The ISKCON leaders once asked Śrīla Gurudeva: “Please tell us what rasa Śrīla Prabhupāda was in and, if we are qualified to hear, please disclose his spiritual identity.”

Hesitant to speak about this, Gurudeva said, “I fear you may misuse or misrepresent what I say.”

“Please do not keep this hidden from us,” they said. “How can we properly serve Prabhupāda if we don’t understand his spiritual identity?”

After persistent requests, Gurudeva consented and said, “Śrīla Prabhupāda is in mādhurya-rasa. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is said:

kali-kālera dharma—kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana

kṛṣṇa-śakti vinā nahe tāra pravartana

“Without Kṛṣṇa’s śakti, one cannot preach. The greatest preachers are always expansions of Kṛṣṇa’s śakti. Those who are not the pālya-dāsīs of Śrīmatī Rādhikā cannot preach kṛṣṇa-nāma and read kṛṣṇa-prema.”

The ISKCON sannyāsīs then asked, “Sometimes Śrīla Prabhupāda mentioned that he wanted to be with the sakhās going to the forest with Kṛṣṇa. And he established the Kṛṣṇa Balarāma temple in Rāmaṇ Reti at Vṛndāvana. Why would he speak like this, or make a Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma temple if he wasn’t in sakhya-rasa?”

“Without Rādhikā’s desire,” Gurudeva said, “there is no pracara of sakhya-rasa. The sakhās don’t go for preaching; the sakhīs and mañjarīs preach. It is true that Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja made a temple in Rāmaṇ Reti, but the preaching was done by the vraja-gopīs. Sakhās always play with Kṛṣṇa without thoughts of anything else. Also, if Svāmījī was in sakhya-rasa, then in all his temples he would worship Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma and not Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, and he would not sing ‘jaya rādhā mādhava kuñja-bihārī.’ In Māyāpura, he established Rādhā-Mādhava and the aṣṭa-sakhīs. Also in Rāmaṇ Reti he established Rādhā-Śyāmasundara, not just Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma. Mādhurya-rasa includes all other rasas but sakhya-rasa does not.”

“According to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī,” Śrīla Gurudeva continued, “the qualities of all fe prominent rasas are present whin mādhurya-rasa, so there is no contradiion when Prabhupāda prays to go wh Kṛṣṇa to the forest wh the sakhās. e gopīs also pray to be wh Kṛṣṇa when He is in the forest, and somemes the gopīs dress as sakhās, on days like Gopāṣṭamī, and then play wh Kṛṣṇa in the forest like sakhās. Around the world, the Deies of Rādhikā are all dressed as sakhās on Gopāṣṭamī, so we see there is no contradiion that Śrīla Prabhupāda is in mādhurya-rasa when he prays like this. So, your Svāmī Prabhupāda’s mood is in śṛṅgāra-rasa in Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s sevā. I know this praically; but to convince you, many arguments are gen.”

When the sannyāsīs asked again for Gurudeva to reveal Prabhupāda’s transcendental form, Śrīla Gurudeva replied, “Realization of your Prabhupāda’s spiritual form will dawn when he bestows his mercy, seeing you qualified, after you have chanted your guru-mantras and harināma while meditating on him with single minded absorption. There would be no benefit for you if I told you prematurely Prabhupāda’s spiritual identity. This will be realized when you are ready to serve internally in that world.”

The GBC sannyāsīs also asked Śrīla Gurudeva about practical matters and how to deal with sensitive issues in ISKCON. One day, some of the men asked Gurudeva, “Is it favorable for our bhakti to do exercise and yoga? Because we feel  necessary for our health, so that we are able to maintain our service.”

“Any way which encourages or inspires puruṣabhāva is not favorable for vraja-bhakti,” Śrīla Gurudeva said. “Extensive exercise and activities like wrestling enhance the male false ego. You should be careful that everything you do is favorable to your aspired position as an associate of Kṛṣṇa. If you aspire to be a sakhā, then you can wrestle. The body is temporary, like a vehicle, so it should be maintained, but only as much as necessary, and without attachment to it. Too much exercise will develop more absorption in the body and less thought of the soul.”

“If we don’t exercise we have difficulty digesting and have little energy.”

“You should dance more in kīrtana,” Gurudeva suggested.

When the men exchanged sly glances, Gurudeva asked, “You do do kīrtana? Do you not?”

“Most of our time is engaged in writing, meetings, administrate work, and preaching,” one sannyāsī said.

“To to save your inner bhāva by any means,” Śrīla Gurudeva advised. “If there is no spiritual sentiment then all activities are useless. Once a slight greed awakens for vraja-bhakti, reject everything opposed to the cultivation of vraja-bhāva. If you desire gopī-bhāva, then dance in kīrtana and perform services favorable to the development of that mood.”

“What if we haven’t come to that stage, but we want to? Should we stop exercising?”

“You should not imitate. Still, from the beginning you can do what is favorable, even if you are not on the higher stages.”

“What to speak of exercise, so much of our work develops puruṣabhāva, because we are managing ISKCON.”

“You are doing it for guru-sevā,” Gurudeva said. “Anything you do that is actually guru-sevā will help you advance.”

Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from: [email protected] )





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