Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Srila Maharaja speaking at Sri Sri Krsna-Balarama Temple in Vrndavana in the early 1990s

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Mathura, India: 1991
Discussions with the GBC on the book, Raga-Vartma-Candrika [Part 5] (links for parts 1, 2, 3, 4)

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: This is the third of the three important slokas discussed by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura in his Rag-vartma-candrika:

sravanotkirtanadini vaidhi-bhakty uditani tu
yany angani ca tanyatra vijneyani manisibhih

["In vaidhi-bhakti one should practice the limbs of bhakti like sravana, kirtana, and so on according to one’s qualification. Similarly, it has been advised by scholars who are well versed in the principles of bhakti to follow the same practices on the path of raganuga-bhakti." (Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, 1.296)

Sravanotkirtanadini: This refers to all the nine limbs (angas) of bhakti; or to the five main limbs, namely sadhu-sanga (association of pure devotees), nama-kirtana (chanting the Lord’s holy names), bhagavata-sravana (hearing narrations of Srimad-Bhagavatam from the pure devotee), mathura-vasa (living in Vraja, Navadvipa, and Puri); and sri-murtira-sraddhaya-sevana (serving the Deity with faith). Whatever limbs of bhakti are executed in vaidhi-bhakti should be adopted in madhurya (raganuga)-bhakti also, but the bhava will be changed.

I will tell something more on another day.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: When we are doing japa, we are remembering the services described by Raghunatha dasa Gosvami in Vilapa-Kusumanjali – how he is preparing the cottage house near Radha-Kunda where Radha and Krsna will meet, how Rupa Manjari is massaging Krsna’s feet and Rati Manjari is massaging Srimati Radhika’s feet *[This conception is against Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta. Please see endnote. -ed]; this type of meditation. If we remember these activities while we are chanting, that is alright? We are not thinking that we are doing it; we are remembering that they are doing it.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Remembering, and having some greed to serve like that. Moreover, if you hear the meanings, which are very deep, then you will feel more joy and you will be able to remember with more greed. For now do as you are doing, and after that, when Krsna and your Gurudeva reveal what they want you to do, you should do that.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: Can I ask some questions? When we are meditating on the activities of Sri Rupa Manjari and Sri Rati Manjari, we know that our Guru is also assisting them. So I want to know: when you are meditating on your Gurudeva, do you also meditate on assisting him in his service to Rupa Manjari?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: We do it as assistants of Vinoda Manjari.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: How does a disciple – just as you are his disciple – how do you meditate on assisting Vinoda Manjari?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: I will tell you afterward. You will also know your Gurudeva by his grace, and you will meditate accordingly.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: I am asking this because you are always saying that we should meditate on Rupa Manjari or Rati Manjari. So I am only asking if we should meditate on our Gurudeva as you are meditating on serving Vinoda Manjari.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: As our acaryas have done, we meditate on our Gurudeva as a very near and dear sakhi of Rupa Manjari; and who has qualities like those of Rupa Manjari, but not exactly the same.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: As we are assisting our Gurudeva in our sadhaka form here, will we also be assisting him there?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: The form of your Gurudeva which you have seen and served will surely come to you, so you can pray to him that he will manifest in that truth in your heart. Then, when he gives you his darsana, at that time your meditation will be very easy for you. It is certain that he will somehow give an idea, and after that you will be able to realize and serve him there. Now you should only pray to him, “Please manifest yourself as you serve in Krsna-lila.”

Burijana dasa: “Tan no guroh pracodayat.”

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Yes, that is the guru-mantra. We should know that he is certainly a sakhi of Rupa Manjari, he is doing all these things [performing all varieties of services to Srimati Radhika under Rupa Manjari’s guidance].

Regarding your Gurudeva’s sadhaka-sarira (the form as a devotee engaged in sadhana-bhajana in this world), that is already known to you. You can realize what you have seen and who you served as you watched him engage in sadhana-bhajana.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: I can hold these questions ‘till next time, if you want, but I have a question to ask you about Caitanya-lila. Actually, I have a number of questions on this subject. For example, what form does our Guru take in Caitanya-lila?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: As he is – as he is now. You have seen him.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: But we may have seen him over a period of so many years; we see that his form has somewhat changed.

Srila Narayana Maharaja: What you have seen, you can remember. Sri Advaita Acarya was old, and Srinivasa Acarya was mature, as were so many others.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: But may I ask: I have some doubt on this point. We understand that the siddha-deha, the spiritual body, is eternally youthful, just as Krsna is always very youthful (nava-yauvana). But our Gurudeva’s body was elderly. So do you mean to say that in Svetadvipa of Goloka-dhama he will have an elderly body?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: You will realize his form by his grace. As far as his sadhaka-sarira (the form of the raganuga practitioner in this world) is concerned, you should only remember what you have seen.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: Does one also get a different body in Caitanya-lila?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: It is essential to know that neither your Guru nor our Guru has a material physical body. Their bodies are spiritual; their bodies are not at all like the body of a conditioned soul (baddha-jiva). His body and mind and soul is sat-cit-ananda.

But we see something created by the illusory maya because we are under the illusory maya. It may be that we cannot see his form as it is actually, but we will see what we have seen as his sadhaka-sarira. We can remember this form; no kalpana (imagination) is needed. Then, after some time, your Gurudeva will see the necessity to show you the form in which he serves Caitanya Mahaprabhu there; he may reveal that form.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: Just as your Gurudeva has shown you his eternal identity as Vinoda Manjari, he may have an eternal identity in Caitanya-lila.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: I do not do any kalpana…

Burijana dasa: Imagination.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Imagination.

I witnessed our Gurudeva serving Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in this body. As I have seen how he served, you have also seen your Gurudeva. We should always remember his sadhaka-sarira (his form as a devotee practitioner). This is his sadhaka-sarira, and he has another, siddha-sarira (spiritual form as a gopi maidservant in Goloka-Vrndavana) to serve Radha and Krsna.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: But what about Caitanya Mahaprabhu? I cannot grasp this point fully, because Radha and Krsna are in Goloka Vrndavana, and Vrndavana is manifest here. So a certain portion of Goloka is Navadvipa.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: He can also go there in the form you saw; I have belief in this. And if anything is hidden, he will reveal it when there is need. We have seen our Gurudeva; always serving, always thinking of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and always preaching Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s instructions and mission.

In Gaura-lila, Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami served Him by rendering many services, among which was writing literature, and your Gurudeva has also done all these things. When he was in Gaura-lila at that time, it is not sure that he would have performed that same service. He played this role now, so in Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s lila he may not have done so.

He has preached throughout the entire world. Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami only served in Navadvipa, here in Mayapura, in Vrndavana, and in Puri, and your Gurudeva served all over the world. We need not imagine anything. We should understand that in the sadhaka-sarira that we have seen and realized, he has served Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And, if he has any other form as a parikara (associate) at the time of Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Caitanya-lila, he will reveal that to you when he will think it proper to do so.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: In Goloka-dhama there is Vraja, there is Mathura, and there is Dvaraka; and we understand there is also Navadvipa. So, there is also Purusottama-ksetra (Jagannatha Puri)?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Yes, Purusottama-ksetra is in Goloka-dhama. Purusottama-ksetra, Dvaraka – they are all in Goloka.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: Does this means that since in Navadvipa Sri Caitanya is a grhastha (householder) and in Purusottama-ksetra He is a sannyasi, then these are all going on as nitya-lila?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Krsna is in Vrndavana, also in Mathura, and also in Dvaraka. His pastimes there are aprakata-lila.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: What about when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to South India? How is that shown in Goloka?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: There are some pastimes that are called nitya-lila (eternally taking place in the spiritual world and manifesting in the material world as well) and some are called…

Sripad Madhava Maharaja: Naimittika (pastimes like killing demons and teaching the living entities. taking place only in the material world). Sannyasa lila is naimittika. Purusottama-ksetra is situated in Goloka-Svetadvipa, but there is no sannyasa-lila there.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: The pastime of Mahaprabhu in South India is naimittika-lila, because it is part of the Lord’s teachings to the jiva souls. On the other hand, Navadvipa-lila is present in aprakata-lila, Mahaprabhu’s unmanifested pastimes in Goloka Svetadvipa.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: And Purusottama-ksetra-lila (Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes in Jagannatha Puri) is also there?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: It is secondary. [Just as Krsna complete in Dvaraka, more complete in Mathura, and most complete in Vrndavana, so Mahaprabhu is most complete in Navadvipa.]

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: Navadvipa-lila is primary?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Primary.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: I have one last question, regarding Srimati Tulasi-devi. Is there a separate jiva in each Tulasi plant? If so, how do we…?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Each plant is a manifestation of Tulasi devi. Tulasi devi can manifest anywhere, just as Krsna and Radhika manifest everywhere. Sri Krsna and Srimati Radhika manifest in unlimited universes as well as in murti forms. Similarly, Srimati Tulasi devi manifests in unlimited universes and in unlimited places in the form of a plant.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: I mean to say that in a normal tree there is a jiva soul. So, since there are so many tulasi plants, are there…

Srila Narayana Maharaja: We can understand from the example of the salagram-sila. There are so many salagram-silas, but this does not mean that Narayana is different in each sila. He is not like the jivas. In the same way, Tulasi is one. All the Tulasi plants are the same Tulasi; they are not separate.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: These are not jivas?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: No, certainly not.

There are so many pieces of Govardhana silas – hundreds of millions of silas – and in each sila Govardhana is fully present. As the silas are not different Govardhanas, Tulasi is one.

In Krsna’s Vrndavana pastimes we see that Vrnda devi is a separate personality and Tulasi Manjari is a separate personality; and there is another Tulasi, who is a duti (messenger) of Vrnda devi. Also, here in this world, Tulasi (the plant) is a manifestation of Vrnda devi.

Sometimes the name Tulasi Manjari is used for Rati Manjari, that is, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has two names in his siddha form: Tulasi Manjari and Rati Manjari.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: Is this the same person?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: The same.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is Tulasi Manjari? She is under Vrnda devi? She is a duti of Vrnda?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: No, Tulasi is a separate personality. Tulasi Manjari is one personality, and Tulasi is another. Tulasi is a dhuti, not a manjari. Later on, you will know. By and by, you will learn everything.

How are you?

Sripad Satsvarupa dasa Gosvami: Glad to be here.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: Bhurijana said we should select the days on which we will do some parikrama.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: We can select on another day. I have a very little something…

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: A feeling in your heart?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Yes, yesterday night, for half a minute. The doctor said, “You may have these symptoms for the next three months, so don’t fear.”

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: So tomorrow you will take rest. We will not come tomorrow.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Yes, at least one day there should be rest. The subject we discussed today is enough for you.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: More than enough; and there will be many tomorrows.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: You can think about what we discussed.

Sripad Giriraja Maharaja: The day after tomorrow is Sunday.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: No problem.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: This is no problem for you? Many people do not come on Sunday morning?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: They come, but you will come at this time in the morning.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: We will try to come by 9:30 sharp. Sunday will not be a problem for you?

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: You can come like they come.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: That is also nice – to see them seeing you. We become happy to see this.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: They are very good devotees; they help me in so many ways. I respect them as Vrajavasis.

(End of the day’s conversation. To be continued…)

*[Endnote (from Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja’s discussions with several GBC members, on the subject of Vilapa Kusumanjali, Mathura, India, 1991:

Rupa-manjari-kararcita-pada-padma/ gosthendra-nandana bhujarpita-mastakayah from Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami’s Vilapa-kusumanjali, verse 72). There are two meanings here. One meaning is that Krsna's feet are worshipped by Srimati Rupa Manjari, or in other words, Rupa Manjari is massaging Krsna's feet. Radha and Krsna are lying down on a bed, Srimati Radhika’s head is on the lap of Krsna, and Krsna is holding Her head in His hand. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is praying that, “O Svaminiji, O Srimati Radhika, can You bless me, give me some mercy, that I will serve Your feet at that time?”

The commentary above, given by Radha-kunda babajis, is not correct. Gaudiya Vaisnavas do not accept this; they do not consider it a good thing. We follow anugatya-dharma (the principle of following in the footsteps of guru and guru-parampara, following under their guidance, and taking their remnants).

Bhakti is of anugatya. If Krsna's feet are served by Rupa Manjari and Srimati Radhika's feet are served by Rati Manjari, then there would be no anugatya of Rupa Manjari; they would not be in the same category.

Another thing is that a manjari wants to serve Radhika more than Krsna. So it is not possible that Rati Manjari's guru-sakhi, Rupa Manjari, would be serving Krsna and Rati Manjari, being subordinate, would take the feet of Srimati Radhika.

The idea of guru and Vaisnavas is like this: Krsna is sitting. Srimati Radhika is overjoyed and She has become svadhina-bhartrika. Svadhina-bhartrika means that if Srimati Radhika tells Krsna, “You should stand up,” Krsna will stand up. Fully controlled by Her, He will reply, “O yes.” Then, if She tells Him, “You should put on My earrings. O, You should comb and decorate My hair,” Krsna will do everything for Her.

Only Rupa Manjari and Rati Manjari are present on this occasion. Srimati Radhika’s head is in the lap of Krsna. If both were lying down, as the babajis say, it would not be possible for Her head to be on Krsna’s lap. Actually Krsna is sitting, and Srimati Radhika is lying down with Her head on His lap. Krsna has Her head in His hand, and He is very softly caressing Her hair. If anything is ‘wrong’ there, He is making it right and smoothing it out; and Radhika is so pleased with this service.

At this time Rupa Manjari is serving Radhika's feet, and Rati Manjari is praying to Rupa Manjari, “I want to take your prasadam remnants.” What is the meaning of ‘remnants’ in this connection? Rati Manjari prays, “You are serving Radhika's feet. Will you give me the order that I should also come and serve Her feet?” Rupa Manjari then places one of Radhika’s lotus feet on the lap of Rati Manjari, and both massage Her feet. This is anugatya-bhava.

We should always try to be in the anugatya of our Gurudeva: Gurudeva, parama-gurudeva, paratpara-gurudeva, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Kamala Manjari, Nayana Manjari, Vilas Manjari, Narottama Thakura, Rupa Manjari, Ananga Manjari, Lavanga Manjari, and so on. This is in the line of anugatya-dharma, which we never disobey.

This meaning is very pleasing and so good for all, so we accept this meaning and not the other one.]