Gaurav Mohnot; Jan 23, 2009, INDIA — Recently I was at the ISKCON temple in Mumbai, and was shocked to see the books that were being sold at the bookstall. To name a few:
1) Krsnahnika Kaumudi (asta-kaliya-lila)
2) Sri Sankalpa-Kalpadruma
3) Sri Madhava-Mahotsava
4) Bhavanasara Sangraha (detailed asta-kaliya-lila, compiled by Sri Siddha Krishnadasa
of Govardhan, who does not even come in our parampara)
5) Lalita-Madhava, etc. and many more such books.
The point is that any ordinary person can purchase these books. These books contain very esoteric topics meant for elevated devotees. None of our Acaryas spoke or encouraged such topics to be discussed, even among devotees. Making such books available for karmis to purchase at the bookstall is the greatest offence to Srila Prabhupada and the Parampara. Below are a few interesting quotes in this regard:
Srila Prabhupada’s Letter to Satsvarupa, December 13, 1969, London:
“What general people will understand about Radha-Krishna Lila? Immediately they will take it as ordinary boys and girls in spite of a thousand warnings.”
Srimad Bhagavatam 4.24.45-46:
“Without serving Krishna according to the vidhi-marga regulative principles of the pancaratrika-vidhi, unscrupulous persons want to jump immediately to the raga-marga principles. Such persons are called sahajiya. There are also demons who enjoy depicting Krishna and His pastimes with the gopis, taking advantage of Krishna by their licentious character. These demons who print books and write lyrics on the raga-marga principles are surely on the way to hell. Unfortunately, they lead others down with them. Devotees in Krsna consciousness should be very careful to avoid such demons. One should strictly follow the vidhi-marga regulative principles in the worship of Laksmi-Narayana, although the Lord is present in the temple as Radha-Krishna. Radha-Krishna includes Laksmi-Narayana; therefore when one worships the Lord according to the regulative principles, the Lord accepts the service in the role of Laksmi-Narayana”.
Srila Prabhupada’s Letter to Satsvarupa, December 31, 1968, Los Angeles:
“Regarding the article suggested by Rayarama, you are correct in your doubts that Radha-Krishna lila should not be discussed in Back To Godhead. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam there are so many philosophical discussions and we should concentrate on these philosophical aspects. Otherwise the less intelligent will surely understand Radha-Krishna lila as simply nonsense boy and girl sex life. Hanuman Prasad Poddar and company are all mundane types and they have no entrance into actual spiritual activities. Superficially they pose themselves as great devotees, but we can feel their pulse; ultimately they are impersonalists. We should not depend upon writings from such unauthorized sources.
Strictly we should avoid publishing these confidential topics in Back To Godhead. This is dangerous for the conditioned soul. Although such Krishna lila can do some good to the mundane people in the long run, to understand the philosophical aspects of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam in the beginning is essential and will make for good stride in spiritual life. I do not know why Rayarama has asked you to send such article. It is not to my sanction. We shall be very careful about mundane sex life. That is the pivot center of conditioned life. You are intelligent enough and I hope that Krishna will help you in these matters.”
In the above quotes, Srila Prabhupada is making some very interesting points:
1) Such elevated books are not meant for distribution to ordinary people
2) Any one who publishes and distributes these book will go to hell
3) Premature reading of these book by devotees will create havoc in their spiritual lives
“Those who have chanted 64 rounds 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.”
(Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura)
Here Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is clearly telling that even devotees should not read or hear such elevated topics, what to speak of normal karmis. According to the above quote, ISKCON devotees who are chanting 16 rounds everyday will be qualified in some 60 years.
I personally know a person who purchased and is reading Bhavanasara Sangraha even though he is not chanting 16 rounds and is eating onions.
acaryera mata yei, sei mata sara tanra ajna langhi’ cale, sei ta’ asara
Srila Prabhupada Letter to Sivananda, July 22, 1969, Los Angeles:
“The order of the spiritual master is the active principle in spiritual life. Anyone who disobeys the order of the spiritual master immediately becomes useless.” (Adi-lila, 12.10) Our parampara does not approve of publishing, distributing and reading such high books. Let us follow Srila Prabhupada and the previous acharyas or risk of becoming “useless”. Many brahmacaris and congregation devotees are also reading and discussing these books secretly. I just hope another “gopi bhava club” is not in the making, In spite of this, a group of his disciples-perhaps twenty-five women and an equal number of men-began meeting surreptitiously to read the portions of Caitanya-caritamrta that describe Radha and Krishna’s intimate pastimes. News of the ‘gopi-bhava club’ reached Prabhupada during his visit to Los Angeles in June 1976. Summoning the available GBC members and sannyasis, Prabhupada ordered an investigation. He expressed grave concern that such meetings, if allowed to go unchecked, would lead to illicit activities, thus thwarting the preaching mission.
The club leaders appeared before Prabhupada explaining that they were not trying to imitate Radha and Krsna’s love affairs but simply studying the descriptions in order to develop such desires. Prabhupada’s lips quivered with anger: ‘First deserve, then desire! So long as there is any pinch of material desire there is no question of desiring on the spiritual platform!’”
Jaya Govinda was correct in his observation that Radha-Krishna Pastimes should not be discussed at the present time. Unless one is highly elevated in spiritual understanding it is risky to discuss these Pastimes. Caitanya Mahaprabhu never discussed Radha-Krishna Lila with ordinary persons. We have so many other things to discuss; what is the soul, what is bhakti.”
A few important excerpts from Prakrta-rasa Sata-dusani by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura are presented here:
anartha thakara kale rasa-gana kore na
anartha thakara kale siddhi-labdha bole na
“While still contaminated with anarthas, one should never sing songs glorifying transcendental mellows. As long as these impediments remain, one should never state that siddhi has been attained.”
anartha thakara kale lila-gana kore na
anartha-nivrtti-kale nama jada bole na
“While still contaminated with anarthas, one should never sing songs about the Lord’s confidential pastimes. After these impediments are purified (anartha-nivrtti), one never speaks of the Holy Name of Krsna as if it were a mundane sound vibration.”
adhikara avicara rupanuga kore na
anartha-anvita dase rasa-siksa deya na
“The followers of Srila Rupa Goswami are never neglectful in assessing anyone’s spiritual qualifications. The followers of Srila Rupa Goswami never instruct a servant who is engrossed in material impediments about the science of intimate devotional mellows.”
asakta komala-sraddhe rasa-katha bole na
anadhikarire rase adhikara deya na
“A devotee should never speak on the topics of devotional mellows to one who has weak, pliable faith. A devotee should never attempt to bestow the qualification for rasa upon one who is unqualified to receive it.”
vaidha-bhakta-jane kabhu raganuga jane na
komala-sraddhake kabhu rasika to’ jane na
“Devotees who are still on the platform of following regulated scriptural injunctions (vaidha-bhaktas) cannot yet understand anything about the exalted stage of the raganugas, practitioners of spontaneous devotional service. Those who possess weak faith cannot yet understand the realm of the rasikas, relishers of pure transcendental mellows.”
svalpa-sraddha-jane kabhu jata-rati mane na
svalpa-sraddha-jane rasa upadesa kore na
“Those who possess little faith are never recognized as being highly developed in loving devotional attachment. Those who possess little faith are never to be instructed in topics concerning transcendental mellows.”
anartha-visista sisye rasa-tattva bole na
“The disciple who is still contaminated with these impediments (anarthas) is never taught the science of intimate devotional mellows (rasa-tattva).”
jata-rati prauda-sraddha-sanga tyaga kore na
komala-sraddhere kabhu rasa diya seve na
“When spiritual attachment (rati) is manifest, one never leaves the company of those endowed with advanced faith. If immature devotees with pliable faith are presented with a devotional mellow, they will never be able to properly serve it.”
nama krpa na korile lila suna jaya na
“Without first receiving the mercy of the Holy Name, one should never listen to recitations of Krsna’s confidential pastimes.”
vyavahita lila-gane kama dura haya na
aparadha-vyavadhane siddha-deha paya na
“One who is covered by offenses may sing the pastimes of the Lord, but this will never do away with the lust burning in his heart. By the blockage of offenses, one’s eternal spiritual body (siddha-deha) will never be attained.”
In the following letters appearing in the book Prabhupader Patravali, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura clearly defines the path to attain raga-marga:
apnara patre sastra-sara-sangraha darsana kariya badi ananda labha karilam. ei sakala katha cinte bala kariya alocana karilai janite pariben ye, alaya haite jata trancade paka-buddhi prakrta prastabe phala-pradane asamartha haya / amara ksudra jiva, vidhi-pather pathik; tabe rager virodhi nahi / rager katha bada, tabe amader mukhe uha sobha paya na / chota mukhe bada katha sunile bhajananuragi-gana hasya kariya udaiya diben / krsna ki vastu, taha yahara upalabdhi haya nai, tahara anuraga-pathe unnatadhikara praptir cesta – alasya jnapak; ihai mahajana-gana pade pade boliyacen / sri bhagavan-nama u bhagavan eki vastu / yahader nijer bandavicare nama-namite bheda buddhi acche, tahader anartha-nivrttir janya bhajana-kusala janer seva kara nitasta avasyka; iha dekhaibar janya sri gaurasundarer parsad-bhakta-gana taha varnana karen / totapathir nyaya amara yadi uha audayite yai, taha haile loke amadigke ‘prakrta-sahajiya’ baliya nirdesa purvaka amader atmastarita kamaiya dibe / prakrta sahajiya-gana ei rupa durgatipakse duriya giyacche baliya sei sakala ‘panke gauriva sidati’ dalke raganuga bhaktir mahima pradarsana karite haile svayam bhajanacatura haiya apararer mangala vidhana karite haya / sutaram likhita kathaguli apani bhalo kariya bujhibar yatna kariben / ‘bhajana’ bahirer va loka dekhaibar vastu nahe / ucchaihsvare hari-nama kariben, taha haile alasyarupa bhoga amadigke grasa karite paribe na /
“I was extremely glad to see in your letter the very gist of all the sayings of sastra! After deliberating over the matter nicely in your heart you will find out that precocious thinking born of laziness can bear no real fruit. We are tiny jivas, traversing the path of vidhi, yet we are not inimical to raga. Raga-katha is high, but in our small mouth it doesn’t look nice. Hearing such high words from our little mouth, devotees whose life and soul is bhajana will laughingly push us away.
Having no idea of Who is Krsna, one’s trying to raise oneself up onto the path of raga exposes his laziness; Mahajanas proclaim this on every step.
Sri Bhagavan and the Name of Bhagavan are one entity. One who has conditioned perception of difference between nama and nami is utterly required to serve devotees accomplished in bhajana for rectification of one’s anarthas; to demonstrate this, the eternal associates of Sri Gaurasundara have described the kind of bhajana such devotees engage in. If we go to repeat it like parrots, people will designate us as ‘prakrta-sahajiyas’ and thus bear down our self-assurance. But if we want to show all these prakrta-sahajiyas mired in their misconceptions the real glory of raganuga-bhakti, we have to learn the art of bhajana ourselves and only then try for others’ eternal benefit.
So try to carefully understand what is written. ‘Bhajana’ is nothing external nor any means for showing off. Loudly call out nama, then the spirit of enjoyment in the form of laziness won’t be able to swallow us.”
apnara se tarikher patra paiya samacara jnata hailam / apni vrndavane giya vaisnava-ganer nikata ye asta-kaliya-lila-smaranadir visaya jnaniyachen, uha adaraniya, sandeha nai / kintu yebhave e sakala visaya anarthamayi avastaya dharana kara haya, visayati serupa nahe / sri hari-nama grhana karite karite se-sakala visaya vyaktivisesa jnanite paren, uhai svaruper paricaya / anartha-nivrtti haile svarupa uddhudh haya / svaruper udbodhane nityapratiti apnate asiya upasthita haya / uha keha kahakeu kapatata kariya siksa deya na va nirnaya kariya deya na / tabe niskapatacite pracur hari-nama karite karite ye upalabhdir visaya haya, taha sadhu-gurur pada-padma nivedana kariya sei visayer dharana suddha u samartana kariya lite haya / uhai eka-dasa prakara svaruper paricaya / nana sthaner avivecaka guru-gana ye-sakala katha ayogaya sadhaker upara krtrimabhaver capaiya dena, uhake siddhir paricaya bala jaya na / jini svarupa-siddhi labha karen, tini e sakala paricaye svatah siddhi paricita hana evam sri-gurudeva sei sakala visaye bhajanaonntir sahaya kariya thaken matra / amara ei visaye adhika vaktavya nai / sadhaker siddhir unnatikrame ei sakala katha svabhaviki bhave akapata sevonmukha hrdaye prakasita haya /
“I have noted your letter dated the 24th. The asta-kaliya-lila about which you have heard from the Vaisnavas in Vrndavana should be highly regarded no doubt. But the way in which these pastimes are conceived of in the contaminated state is totally corrupt. Some fortunate individuals are capable of knowing these things after chanting for a long time, for that is the identity of the true self. But it can only be known after one is freed of mental contaminations. With the awakening of this spiritual identity, one automatically has constant cognition of his spiritual form. Those who say that they can teach or reveal this identity are practicing a kind of deception; it cannot be done. On the other hand, if a devotee receives some inspiration after sincerely chanting for a long time, he should go to the sad-guru or advanced devotees and ask for it to be confirmed and purified by them. The spiritual identity has eleven aspects (eka-dasa-bhava). There are many cases of unscrupulous gurus who artificially force-feed these designations on unqualified practitioners, but we cannot call this the mark of spiritual perfection. Those who have achieved the perfection of being fixed in their spiritual identity (svarupa-siddhi) have attained such a realization through internal revelation and the spiritual master’s only involvement in these matters is to help the further advancement of a disciple. As a practitioner progresses toward spiritual perfection, all these things are revealed naturally within the heart that sincerely seeks service.”
jahate sri-namer krpa haya, sarvatobhave sri-namer nikata bahai prathana kariben / asta-kala-lila smarana prabhrti anartha-bukta avasthar krtya nahe / kirtana-mukhai sravana haya evam smaraner suyoga upasthita haya / sei kalai asta-kala-lila-sevar anubhuti sambhava / krtrim-vicare asta-kala smarana karite nai /
“We should constantly pray to the Holy Name for His mercy. One who is still in a contaminated state should not engage in smarana of the daily cycle of the Lord’s pastimes (asta-kaliya-lila). When we engage in chanting the Holy Names, we are simultaneously engaged in hearing and the opportunity for remembering is included in that. One should not engage in asta-kaliya-lila-smarana on false premises.”
sri nama grahana karite karite anartha apasarita haila sri namai rupa, gua, u lila apna haite sphurti haibe /
cesta kariya krtrim bhave rupa, guna, u lila smarana karite haibe na /
“There is no point in making a separate effort to artificially remember the Lord’s form, qualities and pastimes. The Lord and His Name are one and the same. This will be understood clearly when the coverings in our hearts are removed. By chanting without offenses you will personally realize that all perfections come from the Holy Name.”
Room Conversation, August 16, 1976, Bombay:
Srila Prabhupada: “My Guru Maharaja wanted to publish Govinda-lilamrta. He asked permission of Bhaktivinoda thakura. So first of all Bhaktivinoda thakura, “I’ll tell you some day.” And when he reminded, he said, “Yes you can print one copy. If you are so much anxious to print it, print one copy. You’ll read and you will see that you have printed. Not for distribution.Not that “Here is Radha-kunda. Let us go.” Jump over like monkey. “Here is rasa-lila. Immediately…”
For our very dear Srila Prabhupada’s sake, lets hope the following things take place:
1) ISKCON should stop distributing such books;
2)Devotees should not prematurely purchase or read such books. If and when they are qualified, the Holy Name will reveal every thing.
ISKCON should only and only concentrate on displaying and distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books.