parikrama in 1932. The lecture was printed in "The Gaudiya" in 1934. In that lecture he gave these orders:

 

"All these days we have not spoken about lila. But this is our most confidential asset. This is our only sadhya (perfection). One should not make the mistake of thinking that anartha-nivrtti (overcoming impediments such as lust and greed) is the prayojana (goal of life). One thinking like this will never enter into artha-pravrtti (acquiring one’s actual need). For this reason, I will now begin speaking about asta-kaliya-lila.

"I know that you are not ready to hear it, but we should know that such a transcendental ideal exists within the realm of devotion. Beyond the realm of anartha-nivrtti is artha-pravrtti, pure conjugal service to Radha and Krsna. This is transcendental reality. If we do not know of this transcendental realm, all of our efforts may end in nirvisesa-vada (impersonalism). Do not let your day pass in simply trying for anartha-nivrtti. Artha-pravrtti is also necessary. Anartha-nivrtti is necessary until artha-pravrtti has started. When artha-pravrtti is present, anartha-nivrtti becomes unimportant and artha-pravrtti becomes prominent.

"Those who have chanted harinama for fifteen or twenty years should know such things. The beginners need not hear these topics or they will misunderstand. These topics are for certain audiences, not for all. Also it is said, 'apana bhajana-katha, na kahibe jathatatha.' One should not reveal one’s bhajana to others.' If we disregard this instruction of our previous acaryas, there may be a permanent fall from the realm of devotional service.

"By removing the clothes of the gopis, Lord Sri Krsna obtained happiness; this is Sri Krsna’s sense gratification. Suppose one asks, 'Why is He a sense enjoyer? Let us see Him display the behavior of controlling the senses.' We cannot ask this, because Krsna is not a slave to our desires. By His own will He can show us sense restraint – and He did show it in His form as Gaurasundara. By this pastime, Sri Krsna is informing us that no one has the right to remove the clothes of the gopis except Him.

"Our duty is to cultivate devotional service. Do not think that asta-kaliya-lila smaranam is the property of the sahajiyas. Actually it is our affair. We must retrieve it from the hands of the sahajiyas. Our Sri Gurupada-padma heard these things from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. That is why he used to tell us various confidential things." 

Hankering for Perfection

                The following is an article translated for "The Harmonist" magazine (2005) from the weekly "Gaudiya", Vol. 11, No. 14 (November 12, 1932):

"In 1932 in the month of Kartika, the Gaudiya Matha organized Vraja-mandala Parikrama, spanning eighty-four krosas, under the leadership of Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada. Thousands of devotees from all parts of India participated. The first day of the Parikrama saw a grand procession with nagara-sankirtana, as the pilgrims visited the holy places of Mathura. On different days, Srila Prabhupada had his followers sing various songs composed by the liberated mahajanas, great souls. Through these songs, which are full of heart-felt appeal, Srila Prabhupada showed that their example of continuous hankering for perfection (siddhi-lalasa) should be the sole purpose of all aspirants who have attained the stage of anartha-nivrtti, in which unwanted obstacles are cleared. Srila Prabhupada personally selected the following songs by Srila Narottama dasa Thakura for the devotees to sing:

 

(1)

hari hari! kabe haba vrndavana-vasi

nirakhiba nayane yugala-rupa-rasi

O Sri Hari, when will I be able to live in Vrndavana and be a real Vrajavasi? When will my eyes behold the beautiful forms of the Divine Couple, Sri Radha-Krsna?

 

(2)

radha-krsna sevon mui jivane marane

tara sthana, tara lila dekho ratri-dine

 

I shall serve Sri Radha and Sri Krsna in life and in death. I shall behold Their transcendental abode and pastimes night and day.

Prarthana (Song 48)

 

(3)

hari hari ara kabe palatibe dasa

ei saba kariya bame, aba vrndavana dhame,

ei mane kariyachi asa

O Sri Hari, when will my life change? When will I renounce all worldly affairs and make my way to Sri Vrndavana-dhama? I cherish this hope.

Prarthana (Song 47)

 

            On Srila Prabhupada’s direction, the devotees also sang the following songs by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura:

 

(4)

dekhite dekhite, bhuliba va kabe,

nija-sthula-paricaya

nayane heriba, vraja-pura-sobha,

nitya cid-ananda-maya

 

When will I see that I have forgotten my gross bodily identity and am beholding the exquisite beauty of Vraja, full of eternal, spiritual bliss and cognizance.

vrsabhanu-pure, janama laiba, yavate vivaha ha’be

vraja-gopi-bhava, haibe svabhava, ana bhava na rahibe

 

I shall take birth in Vrsabhanu Maharaja’s town and will marry in the nearby village of Yavat. My sole disposition and nature will be that of a cowherd maiden.

 

nija-siddha-deha, nija-siddha-nama, nija-rupa sva vasana

radha-krpa-bale, labhiba va kabe, krsna-prema-prakarana

 

When will I obtain, by the power of Radha’s mercy, my own eternal spiritual body, my own realized name and dress embellishing my real form? And when will I receive initiation into the techniques of expressing divine love for Krsna?

 

yamuna-salila-aharane giya, bujhibo yugala-rasa

prema-mugdha ha’ye, pagalini-praya, gaiba radhara yasa

 

As I go to draw water from the Yamuna, I will understand the confidential mellows of Yugala-Kisora’s loving affairs. Being captivated by prema, I will sing Sri Radhika’s glories just like a madwoman.] [Only the first verse was presented in the Harmonist article. The rest of the verses were added by us, for the benefit of the readers who may not know the song.]

Gita-mala (Part 5, Song 2)

 

(5)

radha-kunda-tata-kunja-kutira

govardhana-parvata, yamuna-tira

 

A small cottage in a grove on the banks of Radha-kunda, Govardhana Hill, the banks of the Yamuna...

Saranagati (Svikara, Song 4)

 

(6)

(ami) yamuna-puline, kadamba-kanane,

ki herinu sakhi! aja

(amar) syama vamsi-dhari, mani-mancopari,

karelila rasa-raja…

 

O sakhi, what did I see today! In a kadamba grove on the bank of the Yamuna, a beautiful blackish boy holding a flute was standing on a jeweled platform, performing pastimes as Rasaraja, the monarch of all transcendental mellows...

Kalyana-kalpataru (Ami Yamuna Puline)

 

            "At midday on 8 October, at the end of a grand festival with kirtana, Srila Prabhupada began to speak to the assembled devotees in Mathura. On Srila Prabhupada’s instruction, Srimad Bhakti Vilasa Gabhasti-nemi Maharaja sang the prayer 'Hari Hari Ara Kabe Palatibe Dasa' from Srila Narottama dasa Thakura Mahasaya’s collection of poems called Prarthana. At that time, Sri Devaprasada Sarvadhikari, former Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University, arrived and, after paying his regards to Srila Prabhupada, sat down amidst the gathering. Srila Prabhupada proceeded to explain this prayer of Thakura Mahasaya, one line at a time…"

B. He wanted his highly qualified disciples to inform the world about Rasa-lila in an appropriate way

Srila Sarasvati Thakura certainly forbade some beginners from hearing about Rasa-lila, but his order could not have been for all devotees. For example, one of his most renowned disciples is our diksa-guru, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. Our Srila Prabhupada is glorified by the documentary's narrator, as well as in many of the interviews in the documentary, as a pure devotee and perhaps the greatest instrument of Srila Sarasvati Thakura in spreading pure Krsna consciousness all over the world. If it were not for our Srila Prabhupada, most of the world outside India (and even in many places in India) would not even know the name, what to speak of the glories, of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja wrote a summary study of the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, called "Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead." In that summary-study there are six chapters concerning the amorous pastimes of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna, including the Rasa-lila chapters. On our Srila Prabhupada's order, the Krsna book was distributed in many languages to millions of fallen conditioned souls, and so many of them became devotees of Lord Krsna.

It could not have been a fact that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada prohibited our Guru Maharaja from discussing Rasa-lila with his peers, or with those of his choice. The pure devotees' choice is the choice of Sri Krsna Himself.

C. His most renowned preacher supports appropriate hearing of Rasa-lila

The following are some quotes from Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja's translations and purports of Srimad-Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, as well as from his other books. The essence of his statements is that one should hear rasa-katha from proper authority – not from mayavadis, sahajiyas or professional reciters. One should not imitate the Lord's pastimes or think oneself artificially advanced or perfect, but one should respectfully hear from authority. Regarding hearing Rasa-lila, he writes:

 

"Discussion of the Rasa-lila among people in general is not recommended because they are affected by the Mayavada philosophy, but if one who is advanced explains and people hear from him, certainly the hearers will be gradually elevated to the position of Krsna consciousness and liberated from materially contaminated life….Sukadeva Gosvami concludes this episode of Rasa-lila by pointing out that if a person hears from the right source the pastimes of Krsna, who is Visnu Himself, and the gopis, who are expansions of His energy, then he will be relieved from the most dangerous type of disease, namely lust. In other words, one who actually hears the Rasa-lila will become completely freed from the lusty desire of sex life and elevated to the highest level of spiritual understanding." (Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Chapter 33)

 

"According to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the chapters of the Srimad-Bhagavatam describing the Rasa-lila are not meant for ordinary persons; they are meant for liberated persons only. Therefore these descriptions of the Rasa-lila should not be described to ordinary people. Those who are advanced devotees, liberated from material contamination, can try to understand Krsna’s Rasa-lila. One must not try to imagine the Rasa-lila of Radha and Krsna in mundane terms.

           

           "But even though ordinary hearers of Srimad-Bhagavatam do not know the deep significance of Krsna’s Rasa-lila, because they hear about Krsna’s pastimes they become purified. And if they hear from authorized sources, they will be promoted to the transcendental devotional platform. The disease within the heart is lust, the desire to enjoy, and by hearing from authorized sources about Krsna’s pastimes of loving exchanges with the gopis, the deep-rooted lusty desires in the heart will be completely eradicated.

 

"Unfortunately, most people do not hear the Srimad-Bhagavatam from authoritative sources. They hear only from professional reciters. Therefore they remain materially diseased, full of lusty desires. Some become sahajiya, pretending to be Krsna and Radharani and Her gopi friends. In this way they behave as if they were the supreme enjoyer." (A Second Chance, Chapter 16)  

           

           "The conditioned soul should hear the Rasa-lila dance from an authorized spiritual master and be trained by him so that he can understand the whole situation. Thus one can be elevated to the highest standard of spiritual life; otherwise one will be implicated. Material lust is a kind of heart disease, and to cure the material heart disease of the conditioned soul, it is recommended that one should hear, but not from the impersonalist rascals. If one hears from the right sources with right understanding, then his situation will be different." (Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Chapter 33) 

 

"The Lord is so merciful that He Himself descends to take the fallen souls back home to the Kingdom of Godhead, where the erotic principles of Godhead are eternally relished in their real form, distinct from the perverted sexual love so much adored and indulged in by the fallen souls in their diseased condition. The reason the Lord displays the Rasa-lila is essentially to induce all of the fallen souls to give up their diseased morality and religiosity, and to attract them to the kingdom of God to enjoy the reality. A person who actually understands what is Rasa-lila will certainly hate to indulge in mundane sex life." (Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 4.30 purport)

 

"The specific attraction of His pastimes with the gopis should never be misunderstood. The Bhagavatam relates these transcendental pastimes in the Tenth Canto. And in order to reach the position to understand the transcendental nature of Lord Krsna’s pastimes with the gopis, the Bhagavatam promotes the student gradually in nine other cantos." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.28 purport)

 

In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila 4.34) Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami quotes from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.36) on this subject:

anugrahaya bhaktanam manusam deham asthitah

bhajate tadrsih krida yah srutva tat-paro bhavet

 

"Krsna manifests His eternal, human-like form and performs His pastimes to show mercy to the devotees. Having heard such pastimes, one should engage in service to Him."

 

In his purport to this verse, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada writes the following:

 

"…The rasa dance is arranged by Krsna’s internal potency yogamaya, and it is beyond the grasp of the materially affected person. Trying to throw mud into transcendence with their perversity, the sahajiyas misinterpret the sayings tat-paratvena nirmalam and tat-paro bhavet. By misinterpreting tadrsih kridah, they want to indulge in sex while pretending to imitate Lord Krsna. But one must actually understand the imports of the words through the intelligence of the authorized Gosvamis. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, in his prayers to the Gosvamis, has explained his inability to understand such spiritual affairs:

 

rupa-raghunatha-pade hoibe akuti

kabe hama bujhabo se yugala-piriti

 

"'When I shall be eager to understand the literature given by the Gosvamis, then I shall be able to understand the transcendental love affairs of Radha and Krsna.'

 

"In other words, unless one is trained under the disciplic succession of the Gosvamis, one cannot understand Radha and Krsna…" (Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 4.34, Purport)

           

            In the above purport, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada writes that one must hear these transcendental subjects, but not from those who will misinterpret. He translates the next verse, as follows:

            "Here the use of the verb 'bhavet,' which is in the imperative mood, tells us that this certainly must be done. Noncompliance would be abandonment of duty." (Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 4.35, Purport) 

D. He taught: Do hear; don't imitate

                Srila Sarasvati Thakura is a pure follower of his predecessor acaryas. His view is exactly the same as theirs. He would therefore never contradict their words and make a blanket statement saying not to hear rasa-katha. Rather, he would make a blanket statement not to imitate.  His disciple, our Srila Prabhupada, writes:

"One should not be misled by mental concoctions, supposing his material body to be perfect and deeming oneself a sakhi. This is something like ahangrahopasana, that is, a Mayavadi's worship of his own body as the Supreme. Srila Jiva Gosvami has cautioned mundaners to abstain from such conceptions. He also warns that thinking oneself one of the associates of the Supreme without following in the footsteps of the gopis is as offensive as thinking oneself the Supreme. Such thinking is an aparadha. One has to practice living in Vrndavana by hearing about the talks of the gopis with Krsna. However, one should not consider himself a gopi, for this is offensive." (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 8.204-5 purport)

Srila Sukadeva Gosvami told Maharaja Pariksit (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.33.30):

naitat samacarej jatu manasapi hy anisvarah

vinasyaty acaran maudhyad yatha 'rudro 'bdhijam visam

 

"In other words, those who are not isvara, the Supreme Lord, who are powerless and subjected to karma, should never imitate the Lord’s pastimes even within their minds. If anyone foolishly imitates Lord Siva by drinking the poison generated from the ocean, he will certainly be destroyed."

 

            In the Introduction to his translation and commentary of Venu-gita, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja summarizes the commentaries of Srila Jiva Gosvami and Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, as follows:

"The gist of Srila Jiva Gosvami’s and Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura’s commentaries on this verse is that living entities who are subservient to the material body and who are anisvara – bereft of the controlling potency of the Supreme Lord – should never behave in such a way even within their minds. What to speak of actually performing such activities, one should not even desire to do so. In other words, such acts performed by God in transgression of religious codes should not be contemplated even within the mind...

"Here in this verse, imitation of such behavior has been prohibited, yet in the verse to come (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.33.36.) – Yah srutva tat-paro bhavet – it is evident that not only devotees but even others who faithfully hear these pastimes will become fully devoted to the Supreme Lord. This has been further explained in the verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.39)."

E. His authorities comment on hearing Rasa-lila  

                Srila Jiva Gosvami, who is one of the worshipful siksa-gurus of Srila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, comments in his Vaisnava Tosani on the above-mentioned Srimad-Bhagavatam verse about Rasa-lila (10.33.36):

"The words anugrahaya bhaktanam manusam deham asthitah indicate that the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna appears in His original human-like form and performs various pastimes in order to bestow favor upon His devotees.

"Sri Krsna manifests all these pastimes to benefit the devotees. By so doing, even ordinary persons (other than the devotees) who hear even the more common of the Lord’s pastimes become fully intent upon the Lord. Therefore, by hearing the supremely ambrosial Rasa-lila, ordinary persons will certainly become exclusively devoted to the Lord – of this there can be no doubt. This fact will be elaborately discussed in subsequent verses such as vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnoh (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.33.39).

            "The words manusam deham asthitah may also indicate that those jivas who have attained the human form of life are able to hear all these pastimes, and thus they become exclusively devoted to the Supreme Lord. This is so because the Lord incarnates exclusively on the earthly planets (martya-loka), and it is here only that worship of the Lord takes on its predominant form. Consequently, the human beings residing on the earthly planets may easily hear these narrations of the Lord’s pastimes.

"The word bhaktanam appears in this verse. But in some other editions, the word bhutanam is found in its place. In that case, the purport would be as follows: the Lord incarnates only for the sake of the devotees. As a result, the devotees are the root cause of the Lord’s appearance. The Lord also appears in His original human-like form in order to bestow His favor upon the liberated souls (muktas), the aspirants for liberation (mumuksus), sense enjoyers (visayis), and all living entities in accordance with their relationship with the devotees.

"The Lord’s compassion is therefore said to be the cause of His appearance. Nevertheless, it must be understood that the Lord’s favor toward other living entities is due only to their relationship with His devotees. In other words, the Lord bestows favor upon jivas only because of their connection with devotees." (Venu-gita, Introduction, Srila Narayana Maharaja)

 

            Regarding the same verse (10.33.36) beginning 'anugrahaya bhaktanam', Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura – also the worshipful siksa-guru of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura – has commented:

"The Lord performs varieties of pastimes to show favor to His devotees. Having adopted the human form of life, living entities who hear these pastimes become exclusively devoted unto the Lord. In other words, they develop firm faith in hearing the narrations of the Lord’s activities. What more shall I say about the importance of hearing lila-katha?

"And this Rasa-lila, being fully imbued with madhurya-rasa, is eminently distinguished even from the Lord’s other pastimes. Like a jewel, a mantra, or a powerful medicine, this Rasa-lila is endowed with such indisputable, astonishing potency that by hearing it, all persons in the human form become devoted to the Supreme Lord. Therefore all varieties of devotees who hear the descriptions of these pastimes will be successful and obtain supreme pleasure. Can there be any question of doubt in this regard?" (Venu-gita, Introduction, Srila Narayana Maharaja)

F. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami supports hearing Rasa-lila  

                Srila Sukadeva Gosvami tells King Pariksit:

 

vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnoh

sraddhanvito 'nusrnuyad atha varnayed yah

bhaktim param bhagavati pratilabhya kamam

hrd-rogam asv apahinoty acirena dhirah

 

"A transcendentally sober person who, with faith and love continuously hears from a realized soul about the activities of Lord Krsna in His rasa dance with the gopis, or one who describes such activities, can attain full transcendental devotional service at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus lusty material desires, which are the heart disease of all materialistic persons, are for him quickly and completely vanquished." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.33.39)

 

            Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja comments on this verse:

 

            "But actually, sastra says if one hears Rasa-lila, then lusty desires will be finished: vikriditam idam ca visnoh vraja-vadhubhir…hrd-rogam asv apahinoty acirena dhirah. That is the result. If one actually hears from the right source, then this lusty desire of sex life will be finished. No more." (Room Conversation, Vrndavana, September 11, 1974)

 

            Srila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada is the faithful follower of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. Srila Cakravarti Thakura writes in his Srimad-Bhagavatam commentary on this same verse:

"…ktva pratyayena hrd-rogavaty apy adhikarini pratham ataeva premnah pravesas tatas tat prabhavenaivacirato hrd roga nasa iti premayam jnana yoga iva na durlabha paratantras ceti bhavah….

            "…The suffix ktva has been used in the formation of the verb pratilabhya (obtained) as follows: prati + labh + ktva. According to the rules of Sanskrit grammar, when the suffix ktva is applied to a verbal root with a prefix, it is replaced by yap. Then the letter 'p' is dropped and thus the final form of the word 'pratilabhya' is obtained. The suffix ktva is applied to the first of the two verbs performed by the same agent to show successive action (i.e., having attained prema he relinquishes all lusty desires in the heart). In this case the first action is pratilabhya (the attainment of prema) and the second action is apahinoti (renunciation of lusty desires of the heart).

"Therefore the suffix ktva in the verb pratilabhya indicates that although lust and other evils still remain within the heart, prema-bhakti first enters the heart and, by its extraordinary influence, destroys all vices to the root. In other words, hearing and reciting Rasa-lila possesses such astonishing power that the lust in the heart of the faithful sadhaka is destroyed and he attains prema. Though these two take place simultaneously, the influence of prema manifests first, and through its effect, all lusty desires of the heart are dissipated.

"Thus, as a result of hearing and chanting the narrations of the Lord’s pastimes, one first attains prema for the Lord’s lotus feet and thereafter one’s heart is liberated from lusty desires and all other contamination. In other words he becomes perfectly pure, because prema is not feeble like the process of jnana and yoga. Bhakti is omnipotent and supremely independent." (Venu-gita, Introduction, Srila Narayana Maharaja)

           

            Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada states that the listener can be bona fide, even with lusty desires still in his heart:

"If a bona fide listener hears of Krsna’s pastimes with the gopis, which seem to be lusty affairs, the lusty desires in his heart, which constitute the heart disease of the conditioned soul, will be vanquished, and he will become a most exalted devotee of the Lord." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.1.30 purport)

 

            Our Srila Prabhupada does not state that one who has anarthas should not hear. Rather, he states that one should not hear from mayavadis and professional reciters:

"And bhaktim param bhagavati pratilabhya kama. This is the result. Not that after hearing Rasa-lila, ‘Oh, let me imitate. Let me also dance with young girls and enjoy.’ This is going on. Rascal mayavadis they do that. Perhaps you know. There are so many instances. But actually, the result will be this hrd-rogam kamam acirena dhirah. No more desire." (Lecture, Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.9, Vrndavana, October 31, 1976)

 

"The pleasure potency is called Srimati Radharani. The attraction of loving affairs on the basis of sex feeling is the original feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We, the conditioned souls, being part and parcel of the Supreme, have such feelings also, but they are experienced in a perverted minute condition. Therefore, when those who are after sex-life in this material world hear about Krsna’s pastimes with the gopis, they will relish transcendental pleasure although it appears to be materialistic. The advantage will be that they will gradually be elevated to the spiritual platform. In the Bhagavatam it is stated that if one hears the pastimes of Lord Krsna with the gopis from authorities, with submission, then he will be promoted to the platform of transcendental loving service to the Lord, and the material disease of lust within his heart will be completely vanquished. In other words, such hearing will counteract material sex-life." (Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Introduction)

G. Atheists do not believe in Srila Sukadeva Gosvami's verse

                Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura further discusses the above verse beginning "vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir" (SB 3.33.39), concentrating on the last word, dhira:

"The word dhira means pandita, or one who is learned in the sastra. One who refuses to accept the claim of this verse and thinks, 'As long as the disease of lust remains in the heart, prema cannot be obtained,' is said to possess an atheistic temperament. One who is free from such a foolish, atheistic demeanor is known as pandita or sober person (dhira). Consequently, only those who have firm faith in the sastra are known as dhira. Those who have no faith in the statements of the sastra are atheistic and offenders to the holy name. Such persons can never attain prema.

"Therefore, only faithful sadhakas with firm belief in the statements of sastra, Guru and Vaisnavas are eligible to hear the lila-katha of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is saturated with rasa. And conversely, those who believe that only sadhakas who are completely free from all anarthas are eligible to hear the above-mentioned pastimes, will neither become free from anarthas nor obtain eligibility to hear – even after millions of births." (Venu-gita, Introduction, Srila Narayana Maharaja)

 

            Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja comments as follows in the Introduction to his translation of Venu-gita:

"Consequently, in the heart of the sadhakas who firmly believe in the statements of the sastra, faith arises by hearing Rasa-lila and other narrations. Only in the hearts of such faithful devotees does prema manifest its influence as a result of hearing lila-katha. Thereafter, lust and all evils present within the heart of the devotees are destroyed to the root."

H. All Gaudiya Vaisnavas believe in this verse

The Introduction continues:

"….Another point to consider is that if this argument is accepted (that one has to be free of anarthas before hearing lila-katha), then we sadhakas who are still affected by anarthas, although possessing faith, could never read nor hear the sacred books of rasika Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas like Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Under such a circumstance, we would be forever deprived of the extremely confidential and elevated truths of bhakti expressed by these acaryas. There would be no possibility that the sprout of greed for raganuga-bhakti would ever be awakened in our hearts. Thus we would be forever cheated from that which was not previously given, the prema-rasa of the most munificent Sri Sacinandana, the bestower of krsna-prema. What then would distinguish the Sri Gaudiya Vaisnavas who have taken shelter of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu from Vaisnavas of other sampradayas?" 

 

            Self-realized Gurus are the asraya-vigraha manifestations of Lord Krsna Himself. Therefore they have the power and right to know to whom to speak. In 1968, in Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s lecture to relatively new devotees on the appearance day of Srimati Radharani, he spoke about the Lord’s pleasure potency:

            "So we have described about the Radha-Krsna loving affairs in our Teachings of Lord Caitanya in page 264. If you have got this book, you can read it, how the reciprocation of loving affairs of Radha-Krsna is there, transcendental."

 

I. Who will say not to hear?

                The following is an excerpt from a lecture given by Srila Narayana Maharaja in Wales, in July of 2000:

 

"There are four ways to tell others not to read Tenth Canto. The first is in ignorance. Elevated and high-class devotees know all the reasons why Caitanya Mahaprabhu descended to this world. Do you know why He came? If you are not reading and hearing the Tenth Canto Srimad-Bhagavatam you cannot know. You will be cheated of this knowledge. So you should try to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from elevated Vaisnavas. Do not think, as some devotees may tell you, that we should not read the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

            "Good devotees know everything, and they may tell you in the second way: 'You should begin from the First Canto, then the Second, the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and thus you can go there.'

"The third way is to cleverly create curiosity. How will they do so? They will say: 'What is in my hands? Can you tell me what I have in my hands?' Others then become curious to know. If anyone tells you: 'Do not read the Tenth Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam!' this curiosity may come automatically: 'What is there? I should know that!' In order to increase others' curiosity to hear and read Srimad-Bhagavatam, devotees speak like this.

"In the fourth way the speaker is speaking exactly the opposite of what he means. When Srila Rupa Gosvami writes, 'Don't go to the banks of the Jamuna where Govinda is sweetly playing on His flute, because then you'll forget all about your society, friendship and love,' he means, 'Do go.' For all these reasons, devotees tell these things.

"There was a devotee in my village who used to go to the Ganges river to take bath daily. Whenever someone came and called out to him, 'Rama! Rama!' he acted like he was furious. Taking his stick, he looked like he wanted to beat that person. Why did he do so? And why did all the boys from all the villages call out to him in this way? Whenever they said, 'Rama! Rama!' he would pretend to beat them. Why did he do so? In order to make them chant, 'Rama! Rama!' It was a kind of fun for them.

"If anyone is telling that you should not read the Srimad-Bhagavatam, there should be a curiosity to know what is inside: 'There must be some jewel there.'

"Without hearing and reading, especially without hearing the Tenth Canto Srimad-Bhagavatam, you cannot decide the aim and object of your devotional life. On the other hand, by hearing the Tenth Canto, greed may come to attain that object."

            Self-realized Gurus are the asraya-vigraha manifestations of Lord Krsna Himself. Therefore they have the power and right to know to whom to speak. In 1968, in Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s lecture to relatively new devotees on the appearance day of Srimati Radharani, he spoke about the Lord’s pleasure potency:

            "So we have described about the Radha-Krsna loving affairs in our Teachings of Lord Caitanya in page 264. If you have got this book, you can read it, how the reciprocation of loving affairs of Radha-Krsna is there, transcendental."

 
 
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