Tag Archives: parivara

Can Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu Grant Mādhurya-bhāva?

Recently I received a few emails from devotees, inquiring if my Gurudeva said that Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Ācarya could not grant mādhurya-bhāva or mañjarī-bhāva. It seems that one of my satīrthas (the Sanskrit word used for a person who has the same guru as oneself, commonly translated as “godbrother”) posted a conversation between a devotee and my Gurudeva. This is very disturbing to me and certainly to those who belong to the Śrī Nityānanda and Śrī Advaita Ācārya parivāras. I am herein making a clear statement on this issue, based on my extensive association with Gurudeva.

Nityananda vamsa Mandir
Nityananda vamsa Mandir in Navadvipa

From the very outset, I categorically state that my Gurudeva never made any such adverse remarks against Śri Nityānanada Prabhu or Śrī Advaita Ācārya. How can any Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava dare to disrespect any of the Pañcha-tattva? How can anyone who disregards the Pañcha-tattva be considered a Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava, a follower of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu? From history, we know that Śrī Advaita Ācārya disowned some of his own sons who did not align with the teachings of Śrī Mahāprabhu.

I do not like to flaunt my credentials, but if my Gurudeva’s honor is at stake, then I do not mind doing so. I proclaim that among my satīrthas, no one had as much association, including intimate association, with Gurudeva as I had. I had his association for about 26 years. This association did not consist of merely being around him. For the major part of 26 years, I directly studied under him. Gurudeva was an unparalleled scholar not only of the Gauḍīya school but of all the six darśanas. He had nine śāstrī (graduate) degrees from Benaras. His life was exemplary, and he lived it based on śāstric

Babaji studying from his guru Sri Haridas Shastri Maharaja ji
Babaji studying from his guru Sri Haridas Shastri Maharaja ji

principles. From him I have studied all the major works of the Gauḍīya school, such as the Śat Sandarbhas, Sarva-saṁvādini on the Śaṭ Sandarbhas, Bhagavad Gītā with the commentaries of Viśvanātha Cakravarti and Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛtam with the commentary of Sanātana Gosvāmi, Laghu Bhgavatāmṛtam with the commentary of Baladeva Vidyābhūṣṇa, Bhakti-rasāmrta-sindhu with the commentaries of Jīva Gosvāmī and Viśvanātha Cakravarti, Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi with the commentaries of Jīva Gosvāmī and Viśvanātha Cakravarti, Govinda-bhāsya of Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa on Vedānta Sūtra, Alaṅkāra Kaustubha with the commentary of Viśvanātha Cakravarti, Brahma-saṁhitā with the commentary of Jīva Gosvāmi,  Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Śrimad Bhāgavatam with the commentaries of Śrīdhara Svāmi, Jīva Gosvāmī, and Viśvanātha Cakravarti, Hari-bhakti-vilāsa with the commentary of Sanātana Gosvāmī, Harināmāmṛta Vyākaraṇam, Siddhānta-ratnam with the commentary of Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, Prameya-ratnāvalī with the commentary of Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma, Vedānta-syamantaka, Śloka-vartika of Kumārila Bhaṭṭ (only a part of it), and Tattva-cintāmaṇi of Gaṅeśa Upādhyāya (only a part of it). Besides this, I served him personally and alongside him in the gośālā. I

Nitaichand in Ekacakra
Nitaichand from Ekacakra

rendered all types of intimate services to him. So, I know his mood very well and I can say categorically that he did not minimize Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu or Śrī Advaita Ācārya.

We observe Their appearance days just as we observe Mahāprabhu Jayanti and the appearance day of Śrī Gadādhara Paṇḍīta. Gurudeva made a pañjikā which included lists of the fasts that we observe. He would not list Gadādhara Paṇḍīta’s appearance day as a vrata. But the appearance days of Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Ācārya were always listed as vratas. When I asked him about this, he replied that it is only we who observe the vrata on Gadādhara’s appearance day, but the appearance days of Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Acarya are observed by all Gauḍīya Vaiṣnavas. After my Gurudeva’s disappearance, I began listing Śrī Gadādhara’s appearance day as a vrata. As our daily practice, we also chant the gāyatrī mantras for all the Pañca-tattva. That means we pray to Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrī Advaita Ācārya for their mercy. If our goal is to attain mādhurya-bhāva, then it would make no sense to pray to someone who is not capable of giving that.

Advaita Prabhu Sitanath
Advaita Prabhu Sitanath

I have compiled a book called Guru Darśanam, which is based on dialogues between Gurudeva and visiting devotees. One can read for oneself topic number 74—Pañca-tattva (i.e., page numbers 278, 280), and topic 76—Paramparā (i.e., page numbers 283–284). By consulting these pages, it will become clear to the reader that Gurudeva did not deny the authenticity of other parivāras. His main point was that if one followed śāstra properly, then he was authentic. Otherwise, even if one belongs to the Gadādhara parivāra but does not follow śāstra, then he is inauthentic.

By reading these pages, however, it is possible to surmise that Gurudeva only emphasized the authenticity of the Gadādhara parivāra. This is natural and even desirable. Everyone considers their parivāra the best. Just because a disciple considers his guru the best, does not mean that he disregards all other gurus as inauthentic. If he does so, that is a grave mistake. The same principle applies to one’s parivāra. There is a popular principle in pūrva-mīmāṁsa on this subject. It states that the purpose of criticism is not to criticize the object of criticism but to establish the subject under discussion (na hi nindā nidyaṁ ninditum prayujyate. Kiṁ tarhi? Ninditāt itarat praśaṁsitumŚābara Bhāṣya 4.2.21) For example, sometimes in śāstra there are derogatory statements about women. The purpose of these statements is not to put women down but to establish the importance of what is being discussed. Generally, such statements are found where vairagya, renunciation, is being discussed. For a sannyāsī, association with a woman is not conducive to his spiritual life. Therefore, śāstra warns against it. The purpose of the warning is not to declare that women as a class are dangerous but to caution sannyāsīs to be careful. Ignorant of this principle, many modern scholars conclude that śāstra is against women. They theorize that because śāstra is written by men, therefore, women are disparaged. This sounds logical but it is wrong. This is pure ignorance of śāstric hermeneutics. Śāstra is written by people who are beyond bodily conditioning; otherwise, śāstra would be no different than any other book. Modern scholars do not accept this fact and thus they analyze śāstra from their conditioned vision.

Nityananda parivara
Nityananda parivara

The same principle should be applied when a follower of one parivāra glorifies one’s own parivāra and stresses its importance and uniqueness. In conclusion, I say that anyone who spreads the idea that my Gurudeva believed that the Nityānanda parivāra was not authentic or that Nityananda Prabhu could not give mādhurya-bhāva, is simply foolish.

Satyanarayana Dasa