Regarding Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana


His Divine Grace

Place: A dharmasala under construction near the River Mahananda, in Malda
Time: Saturday, 14th February, 1925 (during Sri Gauda-mandala parikrama)

The need for unalloyed devotion at the feet of Sri Rupa and Sanatana:

The living beings attain the ultimate goal of life by remembering and rekindling remembrance of Sri Rupa and Sanatana's pastimes. This place is as good as our spiritual master. The Vedas (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23) state:

yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah

"Unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master, all the imports of Vedic knowledge are automatically revealed."

Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana Prabhus are not products of matter like ordinary living beings born from semen and blood. We will not be able to understand empirically the transcendental learning and characteristics they displayed while in this world. If we try to see them according to material considerations of high and low, we will be duped out of seeing their actual characteristics. We will not see those things the world considers a great act, such as those performed by Lord Hardinge, for whom a bridge was named, in Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana. Those whose hearts are captivated by such mundane acts or moods will not be able to behold the beauty of Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana. Rupa and Sanatana Prabhus were preachers in Sri Caitanya's mission. If we show a little less devotion at the feet of Sri Rupa, Sanatana, or Jiva than we display at Sriman Mahaprabhu's feet, it means we are not qualified for pure devotional service. There is no difference between Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Rupa and Sanatana Prabhus. If, instead of accepting Sri Rupa Prabhu as our spiritual master we accept anyone else, we will never see the lotus feet of Sri Sanatana or Sri Rupa.

The land Sri Rupa walked is rare and worshipable even for Brahma:

Only in Sri Rupa do we find what kind of devotional service we should offer Sri Caitanya - that is, he teaches us what it means to perform pure devotional service, which is natural to the soul. Among the Six Gosvamis, Sri Rupa, Sri Sanatana, and Sri Jiva served as Sri Caitanya's commanders-in-chief, and in the list of the Six Gosvamis, Sri Rupa's name comes first. With great hope and confidence we have come here to receive an opportunity to roll in the dust of the feet of Sri Rupa and Sanatana. Our hearts are inundated with bliss when we see your enthusiasm to do so. The place where Sri Rupa walked is rare, even for personalities like Brahma. We are ordinary living beings, yet we maintain an almost impossible desire to decorate our heads with those transcendental particles of dust. We can never repay in our unlimited millions of lifetimes even one-hundredth of a portion of the amount of debt we have incurred at Sri Rupa's lotus feet. Sri Rupa Gosvami Prabhu's Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu is the sole compass for pure devotional service.

The result of preaching Sri Caitanya's teachings:

In the 113thsloka of Sri Caitanya-candramrta, Sri Prabodhananda Tridandipada writes:

striputradi katham jahur visayinah sastra pravadam budha
yogindra vijahur marunniyamajam klesam tapas tapasah
jnanabhyasa vihin jahusca yatayas caitanya candre param
aviskurvati bhakti yoga padavim naivannya asid rasah

"Now that the moon of Lord Caitanyacandra has revealed the path of pure devotional service, the materialists have given up talking about their wives, children, and material affairs, the scholars have given up debating the scriptures, the yogis have given up the trouble to control the breath, the ascetics have given up their austerity, and the impersonalists have given up impersonalism. Now there is only the sweetness of pure devotional service. Now nothing else is sweet."

When Sri Caitanyadeva appeared in this world, the materialistic people lent their ears to and gave up talking about their wives and children; the materialistic king Prataparudra took shelter of Sri Caitanya's lotus feet; and Prakasananda, who was the spiritual master of sixty thousand Kasi sannyasis left his scriptural debates and the cultivation of impersonal knowledge as if they were insignificant.

Srila Narrotama Thakura's mood as a servant of Sri Rupa:

After the disappearances of Sri Gaura, Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasa, and others, Srinivasacarya, Srila Narottama Thakura, and Sri Syamananda preached pure devotional service and benefited innumerable living beings in this world. Srila Narottama Thakura Mahasaya's Prema Bhakti Candrika and Prarthana are not propagated less than the Bible of Jesus Christ, Every year, 500,000 to 1,000,000 of Prarthanas and Prema Bhakti Candrikas are distributed among the people. Because Sri Narottama was a staunch follower of Sri Rupa, he received such empowerment. Therefore he has sung:

rupa raghunatha pade haibe akuti
kabe hama bhujaba sei yugala-piriti

"When shall I be very much eager to study the books left by the six Gosvamis? One has to learn of the conjugal loving affairs of Radha-Krishna through the teachings of these six Gosvamis."

sri-rupa-manjari-pada, sei mora sampada
sei mor bhajana-pujana
sei mora prana-dhana, sei mora abharana,
sei mor jivanera jivana
sei mora rasa-nidhi, sei mora vancha-siddhi,
sei mor vedera dharama
sei brata, sei tapa, sei mora mantra-japa,
sei mor dharama-karama

"The lotus feet of Sri Rupa Manjari are my real wealth. They are the object of my bhajana and puja, the treasure of my heart, and they are my ornaments and the very life of my life. They are the reservoirs of all rasa for me and the fulfillment of all my desires. They are the conclusion of the religion of the Vedas for me and are the goal of all my vows, austerities, and the chanting of my mantra. They are the purpose of all my religious activities."

Without surrendering to Sri Rupa, one cannot attain service to Their Lordships:

As long as we have the mentality of mud, water, clay, etc., we will not be able to understand the transcendental mellows of amorous love in the transcendental pastimes of the Divine Couple, Sri Radha and Krishna. Until we realize Krishna with love and devotion devoid of even a tinge of awe and reverence, the door to Sri Vrndavana remains closed. But once we enter Vrndavana, we will have no other engagement than to follow the orders of Sri Rupa and Raghunatha. As a dead body has no value, so the living being has no value if he doesn't subordinate himself to Sri Rupa. If anyone wants to realize the magnanimity and sweetness of Sri Gaura-Krishna, he must follow in the footsteps of the followers of Sri Rupa. We can never become qualified to serve the Divine Couple without surrendering ourselves to Sri Rupa. Sri Govinda's service in Vrndavana belongs to Sri Rupa alone.

presthalibhih sevyamanau smarami

"In a temple of jewels in Vrndavana, underneath a desire tree, Sri Sri Radha-Govinda, served by Their most confidential associates, sit on an effulgent throne. I offer my humble obeisances unto Them."

Attaining the service of the sambandha-vigraha by Sri Sanatana's mercy and the abhidheya-vigraha by surrendering to Sri Rupa:

The Gaudiyas' three worshipable deities are Madana-mohana, Govinda, and Gopinatha, and these three names are mentioned in the eighteen syllable mantra. Lord Krishna Himself is Madana-mohana, Govinda is Govinda, and Gopijanavallabha is Gopinatha. Realization of Madana-mohana Krishna is sambandha, service to Govinda is abhidheya, and attraction to Gopijanavallabha is prayojana. After Sri Sanatana Prabhu helps the living being establish a relationship with Madana-mohana, then, under Sri Rupa Prabhu's supervision, the living being becomes qualified to serve Govinda.

Govindakhyam hari-tanum itah kesi-tirthopakanthe ma preksisthas tava yadi sakhe bandhu-sange 'sti rangah: "My dear friend, if you are indeed attached to your worldly friends, do not look at the smiling face of Lord Govinda as He stands on the bank of the Yamuna at Kesighata."

The glories of Sri Rupa's birthplace:

If you desire to attain shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa, then, in a transcendental mood, roll on the ground marked by Sri Rupa's footprints. Then you will attain the perfection of your life.

The glories of Sri Sanatana Prabhu:

In his book Sri Caitanya-candrodaya Nataka (9.45), Kavikarnapura describes Sri Sanatana Prabhu:

gaudendrasya sabha-vibhusana-manis tyaktva ya rddham sriyam
rupasyagraja esa eva tarunim vairagya-laksmim dadhe
antar-bhakti-rasena purna-hrdayo bahye 'vadhutakrtih
saivalaih pihitam maha-sara iva priti-pradas tad-vidam

"Srila Sanatana Gosvami, the elder brother of Srila Rupa Gosvami, was a most important minister in the government of Hussain Shah, the ruler of Bengal, and he was considered a most brilliant gem in that assembly. He possessed all the opulences of a royal position, but he gave up everything just to accept the youthful goddess of renunciation. Although he externally appeared to be a mendicant who had renounced everything, he was filled with the pleasure of devotional service in his heart. Thus he can be compared to a deep lake covered with moss. He was the object of pleasure for all the devotees who knew the science of devotional service."

The magnanimity of Sri Gaurasundara:

Sri Rupa Prabhu offered his respectful obeisances to Sri Caitanya-candra, the personification of magnanimous pastimes:

namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te
krsnaya krsna-caitanya-namne gaura-tvise namah

"O most munificent incarnation! You are Krishna Himself appearing as Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Srimati Radharani, and You are widely distributing pure love of Krishna. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You."

The science and glories of krsna-kirtana:

In this case, the words krsna-prema mean "Krishna's satisfaction" - that which Lord Krishna wants from His servant. After taking darsana of Lord Gadadhara's lotus feet at Gaya-dhama, which covers the demoniac fruitive activities and the mental speculation of Buddhism, Sri Gaurasundara returned to Navadvipa and did not speak about anything but krsna-prema with anyone. He appealed to all living beings and said only this:

yare dekha, tare kaha krsna-upadesa
amara ajnaya guru hana tara' ei desa

He ordered everyone to become a preacher. Those who are selfish cannot speak like this. No one other than the most magnanimous personality desires to elevate the living beings to the highest platform. People in this world are all selfish; they want to exploit and subdue others and keep them under their control. Among them, some people, on the pretext of being magnanimous, try to fulfill their self-interest and accumulate name and fame by tempting the low-class people with a shadow of a comparatively higher position. Lord Gaurasundara's magnanimity is millions of times more than the impartiality mentioned in texts like Bhagavad-gita. (5.18). He made a crow a Garuda and awarded the highest, eternal, beautiful treasury of Goloka to all materialistic fallen souls. He has given all living beings the right to chant Krishna's holy name.

The symptoms of one who chants Krishna's name:

When we take a seat as a chanter of the holy name, we may become proud. That's why He taught us how to chant. Unless one feels lower than a blade of grass, one cannot chant hari-katha. Thinking about the symptoms of a spiritual master, He said:

trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih

Only one who constantly chants the holy name of Lord Hari is a spiritual master. The spiritual master has no other business - not even for a moment - than chanting hari-katha. Hari's kirtana and Maya's kirtana cannot stand together. Those who perform Maya's kirtana or perform kirtana for their own sense gratification sometimes make a show of krsna-kirtana, but their false, demonstrative krsna-kirtana is nothing but sense gratification - maya-kirtana. One who hankers after money, women, and fame is not trnad api sunica. One who considers the whole world meant for his enjoyment and who does not know the art of engaging each and every object in this world in Krishna's service, is not tolerant. He is impatient. One who cannot accept every living being in this world as a Vaisnava; who doesn't learn to see every object as guru; and who hesitates to give every living being the right to hear krsna-kirtana - that is, who is reluctant to award others the eligibility to become acarya - is not amani or manada. Only those who glorify Hari all the time without interruption are spiritual masters.

The teachings of the acaryas:

Sri Gaurasundara, Sri Thakura Haridasa, Sri Sanatana Prabhu, Sri Rupa Prabhu, Sri Jiva Prabhu, and other acaryas set the ideal example of spiritual masters. The topmost welfare activity is to loudly chant Hari's holy name. Selfish people adopt processes like chanting mantras, meditating, and practicing mystic yoga, but by such materialistic endeavors they do not attain the ultimate goal of life. Simply by chanting hari-katha constantly, without stopping, do the living beings achieve all auspiciousness.

The difference between Hari's kirtana and Maya's kirtana:

We often think of Maya's kirtana as Hari's kirtana. That kirtana in which there is no plan to please Krishna's senses but which is aimed at one's own sense gratification is called Maya's kirtana. Lord Hari is not glorified by such kirtana; only the lexigraphical syllables are uttered. For example, as soon as we talk about a horse we think of a horse's form. In the same way, if we chant Hari's name while averse to the Lord, we will think of God in a material form. This is nothing but idolatry. Only when we perform hari-kirtana to satisfy Krishna's senses and under the guidance of a devotee, considering the holy name nondifferent from Krishna, do we perform pure Vaikuntha kirtana. The holy name of Hari cannot be realized with the material senses. This much right the Supreme Lord has reserved: since He is not understood by the material senses like any other enjoyable object, the living beings cannot enjoy or measure Him with their ears, mind, or other faculties. This is confirmed in Vedic mantras like apanipadah ["He has no hands, no legs ..."].

The difference between material sense gratification and Krishna's sense gratification:

Sense gratification and love of God are diametrically opposed. Objects accepted by the material senses are meant for the conditioned soul's enjoyment. Persons like the demon Ravana may try to kidnap the Supreme Lord's energy, but Sitadevi is always meant for Ramacandra's pleasure and never for Ravana's. When we understand the purport to

sarvam vasudevamayam jagat

and isavasyam idam sarvam we don't dare measure the Supreme Lord. Out of foolishness we often think, "Why has the Supreme Lord put me into distress?" But the original spiritual master has taught us differently:
tat te 'nukampam su-samiksamano
bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak

"My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.8)

If there were no distress, we would not remember the Supreme Lord. Material miseries and distress are examples of His compassion.

Why the three Prabhus displayed their pastime of giving up material life:

Just as parents tempt children with dolls, so the illusory energy, maya, tempts us away from serving the Lord's lotus feet by giving us wealth, followers, education, fame, and material happiness. It cannot be the ultimate goal of human life to become a prosperous, materially advanced karmi while covered by the luster of this world. Just to teach this fact to foolish people like us, the three Prabhus - Sri Rupa, Sri Sanatana, and Sri Jiva enacted the pastime of giving up material life. Actually, it is not that previously they were attached to material enjoyment or were devoid of transcendental knowledge like sadhana-siddha devotees and then later became free from material enjoyment. They are nitya-siddhas, or eternally perfect associates in Vraja. They are never devoid of transcendental knowledge about Krishna. They are all very dear to Krishna.

Today we have come here to smear our bodies with the dust from the place where those three Prabhus performed their pastimes. May the residents of that transcendental abode shower us with mercy.

vancha-kalpa-tarubhyas ca krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
patitanam pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah

As published in the
By His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada
Reproduced with permission of Touchstone Media. The full length text may be purchased here.