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Srila Prabhupada Advocates Rasa-Katha

January 24, 1999

This short article responds to the GBCZs misgivings about Om Visnupad 108 Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharajas preaching method. The GBC position paper against Srila Maharaj contains following verdict:

"We have premonitions of disaster when we see someone liberally initiate many unqualified people and then immerse those same people in a culture in which rasika topics are a central focus"

According to the present GBC advice newly initiated devotees shouldn't hear rasa-katha or radha-krishna-lila. This erroneous attitude fades away in the light of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj's clear instruction.

1) RADHA-KRISHNA-LILA

Some quotes by Srila Swami Maharaj:
"As far as the restriction for reading the Tenth Canto pastimes of Krishna. That is only for those who do not know what is Krishna, but you are initiated, so you can read because you know who Krishna is." (letter to Caturbhuj, 29-12-1971)

So, accepting a bonafide guru through initiation and having elementary knowledge of Krishna is sufficient to read the Tenth Canto pastimes. Of course it is more effective to hear these pastimes from the mouth of a pure devotee:

"Reading or hearing from the realized person, there is no difference, but hearing the sound vibration from the realized soul is still more effective, better." (letter to Punjabi Premananda 16-4-1976)

In the Krishna-book Srila Swami Maharaja writes in his introduction:
"When those who are after sex life in this material world hear about Krishna's pastimes with the gopis, they will relish transcendental pleasure, although it appears to be materialistic. The advantage will be that they will gradually be elevated to the spiritual platform. In the Bhagavatam it is stated that if one hears the pastimes of Lord Krishna with the gopis, from authorities with submission, then he will be promoted to the platform of transcendental loving service to the Lord, and the materialistic disease of lust within his heart will be completely vanquished. In other words, it will counteract the material sex life."

In 32nd chapter (Description of the Rasa Dance) Srila Swami Maharaja says:
"If one actually hears rasa-lila, he will become completely freed from the lusty desire of sex life and elevated to the highest level of spiritual understanding."

"Discussions of rasa-lila among people in general is not recommended because they are affected by the Mayavad philosophy, but if one WHO IS ADVANCED EXPLAINS AND PEOPLE HEAR FROM HIM, CERTAINLY THE HEARERS WILL BE GRADUALLY ELEVATED TO THE POSITION OF KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS AND LIBERATED FROM MATERIALLY CONTAMINATED LIFE."

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaja is elevating all people to the highest level of spiritual understanding and is purifying them from material contamination by expounding Radha-Krishna-Lila. But is Srila Narayan Maharaja a qualified speaker? Here are the verdicts of some uttama-bhagavats:

Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja:
"Our relationship is certainly based on spontaneous love. That is why there is no chance of us forgetting one another. With the mercy of Guru and Gauranga may everything be auspicious for you. This is my constant prayer. From the first time I saw you I have been your constant well-wisher." (letter to Srila Narayan Maharaj, 28-9-1966)

"In all the Gaudiya Maths, I think that you are the real guru-sevaka, so I always correspond with you and I always give my full love and affection to you." (letter to Srila Narayan Maharaj, 17-5-1967)

Srila Bhakti Pramod Puri Maharaj:
"Srila Narayan Maharaj is a bona fide preacher in our line. We are very happy that he is going to the West, and devotees should follow him. He is a rasika Vaishnava."

Who cares for the conditioned and offensive opinion of the current GBC in light of these statements ? Whoever is submissive to the authoritative speaker of radha-krishna-lila will derive great spiritual benefit.

It is not true that Srila Swami Maharaja never spoke of confidential pastimes. Look at this passage from "Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers", page 2, where Swami Maharaja speaks to an uninitiated Peace Corps worker:

"Sometimes when Radharani would go out, Krishna would attack Her, and when She would fall down - "Krishna, don't torture Me in that way"- They would fall down, and Krishna would take the opportunity to kiss Her. (Srila Prabhupad laughs) So Radharani was very pleased, but superficially Krishna was the greatest rascal."

Had Srila Narayan Maharaja disclosed this pastime to a devotee audience during his preaching tour, he would have been heavily criticized by the GBC representative. It depends on the sweet will of an acarya when and where he speaks about Radha-Krishna-Lila. We should be grateful for every sound of lila-katha.

2) RASA TOPICS

It is inconceivable why the GBC condemns topics centered on bhakti-rasa.

Look at following quotes in Srila Swami Maharaj's preface of Nectar of Devotion, a book which is filled with confidential rasa.

"It is only for our guidance that Srila Rupa Goswami prepared his book Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, which is now presented in the form of Nectar of Devotion."

"The principle of Lord Chaitanya's movement in educating and elevating everyone to the exalted post of a goswami is taught in the Nectar of Devotion."

"The Nectar of Devotion teaches us how to stimulate our original love for Krishna."

"The Nectar of Devotion is specifically presented for persons who are now engaged in the Krishna consciousness movement."

"If anyone will read this Nectar of Devotion very carefully, he will have all guidance in bhakti cult. So in temple class some portions of this book MUST BE REGULARLY DISCUSSED." (letter to Advaita, 18-1-1970)

Srila Narayan Maharajas lecture always correspond to a sloka or tattva presented in the Bhakti Rasamrta-sindhu. He even translated and commented Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur's Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindhu, a commentary on Srila Rupa Goswamis original book.

It is a shame that Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj was heavily criticized by the GBC for speaking rasa-katha. Some GBCs of Europe didn't allow him to speak in the temples of their zones during Maharajas last European preaching tour 1995. Hundreds of devotees were bereft of his association, because of ill-considered GBC resolutions. We should learn from mistakes and immediately surrender to the lotus feet of pure devotees such as Srila Om Visnupad 108 Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaja. He personally told me that he only came to the West "to give, and not to take." It depends on us if we are willing to accept the treasure he is munificently distributing in the form of lila-katha.

Giridhari das
(Disciple of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaja)

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