No Difference, Just Speciality
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga. September 30, 2012 (in India) is Visvarupa Mahotsava and Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja and Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja’s anniversary of taking the renounced order of life, sannyasa. Therefore, we are sending this lecture given by Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja on May 13, 2000, in honor of this day:]
From ancient days – from Brahma, Narada, and Sukadeva Gosvami – up to Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, our Gurudeva Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and our siksa-guru Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, all these great personalities are in the same line. They are not different from each other.
Nowadays, however, we are ‘discovering’ differences between them. The father of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, Srila Vyasadeva, was a married person, but Srila Sukadeva Gosvami was a naistika (lifelong) brahmacari. Is there a difference between them? Sukadeva Gosvami was always naked and had no bhajana-kutira (asrama), and his father Vyasadeva was not like that. Also, Sukadeva Gosvami was not following the daily practices of Vyasadeva; rather he left home. Does this mean there is a difference between them? To see a difference between them is blindness and ignorance.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura never married. He was a naistika brahmacari and he never used a harmonium; he was strictly against its use. On the other hand, Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja was married and later left home and became a sannyasi. He and his disciples played on harmoniums. He preached throughout the world, whereas Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura never went to any Western country. Do you think this is a difference? We will have to reconcile all this.
‘Difference’ is one word, and ‘vaisistya,’ or ‘speciality,’ is another. ‘Speciality’ is not the same as ‘difference.’ I have so many specialities in my body. My eyes, hands, and nose are not the same, but is there any difference between them? They belong to one personality. If there is some pain, or a thorn, in our mouth, we will feel it in our other limbs. All the limbs of the body are one and the same, but they have some speciality.
Similarly, in our parampara we see many specialities, but not differences. Your Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, went to the Western countries and preached. He was very humble and liberal. He considered, “If we are strict like Prabhupada here in Western countries, we will not be able to preach. Somehow I should engage them in Prabhupada’s and Krsna’s service.”
It was for this reason that he gave concessions. For example, on Ekadasi he said, “You can take Ekadasi prasada – vegetables, curd, juices – one time, two times, three times; no harm.” If he had not given any concessions, no one would have had the fortune to come to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura or go deeply into krsna-bhakti.
Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja was merciful. There is no difference between him and his Prabhupada. Rather there is a speciality. Srila Svami Maharaja was never seen naked, but we cannot say that he was different from Sukadeva Gosvami.
Srila Rupa Gosvami always preached raganuga-bhakti, as did Sri Syamananda prabhu, Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, Sri Srinivasa Acarya, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. After them, however, some weakness entered our line, and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was very strict to reform this. He checked it by saying, “Do not think very much about Radha and Krsna. First be qualified.”
Still, he was not in another line; he was in the same guru-parampara. He simply wanted to reform some deviation. Actually, raganuga-bhakti is coming from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He came especially to preach this path of raganuga. Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja also wanted to give this, but first he had to cut the jungle of sense gratification. He is not different from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Srila Rupa Gosvami, and his aim and object is expressed in the prayers he sang:
‘gauranga’ bolite ha’be pulaka sarira
‘hari hari’ bolite nayane ba’be nira (1)
[When will that time come that my hairs will stand on end upon singing the name Gauranga? When will my eyes overflow with tears as I chant the holy names of Hari Hari?]
rupa-raghunatha-pade hoibe akuti
kabe hama bujhabo se yugala-piriti (4)
[When will I eagerly follow the path of Sri Rupa Gosvami and Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami? By their instructions I will be able to understand the divine love of Sri Radha and Krsna.] [from Srila Narottama dasa Thakura’s Lalasamayi Prarthana]
What is yugala-piriti? It is conjugal love. Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja used to sing this kirtana everywhere. He has written that our aim and objective is yugala love, or love for the Divine Couple, but he was preaching mostly daivi-varnasrama-dharma. Why? He did this just so that his world-audience would come to yugala-piriti. He did so to cut the jungles of sense gratification. He is non-different from his Srila Prabhupada.
In the same way, if someone says that Srila Narayana Maharaja is not in the line of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, that person is an ignorant child. We are not in a different line; we are in the same line. I am not of the same caliber as he, but our mood and mission are the same. He is my siksa-guru. I have taken all my teachings from my Gurudeva and from him. We are in the one family of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. You should also try to preach like this – that we are one family; the same line.