[Excerpt from Srila Gurudeva: Around the World, U.K. 1996 (Radlett, 21 May), the second book in a series of volumes on Srila Gurudeva’s world preaching tours.]
So, we should know first who the Ragatmika bhakta is. Who are the Ragatmika bhaktas? The gopis, Nanda Baba, Yasoda, Sridhama, Subala, and all the Vrajavasis are Ragatmika. They have raga—love, affection, and mamata (myness) in Krsna. This love is always present in the Vrajavasis like Yasoda, Sridhama, and the others. They are called Ragatmika. Anyone cannot live in Goloka Vrndavana without raga. So, the Vrajavasis are called Ragatmika. Those who have heard their pastimes in the Srimad Bhagavatam i.e. how they were with Krsna, how they served Him, and how Krsna reciprocated with them and who want to follow in the footsteps of these eternal associates are called Raganuga-bhaktas. By hearing all the pastimes of the Srimad Bhagavatam, the greed to serve Krsna like His eternal associates will come.
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After listening to how Nanda-Yasoda and the gopis served Krsna, a greed will come to serve Krsna like them. A devotee will think, “I want to serve Krsna like them.” When we will follow the moods of the eternal Ragatmika associates, we will be called Raganuga i.e. when we follow any of the associates from dasya (the mood of servitude), sakhya (the mood of friendship), vatsalya (the mood of parenthood), and madhurya-rasa (conjugal love). They are Raganuga. But among them, those who follow the mood of Rupa Gosvami and especially the mood of Rupa Manjari are called Rupanugas.
They think, “What is Rupa Manjari’s duty? How does she serve Radha-Krsna?”
Then they will be called Rupanuga. There is a difference between Rupanuga and Raganuga, but not in all ways. In Vrndavana, santa-rasa (the mood of passive adoration) is not clear. It is present in a hidden way. Rather, dasya-rasa, sakhya-rasa, vatsalya-rasa, and madhurya-rasa are present. So, if we have a greed to follow the associates of any of the four rasas, then it will be Raganuga. But when we will follow the mood of Srimati Rupa Manjari or Rupa Gosvami, then we will be called Rupanuga. All Rupanugas are Raganugas; but all Raganugas are not Rupanugas. Do you understand this very clearly? What is the service of Rupa Manjari? We should know. Lalita and Visakha belong to the same category of the gopis. They are like Radha. Srimati Radhika is superior to all; but they are in the same asta-sakhi category. Also, Candravali, Padma, Saibya, Bhadra, and Syamala are like Srimati Radhika. But among them, Radhika is super most. They can meet Krsna alone also and serve Him. But Rupa Manjari does not want this. She is very faithful to Radha.
She desires, “I want to make Radha and Krsna meet.”
And when they meet, she becomes overjoyed. She experiences the same symptoms that Radha experiences when She meets Krsna. All the symptoms manifest in Rupa Manjari. So, she always tries to give betel-nut to both. She serves in many manners like camara-seva. She arranges for the Divine Couple’s meeting. She cheats all others—the father-in-law and mother-in-law, and she tries to help to make the Divine Couple meet. So there are so many moods. But they (Srimati Radhika’s maidservants) don’t want to meet Krsna alone. They are very favorable. Lalita and Visakha cannot freely meet Radha and Krsna when They are in a lonely place. But the maidservants can go easily.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: The manjaris can go, but the other gopis cannot go.
Srila Gurudeva: The other gopis will have to take the order of Rupa Manjari to see Radha-Krsna. But Lalita and Visakha are superior to Rupa Manjari. There may be someone superior to the President or the Prime Minister. So the President or the Prime Minister must take the permission of the secretary to meet the superior person although the President and the Prime Minister are superior to the secretary. Otherwise they cannot meet. They will have to ask for permission from the secretary.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: Just like with Vrajanath Prabhu. If I want to see you, I will have to ask him.
Srila Gurudeva: And the manjaris have double gain. All the sakhis want to serve Krsna alone. But by seeing the meeting of Radha and Krsna, the manjaris gain that also. And, they also freely serve Srimati Radhika and Krsna while always being inclined to Srimati Radhika. This is a very high understanding; very high understanding. Those who want to serve Rupa Manjari and to have the mood of Rupa Manjari, are Rupanuga. There is nothing higher than this. A Rupanuga devotee has nothing more to gain. So all our Acaryas; even Sanatana Gosvami who is the Guru of Rupa Gosvami, wants to take the mood of Rupa Gosvami. And all others like Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Jiva Gosvami, Raghunatha das Gosvami, Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Narottama Thakura, Baladeva Vidyabhusana Thakura, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and all our Acaryas are Rupanugas.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: Our Svamiji also.
Srila Gurudeva: All are Rupanugas. If you will say, “We are some another anuga (the followers of someone else),” then we will be cutting the line. The harm of these actions is not seen now. But they will be seen after some time. Some say, “We have come to be a part of a separate line—Prabhupadanuga; a separate Prabhupada sampradaya.” They want to cut Svami Maharaja from the line. But I told you that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura were Rupanugas. But the disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura chose a line that “Being Rupanuga, we should be in a special line of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura.” So they made a current, a line called, “Gaura-Vinoda-Vani-dhara.”
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: Vinoda means Bhaktivinoda Thakura?
Srila Gurudeva: Yes. Vani means Sarasvati. Sarasvati means Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Gaura means Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja. They are in this line. They are not in the line of sahajiya-babajis. Because the sahajiya-babajis say, “We are in the line of Mahaprabhu.”
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: Babajis also say?
Srila Gurudeva: Yes. But there is much difference. Those who don’t know what bhakti is; who don’t know who Rupa Gosvami is and who he was; who don’t know Krsna-tattva; who know nothing—give anyone “Gopi-bhava.” How can they maintain? After some time, they search for any widow or a wife, and they begin to do all these things. They are called sahajiya-babajis. Being different from them, these devotees have said, “We are in the Gaura-Vinoda-Vani line.” Our Gurudeva gave us sannyasa. By seeing us, anyone can understand very easily that “They are in the line of Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja.” All our sannyasis are called Bhaktivedanta. So it will be easily understood that all are in this line.
So, we should make this very intellectually clear that “We will be Rupanuga; but yet, we are in the line following Prabhupada and Bhaktivedanta Svamiji. He has brought us in the bhakti line.” There may be some differences.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: Differences between?
Srila Gurudeva: Between all classes of devotees of Sarasvati Thakura. Svamiji came to the Western countries and he taught the bhakti line there. And they have so much faith in him. So, you can all make a line of Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja; no harm. But it should be in the line of Rupanuga. Don’t make anything that will cut the line. Svamiji is also Rupanuga. And he will be very pleased when he will see that his disciples are accepting him as a Rupanuga Vaisnava.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: Accepting?
Srila Gurudeva: Accepting Svamiji as a Rupanuga Vaisnava. It is a very high class of honor given to him. So, we should very wisely tell others that “We are in the line of Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, a Rupanuga Vaisnava.” But it should be done very carefully because you may do anything inappropriate.
You may say, “Prabhupada is the founder of his own sampradaya.” Then you will do harm to yourself. So, we should think like this. We should consider him as a Rupanuga Vaisnava. You should think, “He is in the line of Rupa Gosvami. He came to the Western countries and he helped us. So we have so much faith in him. So our line should be as such.” I know that when Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja came to the West, Kirtanananda, and some of the GBC leaders wanted to show all of us that “We want to give honor to Svamiji Maharaja more than anyone else. He should be observed as God Himself.” They began to preach like this.
They said, “Prabhupada is God Himself and he should be worshiped as God in the temples.”
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: Kirtanananda said this in New Vrndavana.
Srila Gurudeva: They gave everything. They gave flute and other things and they made Svamiji look like Krsna.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: Svami Maharaja was so disturbed.
Srila Gurudeva: When Svamiji heard this, he became furious. He said, “I will never come to the West. These silly things are going on here.” Then they apologized and said, “We are giving up our ways.” But persons who are not following etiquette and pure bhakti are bound to do something here and there if they have not come in the disciplic order and if they don’t have bona fide sadhu-sanga.
So, the disciples should think, “We should honor him because he has helped us. No one has helped us like him. So, we should give special honor to Svamiji.” Everyone wants to give special honor to their Gurudeva. It is not inappropriate. Your idea is so good.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: My idea? Which idea is so good?
Vrajanath dasa: The Prabhupadanuga book.
Srila Gurudeva: You have written a book. I haven’t read the book. But I saw the book in his hand.
Vrajanath dasa: He is only the editor.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: Actually, I did not write the title, “Prabhupadanuga.” I don’t like that title. I like, “Prabhupada’s family,” or something like that.
Srila Gurudeva: Yes, yes. The title, “Prabhupada’s family,” is very good. This is the family of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. That is a very good title. But, don’t declare any other “Anuga.” Then Svamiji will be very furious.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: You think even Prabhupada will not like Prabhupadanuga.
Srila Gurudeva: Yes. He will never like it. Any one of the disciplic order will become angry on seeing this. Everything should be favorable to Prabhupada. Any other words used will be unfavorable. If you are a “Prabhupadanuga,” then what are your specialties? Why do you call yourself, “Prabhupadanuga?” Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was also Prabhupada. Then what will the difference be? All of us call him, “Prabhupada.” And only the disciples of Svamiji call their Gurudeva as Prabhupada. But every disciple has the right to call his Gurudeva, “Prabhupada.”
Then one may call his Gurudeva, “Prabhupada,” and there will be a tug of war.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: Actually, we may call ourselves Prabhupadanuga; but the members of the Gaudiya Matha will not like it. Correct?
Srila Gurudeva: We have nothing to say about this.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: But it is cutting off.
Srila Gurudeva: Yes, that will surely happen.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: So, I never liked the term. I actually protested.
Srila Gurudeva: I like the idea that our Gurudeva has some specialty. Each disciple has the right to think like this. This is told in our Bhagavat and all the other scriptures. But we should also honor others.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: Yes. That is the problem with ISKCON; they don’t honor others.
Srila Gurudeva: They don’t accept anybody.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: That is a big problem.
Srila Gurudeva: I heard today from an American devotee that they are saying that “Narayana Maharaja is coming. He is dead against Svamiji. He is always abusing him. And doing so many things against Prabhupada and ISKCON. He tells so many things, which are against the teachings of Prabhupada.” They said so many silly things.
I told the devotee, “Don’t care for this. When I will come, I will answer. It will be settled because I will never speak against Svamiji in my life. If they say otherwise, then Prabhupada should be merciful to them that they should realize what they are saying. They will realize one day or they will fall down. One of them will surely fall down. They will either fall down or realize their mistakes. They will then repent because I have never thought even in my dreams that I will speak against. I want to always help them, but they are fearful.”
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: This Raghunatha was here yesterday. He is transformed.
Srila Gurudeva: Very good.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: He is an intelligent man. He was giving class and he said, “I wanted to find faults. But there were no faults; I couldn’t find any. It is all right. He is okay.” He is very happy.
Srila Gurudeva: I want them to realize this. Everyone should realize. They should listen to me once and then, they should decide.
Sripad Nemi Maharaja: I understood a little that I am not a servant of Krsna but I am a servant of Radha.
Srila Gurudeva: We can think in so many moods. But that is not real. These are only imaginations. By continuously hearing, the greed will be sowed. And all kinds of evils, anarthas, and aparadhas will go away. Our svarupa will then automatically come as an abhasa, as a shadow. And then, we will always try to have our real svarupa. In this stage, we will think, “This is good. This is bad.” We are sometimes attached to this and that; but it is not clear. We should hear and hear and do vaidhi-bhakti. We should try to hear the pastimes of Srimad Bhagavatam and the books written by Rupa-Raghunatha and our Acaryas. We should read their prayers as well. And gradually, we will see that all our evils and offenses are going away. And very clear pictures of our svarupa will come to our heart. And then, we should select anything; not now. If anything will come, it may be good. So we should wait for that stage when nama-aparadha (offenses to the holy name), and anarthas will go away. Then, the stages of nista (firm faith), ruci (taste), and asakti (attachment) will come. When asakti will come, we will think about our svarupa. We should not worry about this now. From our hearts, we will like to hear various pastimes according to our atma-svabhava (the nature or the constitutional position of our atma). So we shouldn’t worry about this. We should read and offer prayers (vandana). We should chant more and more with deep mindedness. Your mind should not go here and there. Our minds should be absorbed for hours and hours. So we should try to do like this. We should follow Rupa Gosvami’s teachings.
You should first adopt the teachings of Svamiji and pick up what he has written in his books like the Nectar of Devotion. A shadow of the conclusion is given in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. My books are also coming. So, you should pray. And a time will come when the real picture will come. And then, you should proceed. You can know that “This is Rupanuga; this is Ragatmika. This is this and this is this.” You can know as jnana (knowledge). But as vijnana (realized knowledge), when something will come directly, you will realize. But we should know what Raganuga, Ragatmika-bhakti, vaiddhi-bhakti, svarupa-siddha bhakti, sanga-siddha bhakti, aropa-siddha bhakti, guni-bhukta bhakti, karma-misra bhakti, and jnana-misra bhakti are. Do you understand? So we should go on reading the Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, and the other scriptures. We should chant more and more. We should give more time to this process.
We should not always think, “How to make money?” We always want more than we need. Anyhow, our lives should go away and we should think about these moods. We should not always plan about worldly things. It is necessary to build a temple; it is helpful for devotees. But if this is always done, then there is no time to chant harinama so deeply. There is no time for sravanam (hearing), kirtanam (chanting), and smaranam (remembering). So we should give much more time to this than maintaining Mathas (monasteries). Mathas are for growing bhakti. Do you understand? All the temples have been built only to help us that being in the temples we can advance more and more than before. But if you are only going to build temples for your whole life while going to beg door to door and planning, then what will be achieved? Only sukrti (pious merit) will be achieved.
So, Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said, “Live in any place. Don’t bother in making heavenly places. You need only be involved in more and more devotional actions like sravanam, kirtanam, and preaching.” So we should try to follow these teachings internally and not externally. If these activities are prominent then why did Brahmananda, Kirtanananda, Bhagavan, and Bhavananda who were so senior fall down despite doing these activities?
[To read or download the full upcoming book as a pdf, visit www.patreon.com/bhaktabandhav]