Found in Sanga, Sanga 2000.

Q. You write, “to unite Gaura with Gadadhara is the highest ideal of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.” Most devotees I know have Giri Govardhana Deities, why is this? Why do so few devotees or temples in our line have Gaura-Gadadhara Deities?

A. Worship of Govardhana is very popular in Vrindavan. He is easy to care for. Sridhara Maharaja recommended his worship. Mahaprabhu also established his worship. My Guru Maharaja did not institute the worship of Gaura Gadadhara in any of his temples. Sridhara Maharaja reasoned that this policy was based on his affinity for sakhya rasa, rather than madhurya rasa. Thus he established the worship of Gaura Nityananda and Krishna Balarama. Worship of Radha Krishna is also part of the sakhya rasa of the priyanarma sakhas headed by Subala. Of Subala worship it is said:

“What service, O lucky Subala,
What is not your right?
Pacifying her, you make her return,
She who from love’s quarrel has fled.
You make the forest bower bed suitable
For his games of love, and fan him,
His body wet with perspiration
When it falls onto his lover’s breast.”

Thus it is reasonable to conjecture that Om Visnupada A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who established the worship of Radha Krishna, Gaura Nitai, and Krishna Balarama so widely, was himself influenced by the bhava of a priya narma sakha, either directly, or indirectly owing to the influence of his empowerment by Nityananda Prabhu. In the case of the latter possibility, his affinity for madhurya would have been veiled to some extent.

Bhaktisiddhanta saraswati Thakura, on the other hand, did establish the worship of Gaura Gadadhara in a number of his Maths. Bhaktivinoda Thakura also personally worshipped Gaura Gadadhara.

Q. In the last Sanga Q & A you wrote, “It’s all in the mind. Stop the mind by fixing it on Krishna, and you will not be involved in material life even while appearing so to others.” If this is so then why in our spiritual practice is there so much emphasis on changing external habits, rather than on just eliminating the internal enjoying spirit?

A. Because changing one’s external habits is often helpful for controlling the mind. Once it is conquered one will not be affected adversely by sense objects. However, if in the name of changing oneself internally one remains in an environment that is conducive to previous patterns that represent an uncontrolled mind and enjoying spirit, this will make it difficult to conquer the mind and our enjoying spirit.

Q. Re: the position of Candravali gopi. Why is there no sampradaya following Candravali?

A. The Vallabha sampradaya claims a connection to madhurya rasa with Candravali gopi. Vallbaha’s son is considered by that tradition to be an incarnation of Canrdavali. According to Caitanya-caritamrita, Vallabha himself was connected to madhurya rasa through Gadadhara Pandita, who at that time exhibited the mood of Rukmini. Rukmini is an expansion of Candravali. At the same time, the Gaudiya sampradaya’s opinion of Vallabha differs from that of the Vallabha tradition today. Rupa Goswami tells us at the end of his sections on vaidhi and raganuga sadhana bhakti in Bhaktirasamrita sindhu that there is another tradition that goes by the name maryada (vaidhi) and pusti (raganuga), and that this tradition is more or less the same as the one he is teaching.

Q. I understand samsara and the need to take another birth but considering the descriptions in Srimad Bhagavatam I’m horrified at the thought of having to spend another nine or ten months in a mother’s womb. How do I resolve this conflict?

A. You should become so absorbed in devotional life that you forget about birth and death. Be preoccupied with Krishna, not birth and death/liberation. Concern for mukti is an impediment to priti.

Q. Srila Prabhupada mentions in the Bhagavatam, 4.1, that Advaita Acarya is an incarnation of Lord Siva. How can this be?

A. This is in reference to Sadasiva. Advaita is actually a combination of Sadasiva and Visnu. Thus he is Maha (Mahadeva) Visnu. This is acknowledged by all Gaudiya Vaisnavas. How can it not be?

Q. As I am a novice, I always confuse with the differences among Lord Krishna, Lord Narayana, and Lord Visnu. Every book I read seems to say that one came from the other.

A. Krishna is the source of Narayana who presides in Vaikuntha. Visnu manifests from Narayana and presides over the material world. The names Narayana and Visnu are also interchangeable. Narayana means the resting place of all beings and Visnu means he who is all pervasive. Both of these manifestations of God are manifestations of his aisvarya (majesty). Krishna appears human like and thus his aisvarya is covered by his sweetness (madhurya). Accordingly, the name Krishna means all attractive/irresistible, for he is God in all his sweetness and charm—God acting like one of us, falling in love with Radha and so on.

Q. What does the painting of Radha and the gopis on the cover of your book, Aesthetic Vedanta: The Sacred Path of Passionate Love mean?

A. This picture was painted under my direction in accordance with the Vaisnava Tosani of Sanatana Goswami, Sri Jiva Goswami’s Gopal Campu, and other Goswami granthas in terms of colors, instruments, etc. In this lila the gopis on the banks of the Yamuna are engaged in sankirtana. There are eight gopis in the picture, but only six would fit on the cover of the book. At the height of Krishna lila, Gaura lila makes its esoteric appearance. Witnessing the excess of Radha’s love, Krishna desires to taste it.

There are three groups of devotees. One prefers Krishna lila. One prefers Gaura lila. One prefers both lilas. Incidentally, what appears to be Gaura nagara bhava in some of Mahaprabhu’s parsadas is in fact preference for Krishna lila.

Q. The above statement, “What appears to be Gaura nagara bhava in some of Mahaprabhu’s parsadas is in fact preference for Krishna lila,” could you elaborate?

A. The idea is that in some devotees, like Locan das Thakura, the author of Caitanya Mangala, we find a tendency to see only Krishna in Mahaprabhu and desire conjugal love with him internally as Krishna, ignoring the fact that he is appearing in disguise. This group has been misunderstood, giving birth to the Gauranga nagari sect, who desire conjugal love with Gaura within his lila. This is not possible. It is rasabhasa. Gaura is in his acarya lila and the mood of worship. When the husband worships the Deity with his wife (Gaura and Visnupriya) there is no joking, as there is in parakiya bhava.

If Gauranga were to have secret paramour relationships with nagaris (young girls) this would compromise his mission. So again, those devotees who appear to desire this bhava in their songs and prayers are dismissing Krishna’s disguise as Gaura and seeing only Krishna. Their relationship with him is internal and it was never played out externally, nor did they advise any sadhana for this. They are eternal associates who have this sentiment.

Q. If the sannyasa lila of Lord Caitanya is not present in Goloka Vrindavan, is the lila of Krishna leaving from Vrindavan to Mathura and Dvaraka present?

A. No, but Krishna’s lilas of Dvaraka and Mathura are simultaneously conducted there. The arpakata (unmanifest) nitya lilas are a little different in appearance from the prakata lila appearing in this world, although they are essentially the same. The aprakata lila is also called deva lila, as opposed to the prakata lila, which is sometimes called nara lila. The deva lila has more majesty, and the nara lila is more human like.

Q. What do you think about the name that Prabhupada gave to his Deities in New Delhi, Sri Sri Radha Partha Sarathi? Someone suggested it was rasabhasa.

A. Krishna, sitting on Arjuna’s chariot while speaking the catur sloka, may think of Radha and remember the parakiya of the gopis (yena mam upayanti te). This is the commentary of Sridhara Maharaja. Other acaryas have also found Vrajendranandana Krishna in Bhagavad gita. Sripad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja himself comments on Bg. 9.34: “In a condensed form this verse of the Gita is showing us how to attain the bhakti of Vraja. The instructions in it (the Gita) should serve as the foundation upon which we will construct a palace of bhakti wherein we will perform puja to Radha and Krishna with great love. This is the essence of Bhagavad-gita.” This sounds to me like Parthasarati is directing us to Radha dasyam.

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