Found in Sanga, Sanga 2000.

Q. Jadurani dasi recently wrote an article for VNN entitled “Is Srila Prabhupada in the Highest Rasa?” in which she attempts to refute your article “Prabhupada, Subala, and Sakhya-Rasa.” Have you read it?

A. Yes, I just read her article with interest. While Jadurani devi informs us that we are not to conjecture as to Srila Prabhupada’s relationship with Krishna, but rather hear from disciplic succession and sastra, she proceeds to conjecture about this very thing herself (while marshaling some sastra in support of her conjecture and citing the opinion of Pujyapada B. V. Narayana Maharaja). She is not to be faulted for this (as she has faulted me) because the use of reason in conjunction with scripture and the words of saints is not what is rejected in the sutra of Vyasa that she cited (tarko ‘pratisthanat). The spirit of this sutra is that reason when not supported by sastra is inconclusive.

My statement in the article “Prabhupada, Subala, and Sakhya-Rasa” that it is reasonable to conjecture that Prabhupada may be situated in sakhya-rasa (like Subala) is supportable by sadhu and sastra, and it does not involve belittling him in any way whatsoever, as one might think after reading Srimati Jadurani’s article. This was the opinion of Om Visnupada Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja. Indeed, I have merely paraphrased his own words, which are full of spiritual reasoning.

Scripture says nothing to us that would rule out the possibility that Prabhupada may be situated in sakhya-rasa. Furthermore, a careful reading of my words reveal that I have also said, repeating what I have heard from my siksa-guru, that it is possible that Prabhupada is situated in srngara-rasa, yet owing to his empowerment by Nityananda prabhu and out of deference to him, he veiled his madhurya sentiments, and this empowerment explains why we find expressions of sakhya-bhava in his words and character here and there. Thus I tried to offer a balanced, neutral reply to the inquiry that gave rise to my article.

It should be noted that it is possible that one disciple may experience his Gurudeva as a representative of srngara-rasa, while another will experience him as representing Subala in sakhya-rasa. This is discussed in Jaiva Dharma. So, if some of Prabhupada’s disciples experience the influence of sakhya-bhava in Srila Prabhupada and are inspired by this, there is no harm. Let their ruci be their guide.

It is important in a discussion like this that we do not denigrate something so wonderful as sakhya-rasa. If Prabhupada is so situated, it is not a bad thing. One should be so lucky as to find this kind of guru in our times, a prema-bhakta. If we have taken initiation from a guru situated in sakhya-rasa and we are destined for gopi-bhava, our gurudeva will make all necessary arrangements for us when necessary. Some disciples may be in his group, while others may be recruited by him for the sampradaya in general, and as a dutiful servant he will place them where they need to be to make progress in due course.

I am well aware of the opinion of Pujyapada Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja on this issue, and I thank Srimati Jadurani for sharing it in print. It no doubt has merit and is evidence of strong spiritual feeling on his part. This is what we are all after—strong feelings on matters of this nature. However, one of the hallmarks of our tradition is that it accommodates a variety of such feelings.

I do not care to debate this issue further, either in private or public. In conclusion, I assure you that if a disciple of Srila Prabhupada is drawn to sakhya-rasa with the sentiment of a priya-narma-sakha, he or she would have no difficulty providing considerable evidence in support of the experience that Srila Prabhupada represents this bhava. The reason for this is that in spiritual life reason and scriptural interpretation ultimately follow feeling (ruci/bhava).

Swami B. V. Tripurari

Additional notes on Jadurani dasi’s article:

Srimati Jadurani has said, “Pujyapada Tripurari Maharaja has given a poem about Subala-sakha serving in the forest bowers (kunjas), though he did not give a sastric reference for that poem. A cowherd boy would not sing this song.”

Note: This is a verse from Rupa Goswami’s Ujjvala-nilamani chapter two, verse 14. In this chapter the extent to which Krishna’s friends are involved in madhurya-rasa is explained. Subala’s friendly love for Krishna is very much involved in this, to the extent that Rupa Goswami has called it “sakhi-bhava” in his Radha-Krishna Gonnodesa dipika.

Jadurani devi: “We do not know of a single instance where an acarya in our Rupanuga line has a different svarupa and service from that of his guru, in whose footsteps he follows.”

Note: Prabhupada says in SB 2.9.30 that “Lord Brahma is definitely situated in the humor of friendship with the Lord…It is clearly exhibited herein that Lord Brahma is related to the Personality of Godhead in the transcendental humor of friendship.”

We also find that devotees such as Akincana Krsandasa Babaji Maharaja, a disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura whom I have been told accepted one disciple before leaving the world, was situated in sakhya-rasa, although his Gurudeva was in manjari-bhava. Sripada Narayana Maharaja personally confirmed this to me when I discussed it with him. He told me that Babaji Maharaja personally told this to him. So there are exceptions to the norm, as in all cases.

Jadurani devi said that the gopala-mantra and kama-gayatri are not for any other mood than madhurya rasa. However, Gopa Kumara of Sanatana Goswami’s seminal Brhat Bhagavatamrta chanted the Gopala mantra (the gayatri that corresponds with this is kama-gayatri) and attained sakhya-rasa. Sripada Narayana Maharaja himself has explained the possibility of chanting the Gopala-mantra and attaining sakhya-rasa by placing emphasis on the name govinda over gopi-jana-vallabha.

Jadurani devi has quoted me thus: “Pujyapada Tripurari Maharaja writes: ‘Thus it is reasonable to conjecture that Om Visnupada A. C. Bhaktivedanta Srila 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.’ “

It is clear from her explanation/refutation of this statement that Jadurani devi has not understood my comments. I have explained them above in paragraphs two and three.

Jadurani devi cites Prabhupada’s poem aboard the Jaladuta, wherein he appears to aspire to enter Krishna-lila in sakhya-rasa. She says that this need not be construed to indicate that Prabhupada is in sakhya-rasa, because Radharani may also sometimes desire to love Krishna in the mood of a friend. However, although it is true that Sri Radha may feel like this at times, it would in the very least be odd for one aspiring to enter Krishna lila in manjari-bhava to pray like this.

Srimati Jadurani’s citation of Prabhupada’s own explanation of why he established the Krishna-Balarama temple in Vrindavana is telling to the discerning reader. It is less than supportive of her premise. Overall she has done a fair job of explaining the difference between manjari-bhava and the bhava of a priya-narma-sakha. Other than that, the basic thrust of her article as I read it is, “Because Prabhupada must be in manjari-bhava, he can not be in sakhya-bhava, which is different.” She has also given some justification, arguments I am familiar with (although inconclusive in my opinion and that of my siksa-guru), as to why Prabhupada must be situated in manjari-bhava.

My humble pranams to her grace Srimati Jadurani devi.

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