Answer to Swami B.V. Tripuraris Presentation (See Sanga-letter from the 27th November 2004)
Dear Swami B.V. Tripurari Maharaj
Pranams. Nityananda-Gauranga & Radha-Krishna nama ki jay! All Vaisnavas ki jay!
First I have to say, I like your Sanga-letters very much. I got at many times inspiration by your points of view. On the other side I never felt such a strong desire, that I must contradict you there.
Let me explain why:
First I like to quote your spiritual master Shrila Prabhupada. In the purport of Shri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila 2.31 he writes:
"Worshipers of Shri Gaurasundara accept the four syllables gau-ra-an-ga as the Gaura mantra, but pure worshipers of Radha and Krishna accept the four syllables ra-dha krs-na as the Gaura-gopala mantra. However, Vaisnavas consider Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu nondifferent from Radha-Krishna (sri-krsna-caitanya radha-krsna nahe anya). Therefore one who chants the mantra "Gauranga" and one who chants the names of Radha and Krishna are on the same level."
Shrimad-Bhagavatam Lecture 2.1.2, delivered in Vrndavana, March 17, 1974:
"Then you become gosvami. Then, as Narottama dasa Thakura says, grhe va banete thake ha gauranga bole dake. Ha gauranga, 'Always chanting Nitai-Gaura, and thinking of Nitai-Gaura,' such person, Narottama dasa Thakura says... Grhe va... 'He may be a sannyasi, or he may be a grhastha. It doesn't matter. Because he is absorbed in the thought of Nitai-Gaura.' So narottama mage tanra sanga: 'Narottama is always desiring to associate with such person.'"
Another great Acarya in our Sampradaya, also called "The Seventh Goswami", Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says in 14th Chapter of Jaiva Dharma:
Vrajanatha: Does the Lord's internal potency arrange for Lord Gaurangadeva's pastimes?
Babaji: As Shri Krishna's pastimes are arranged by the internal potency, so Lord Gauranga's pastimes are arranged in the same way. There is not the slightest difference between Lord Krishna and Lord Gauranga. In his notebook, Shri Svarupa Damodara Gosvami explains (Shri Chaitanya-charitamrta Adi 1.5):
"The loving affairs of Shri Radha and Krishna are transcendental manifestations of the Lord's internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Radha and Krishna are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally. Now these two transcendental identities have again united in the form of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Shrimati Radharani although He is Krishna Himself."
Shri Krishna and Shri Chaitanya are both manifested eternally. No one has the power to say which of Them came first and which second. It cannot be said that Shri Chaitanya was manifested first and Shri Shri Radha-Krishna were manifested second. Neither can it be said that Shri Shri Radha-Krishna were manifested first and Lord Chaitanya was manifested second. The truth is that Shri Chaitanya and Shri Shri Radha-Krishna both exist eternally. All the pastimes of the Supreme are eternal. A person who thinks the pastimes of one is more important and the pastimes of the other is less important, does not understand the truth. He does not understand the nectar of the pastimes of the Supreme.
Vrajanatha: If Shri Gauranga is the original form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then how should one worship Him?
Babaji: As one worships Lord Krishna by chanting the names and mantras of Lord Krishna, so one should worship Lord Gaura by chanting the names and mantras of Lord Gauranga. One may worship Lord Gaura by chanting Krishna-mantras, or for that matter one may worship Lord Krishna by chanting Gaura-mantras. They are all the same. Anyone who thinks Lord Krishna and Lord Gaura are different is a fool. He is a servant of Kali-yuga.
Vrajanatha: If Lord Chaitanya is the hidden (channa) incarnation described in the Seventh Canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam, how are there any mantras to worship Him?
Babaji: The Tantras that openly give mantras for worshipping the openly manifested incarnations of the Lord secretly reveal the mantras for worshipping the secret, hidden incarnation of the Lord. People whose intelligence is not crooked can understand the presence of these mantras.
You claim: "The philosophy that puts undue emphasis on Gaura Nama is a
distortion of the teachings of our guru-parampara."
What do you mean with "undue emphasis"? There is not the slightest difference between Lord Krishna and Lord Gauranga. It is very natural, because of the differend moods of the bhaktas, that they sometimes put more emphasis on Lord Shri Krishna and even the very same bhaktas put on another time more emphasis on Lord Shri Gaurangas name. But in reality, They are same important (sri-krsna-caitanya radha-krsna nahe anya)! Just look on another great acarya, one of the stalwarts of our sampradaya, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. He writes:
"The Hare Krishna Mahamantra considers the offenses whereas the Names of Gaura-Nityananda don't consider offenses. An offensive chanter will never achieve the fruit of chanting (pure love for Krishna) by chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Therefore till the time he is commiting offenses, he should chant the names of Nityananda and Gauranga. Due the repeated chanting of the names of Nityananda and Gauranga, the offenses will be destroyed and he will achieve the fruit of chanting.
The name of Krishna and Gauranga - both are non-different than the named Lord. Those who think that Krishna is in any way inferior or limited than Gauranga are in gross ignorance. But in practical considerations with respect to the benefit awarded to the conditioned souls, the chanting of Shri Nityananda and Gaurangas name is more useful and helpful for everyone. The mercy of Krishnas names is generally only upon liberated or perfected souls who are surrendered to Him. But the magnanimity of the names of Lord Nityananda and Gauranga is especially for the souls who are offenders and full of anarthas and desires for material sense-gratification. The chanting of Lord Nityananda and Lord Gaurangas Names and Their worship quickly delivers the soul from all the offenses and thus the soul achieves shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Gaura-Krishna without any delay." (Purport to Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 8.31)
You could say: Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura puts undue emphasis on Gaura-Nityananda nama. That's maybe right. But we should look why he does so. It's not a sentimental reason. When Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada puts strong emphasis on the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, then at the same time he also puts a strong emphasis to avoid any kind of offenses against the holy name of Lord Krishna.
Therefore: The emphasis on Gaura-Nityananda nama that we find within our sampradaya is not a real problem. The source is only the fear, that we don't follow the instructions of our acaryas. The solution to this fear-problem we find in the instructions of exactly the same acaryas, who gave us all the hints to show us, where the souls who are offenders and full of anarthas and desires for material sense-gratification can find relief. It's a merciful hint of Radha-Krishna to take shelter in Their own form of extreme and highest loving compassion for the most fallen souls, the form of Lord Gauranga. And why do They push Their own form as Lord Gauranga? Due to chanting the name of Gauranga, that soul will most certainly achieve residence in the eternal transcendental abode of Vrindavana.
When we look into the teachings of our Acaryas and into the teachings of the supreme Lord Himself, we will find always apparent undue emphasis on a certain Holy Name of the Lord. One time it will be the name of Shri Narayana, another time the name of Lord Ramacandra or the name of Lord Shri Krishna and as we can see, also the very mercyful names of Lord Gauranga and Nityananda Prabhu. But specially in the case of the name of Shri Gauranga and the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, I don't find any reason to be disturbed, because They are non-different. Remember Shrila Prabhupada: "Therefore one who chants the mantra "Gauranga" and one who chants the names of Radha and Krishna are on the same level".
Look on this basic verse of our philosophy:
harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
Here is not only Krishnas name included, no, here we find all names of our Lord Shri Hari, also the names of Lord Nityananda and Lord Gauranga!
Shrila Narada Muni instructs King Suvarna Sena:
yei gauranganama labe, tate krsna krpa habe;
vraje vasa seita karibe
"Lord Krishna will be certainly merciful on the living entity who chants the name of Gauranga. Due to chanting the name of Gauranga, that soul will most certainly achieve residence in the eternal transcendental abode of Vrindavana."
gauranga-nama na laiya, yei krsna bhaje giya;
sei krsna bahu kale paya.
gauranga-nama laya jei, sadya krsna paya sei;
aparadha nahi rahe taya.
"If someone endeavours to worship Krishna without regularly chanting the Gauranga-nama, then he will achieve Krishna only after a very prolonged period of time. But if someone takes shelter of the Holy Name of Lord Gauranga, he will achieve Krishna instantly because all the offenses will immediately cease to exist." (Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya, Chapter 7, from Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)
Again, we find here the real reason, why our acaryas sometimes put a very strong emphasis on Gauranga-nama. Gauranga-nama is not hindered by the offenses against the holy name. That's the only difference between Krishna-nama and Gaura-nama.
Let us again take a short look into Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya, Chapter one:
Listen, everyone, to one more confidential topic. The most suitable thing for the souls of Kali-yuga is this treasure of Gauranga-lila. Gaurahari is the combined form of Radha and Krishna, who eternally enjoy pastimes in Vrndavana along with the sakhis. The truth of Radha and Krishna's eternal pastimes and the glories of Vraja-dhama are known by everyone through the scriptures. And the unlimited glories of Krishna's name and abode are known through the scriptures by people all over the universe. But still, actually obtaining krishna-prema is not at all common. Let us contemplate the reason why.
Herein lies the secret of secrets which the living entities bound by Maya cannot discern. One who does not attain love of God after worshipping Krishna birth after birth has certainly committed heaps of offenses. For only by chanting Krishna's name without offenses can one attain incessant krsna-prema.
Shri Caitanya's incarnation, however, is most uncommon. By His mercy, a serious person, though filled with offenses, can quickly obtain love of God. When someone calls out the names of Nitai and Caitanya, Krishna-prema comes looking for him. Offenses do not hinder his progress, and he soon sheds tears of ecstasy out of pure love of God. By the mercy of Lord Caitanya, all the offenses quickly flee away, the heart becomes pure, and love of God fully blossoms. Because people in Kali-yuga commit unlimited offenses, which are difficult to check, there can be no means of deliverance other than Gauranga's name. Therefore, in Kali-yuga, I see no alternative to Shri Gauranga. This is also the proclamation of the scriptures.
Another famous acarya in our line, Shrila Prabodhananda Sarasvati, glorifies the chanting of Lord Gaurangas name in the Shri Caitanya-candramrta, Verse 53:
ha hanta citta-bhuvi me paramosarayam,
sad-bhakti-kalpa-latikankurita katham syat;
hrdy ekam eva param asvasaniyam asti,
caitanya-nama-kalayan na kadapi socyah.
"Alas! Alas! How will the desire creeper of pure unalloyed devotional service to Lord Krishna sprout in the supremely unfertile and barren desert of my heart? In my heart, there is only one supreme consolation and solace. That is the chanting of the name of Lord Gauranga. This chanting will eternally put an end to all my lamentation and will work wonders in my heart, softening and fertilizing it with love of God."
Shrila B.R. Shridhara Maharaja explains this truths in a talk from the 30th August 1983 in Shri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip:
Muralidhar das: Maharaj, I have heard that Krishna is doing Gaura-seva. Is that right?
Shrila Shridhar Maharaj: Krishna is serving Gauranga? Krishna is serving Gauranga? Yes we can think that Krishna is charmed by his own parallel existence of Gauranga. He is charmed because Gauranga means Krishna and Radha; Krishna and Radha is one. Gauranga is combination of Radha and Krishna, so that is more. And Gauranga is prepared to distribute the Krishna-prema to one and all. Extending the market of the sale, extending the market for the distribution of divine love. Magnanimous Krishna. When Krishna comes in the mood of Radha, both combined, He comes to distribute their inner wealth to one and all, to the public, for their benefit. That Krishna is Gauranga. Not only Krishna; Krishna in the mood of Radha, engaged in the distribution of his own wealth to the outside people. So for us Krishna is more valuable when He is Gauranga, because there we get our heart's satisfaction. And in that Gauranga is higher than Krishna. Gaura-lila. Krishna engaged in distributing Himself causelessly to the others. That is higher for us, and independent of our thinking, because both combined - Radha-Krishna combined.
So they are one. In Vrindavan-lila they became two, divided. And again in Gaura-lila they are both combined. Eternal.... always existing, in two moods, one combined and one different. Half and half. For their lila, pastimes. One thing divided, then the whole comes into one and becomes Gauranga, not brahma (nirvisesh brahma). According to the jnanis the whole (sakti-saktiman), the potency and the owner of the potency combined, the jnanis say, when combined then it is non-differentiated brahma. But to us that is not non-differentiated brahma. That (whole) becomes Gauranga, searching Himself. When one, Radha-Krishna, the potency and the owner of the potency combine together in one whole absolute, and then He is searching Himself. He is feeling Himself, searching Himself, and in that way He is distributing Himself to others. In Prema Dhama Deva Stotram, I have got this verse:
The sign of the absolute perfect being, the full Absolute, will be this, that He is dancing because He is overjoyed in his inner satisfaction. He is satisfied with Himself, and He has nothing to search for, to find His satisfaction outside, and He will dance. The dancing attitude is showing that He is full in Himself. And the kirtan, the chanting, that is His distributing that joy to others. That we find in Gauranga. His dancing is because He is full in Himself, and with the kirtan, the chanting - He is distributing that joy. This is self-evident and this is the sign of the fullest source of the highest absolute, kirtanadvayaika, and that is mentioned in one stanza in Prema Dhama Deva Stotram, purna sakha laksanam. The satisfaction, the anandam, ecstasy, in its fullest conception, will have such sign, such symptom - what? That He is dancing in joy with happiness arising within Himself. He is full in Himself and He is chanting, He is giving Himself out to the environment. That should be the highest ideal of the absolute happiness. And that we find in Gauranga. Radha Krishna. Do you follow?
I tried to express this idea in that stanza in Prema Dhama Deva Stotram, and Svarupa Damodara says:
radha krishna pranaya vikriti hladini sakti
Who is Radharani? She is the love of Krishna in a particular form. The object of love of Krishna. So there in Krishna-lila the one is Krishna, and the love and affection for Krishna is appearing in a particular form (Shri Radha). So it belongs together. Krishna is one. One. But still for the pastimes in Dvarapa-yuga They became divided in Vrindavan-lila and became two parties (Radha and Krishna), one predominating (Krishna) and that predominated moiety (Shri Radha). They parted and display in distinct forms, with their own paraphernalia, and began their pastimes in different way, their play. And again they come together, combine together, and become Gauranga. And He began to distribute Himself to the public. He is saying, "Automatically by nature, come take me, I am yours". He comes in the mood of Radharani. Their own common treasure they began to loot. They allowed themselves to be looted. Both the parties, they began to be looted by the public, "Take this!". Their treasure, they allowed their treasure to be looted. Both combined ... combined to give affection... coming as Gauranga. So Gauranga is our greater shelter.
yatha yatha gaura padaravinde vindeta bhaktim krta punya-rasih
tatha tathotsarpati hrdy akasmat radha padambhoja sudhambhurasih
"As much as you surrender to the lotus feet of Shri Gauranga, you'll find yourself safely situated in the service of Radha-Govinda. Don't try to approach Radha-Govinda directly; if you do, there may be some difficulty. But the lotus feet of Shri Gauranga will take you there safely."
If you can secure a card, an admission card, from Gauranga, you will find you are automatically present in the harem of Krishna. You are in the group of Radharani. So He is increasing the circle Himself. Admission card is issued from here (Gauranga). And you are instructed in the confidential circle of service there (Vraja). So Nityananda Prabhu tried His best: "Any way you can, connect yourself with Gauranga. Oh fallen souls, my friends, connect yourself with Gauranga. It is very easy for you. For fallen souls it is very easy to make connection with Gauranga, and then automatically everything will come unexpectedly to you, for your inner heart's satisfaction. Any way you can, connect yourself!" From door to door, he came past, saying: "Have a connection with Gauranga, have a connection with Gauranga and you will be richest of the rich." Door to door Nityananda Prabhu wandered.
bhaja gauranga kaha gauranga laha gauranganama yei jana gauranga bhaje, sei amara prana
He began to roll on the doorstep of the customers, "Take Gauranga take Gauranga" with tears in his eyes, that golden body began to roll on the door of so many customers. "Accept Gauranga, take Gauranga. You don't know what is passing away from your door, accept Gauranga". This is Nityananda.
nitaiyer karuna habe braje radha krishna pabe
Everything will be in your fist. Try to have the grace of Nityananda. He can give Gauranga. And if you get Gauranga you have got everything. The consent of both the parties, Radha-Krishna. Not only the sound of this message we must receive but also the meaning. The meaning, thereby, we are to follow; to try to follow. What is meant by these sounds.
So, please don't claim anymore, that the emphasis on Gaura-nama is a distortion of the teachings of our guru-parampara. This assertion is surely and proven wrong. The emphasis on Gaura-nama is and was always part of the guru-parampara, just like the emphasis on the offenseless chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, - but, and here I can agree, it was more confidential and hidden in the past.
All devotees of our sampradaya should be very much satisfied, by seeing that Lord Gauranga is accepted as the supreme Lord. By seeing ecstatic devotees chanting Lord Gaurangas holy name, which is non-different from Hare-Krishna (Radha-Krishna), we all should feel great happiness in our heart.
Please forgive all my offenses I may have committed in my ignorance!
In the attempt to serve the holy names
Gaurahari dasa, Switzerland
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