His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

An article in three parts by Mukunda Das

There has been a new upheaval not in a bad way (at least the philosophical part) 

Of the debate regarding the Svarup or rasa of Our Srila Prabhupada. Mountains of philisophical post filled face book , quotes  flew here and there, and emotions ran the gamut from humble inquiry declarations of absolute victory. I to participated trying to keep an even temperament throughout. My approach here is the same to give a short but comprehensive look at why the position of accepting Srila Prabhupada to be solely I. Sakhya rasa is (to borrow a term used against my post on FB ) untenable.

So let's start with a look at what we would need to accept if we take the Sakhya rasa proposal.


1. That the following pure devotees either did not know or spoke with deception for various unsubstantiated reasons to their disciples & followers.

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja 
Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Maharaja 
Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja 
Countless senior devotees in the vaishnava mandal.

2.That Srila Sridhar Maharaja's Statement in 1968 and in the 80s was not what he really belived and this must be accepted without a direct statement from him to that affect.

3. That Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja though he performed the samadhi of Srila Prabhupada he did so not knowing his Svarup or that he was performing seva to Srila Prabhupada in consideration that he is in Manjari Bhava not because he was but for other reason.

4. That Srila Prabhupada's link to Srila Saraswati Takhur was only diksha and there is no eternal link of common seva In Manjari Bhava between them in the Spiritual world.

5. That Srila Prabhupada was incapable of giving his disciples Madhyura rasa especially in the mood of a manjari, and hence unable to fill the pinnacle of what Mahaprabhu came to give.

6. That Srila Prabhupada's statements about himself related to Madhurya rasa were not really related to him, such as his desire to dance in Sri Krishnas rasa lila.

7. That though Srila Prabhupada said that he was in Sahkya rasa after close 40 years no person has bought out his identity for the blessings of his disciples. While we do know the identity of everyone else in our Guruvarga.

8. That every acharya in our Gaudiya line (parampara) was In Manjari Bhava except Srila Prabhupada.

9. That Srila Prabhupadas writings that dealt with elements of Madhurya rasa were not realized by him ESP. Those of Manjari Bhava. 

10. And that the Prayer on the Jaladhuta I particular its 9th verse is irrefutable evidence and that there is no other way to translate this prayer. 

So now keeping this to some reasonable size I would like to absolutely show that there is an alternative that both Sakhya and Madhurya rasa could have exsisted In our Srila Prabhupada and how this is not only possible but the conclusion drawn by self realized devotees.

The premise for much of the argument that Srila Prabhupada is in shakya rasa is his Prayer on the Jaladhuta , below is that very prayer looked at from an alternative angle with my reflections based on Guru Sadhu and Satrastra.


I am in attempting to discuss this subject the utmost cheater in that I have no realization on the platform of transcendence and this subject is really do be realized not theorized. But I have substantial faith in the words, moods, and conceptions that lovingly flowed from the mouth of my eternal master Nitya lila Pravista Om Vishnapada 108 Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja. On several occasions I heard him speak about the glory of our Srila Prabhupada not only his glory that we could see but his hidden glory as an eternal follower of Sri Rupa Goswami and internally Sri Rupa Manjari, this was his revelation of the sastric meaning of Rupanuga. Though there has always been a section of devotees that were inspired an identified Srila Prabhupada as a cowherd boy later as Priya Narma Sakha in particular, live and let live abounded in general with occasional philosophical back and forth arising.

Very recently from within section of devotees who have relationship with Srila Narayana Maharaja issued a position paper aligning with the conception of our Srila Prabhupada being in Sakhya rasa. This was strongly opposed by many followers of Srila Narayana Maharaja,  Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja, and Srila Prabhupada as well as some of the followers of Srila Sridhar Maharaja. Much philosophical debate ensued  with points being adjusted to fit either side of the debate. A large part of the debate centered on the poem of Srila Prabhupada written on the Jaladhuta during his voyage to America in 1965. Special focus was given to the 9th verse which was taken by the devotees supporting Sakhya rasa as an open and shut case, absolute proof added to that was the opinion of two mutually accepted pure Vaishnava devotees Srila Sridhar Maharaja, and less quoted Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Maharaja. 

The Devotees who side with Sirla Prabhupada being in Madhurya Rasa also cite Srila Sridhar Maharaja ( as he has given an alternative vision as well) Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja a direct disciple of Srila Prabhupada, and Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja. It should be noted that both have opposing direct statements from Srila Prabhupada. 

Considerations regarding the prayer

1. What is the nature of the prayer

2. What mood is the Prayer in

3. Is the Vaishnava praying for something in particular

4. Is He/she Praying as a Sadhaka or Siddha ( pure devotees may be in 2 states of identification as a sadhaka or siddha see the verse seva sadhaka rupena siddha rupena chatra hi ) 

5. What is the refrain or repeated theme of the prayer

6. Are there any special considerations ( is the devotee in distress, are special bhavas at work etc.) 

7. Does the time period have in bearing

8. Is the prayer inspired by a spurti or darshan

9. Is there one dominate rasa present

10. Is the fruit of the prayer seen in that Vaishnavas lila

Let's apply these ten considerations to Our Srila Prabhupada's Prayer



Text One

krishna taba punya habe bhai

e-punya koribe jabe radharani khusi habe

dhruva ati boli toma tai

I emphatically say to you, O brothers, you will obtain your good fortune from the Supreme Lord Krishna only when Shrimati Radharani becomes pleased with you.

Reflection: There are other translations that use the word Bhai to refer to Krishna and that Srila Prabhupada is talking to Sri Krishna not using Bhai as a general address to an audience through many Bengali bhajans of Thakur Bhaktivinode make use of Bhai O Brothers as an address to the wide audience as this translation does. Now more importantly is the content rather to the wide audience or Sri Krishna directly the affirmation that good fortune rest only and exclusively with Sri Radha's being pleased while it may be said by a Priya Narma Sakha, is absolutely the mood of those in Manjari Bhava. It is there conviction to serve Krishna because he is the beloved of Radha. The Priya Narma Sakha may express this mood when Krishna's desire reflects in their heart but it is the permanent Bhava in the heart of Manjaris.

saïcäré syät samanä vä kåñëa-ratyäù suhåd-ratiù adhika puñayamänä ced bhävolläsa itéryate

Bhävolläsa-rati is the saïcäré bhäva of the maïjaré-sakhés, whose suhåd-rati (for Çré Rädhä and everything connected with Her) abundantly exceeds their kåñëa-rati, and constantly increases due to their full absorption in it. This is also their sthäyé rati, their permanent rati. 

madîçå-nåthatve vraja-vipina-candraμ vraja-vane- çvarîμ tåμ-nåthatve tad-atula-sakhîtve tu lalitåm

viçåkhåμ çikßålî-vitara√a-gurutve priya-saro- girîndrau tat-prekßå-lalita-rati-datve smara mana ̇

This verse of Raghunath Das's mana siksha  that describes how the Manjari serve Krishna because he is the beloved of their istadeva Sri Radhika . 

Text Two

shri-siddhanta saraswati shaci-suta priya ati

krishna-sebaya jara tula nai

sei se mohanta-guru jagater madhe uru

krishna-bhakti dey thai thai

Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who is very dear to Lord Gauranga, the son of mother Shaci, is unparalleled in his service to the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. He is that great saintly spiritual master who bestows intense devotion to Krishna at different places throughout the world.

Reflection: Srila Prabhupada now continues his prayer praying in Sadhaka avastha ( the mood of a sadhaka ) Though he has declared Radharani as his istadeva his service to her is through his divine master SBSST. He also acknowledges that his master Nyana Mani Manjari has appeared in Gaura lila as SBSST. Note also that he mentions he is an unparalleled servant of the "Supreme Lord" this is definitely the mood of sadhaka avastha as he identifies with the bagavata or power of Krishna which reflects an appeal to the Krishna as Bhagavan who can bestow the power that Srila Prabhupada will ask for.

Text Three

tara iccha balavan pashcatyete than than

hoy jate gauranger nam

prthivite nagaradi asamudra nada nadi

sakalei loy krishna nam

By his strong desire, the holy name of Lord Gauranga will spread throughout all the countries of the Western world. In all the cities, towns, and villages on the earth, from all the oceans, seas, rivers, and streams, everyone will chant the holy name of Krishna.

Reflection: The power of Guru nistha is Srila Prabhupadas Guiding force to achieve fulfilling the prediction of Mahaprbahu prthivi te ache yatha nagar adi gram, sarvatra prachar hoibe mor naam. In pursuit of this desire of Guru and Gauranga he prays for empowerment. Now the nature of the prayer is clear the agents of Sri Radha have come to Gaura lila to fulfill the the prediction of Mahaprabhu.

Text Four

tahale ananda hoy tabe hoy digvijay

caitanyer krpa atishay

maya dusta jata duhkhi jagate sabai sukhi

vaishnaver iccha purna hoy

As the vast mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu conquers all directions, a flood of transcendental ecstasy will certainly cover the land. When all the sinful, miserable living entities become happy, the Vaishnavas' desire is then fulfilled.

Reflection: Srila Prabhupada describes the divine task at hand.

Text Five

se karja je koribare ajna jadi dilo more

jogya nahi an dina hina

tai se tomara krpa magitechi anurupa

aji numi sabar pravina

Although my Guru Maharaja ordered me to accomplish this mission, I am not worthy or fit to do it. I am very fallen and insignificant. Therefore, O Lord, now I am begging for Your mercy so that I may become worthy, for You are the wisest and most experienced of all.

Reflection:This is clearly praying in Sadhka avastha Dainya( humility) overcomes Srila Prabhupada's heart and considering himself not worthy he begins his prayers for empowerment repeating the first verse he is using the currency of being along with his Gurudeva those who hold influence with Sri Radha being her near and dear knowing her to be the source of Krishna's happiness.

Text Six

tomara se shakti pele guru-sebaya bastu mile

jibana sarthak jadi hoy

sei se seva paile tahale sukhi hale

taba sanga bhagyate miloy

If You bestow Your power, by serving the spiritual master one attains the Absolute Truth-one's life becomes successful. If that service is obtained, then one becomes happy and gets Your association due to good fortune.

Reflection: Now Srila Prabhupada ask for Sri Krishna to bestow his power in one sense we know the power of Krishna is Radha. Being Radha's near and dear why would Srila Prabhupada not ask Radha simply to bestow her mercy it's because the special power needed to reveal and established Gaura Radha Krishna is the power of Akanda Guru tattva Sri Baladeva tattva manifest in Gaura Lila as Nityananda it is this power Srila Prabhupada is praying for. 

Text Seven

evam janam nipatitam prabhavahikupe

kamabhikamam anu yah prapatan prasangat

krtvatmasat surarsina bhagavan grhitah

so 'ham katham nu visrje tava bhrtya-sevam

My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, because of my association with material desires, one after another, I was gradually falling into a blind well full of snakes, following the general populace. But Your servant Narada Muni kindly accepted me as his disciple and instructed me how to achieve this transcendental position. Therefore, my first duty is to serve him. How could I leave his service? (Prahlada Maharaja to Lord Narasimhadeva, Shrimad Bhagavatam 7.9.28)

Reflection: Now Srila Prabhupada becomes overwhelmed by Karuna ( compassion ) and relates the prayer of Sri Prahalad again in Sadhaka avastha Srila Prabhupada in humility identifies with being saved by his Divine master and though he constantly taste transcendental bliss as a siddha how can he give up the service to the order of his Sri Gurudeva. So though in siddha avastha he taste the divine seva of his swamini the service at hand being the order of his Guru is his first duty. A willingness to do the needful by covering his own Bhava to manifest the empowerment of Nityananda shakti. Srila Sridhar also gave this consideration that Srila Prabhupada hid his madhurya Bhava deferring to his Nityananda shakti here is a Pranam mantra composed by Srila Govinda Maharaja the disciple and successor acharya of Srila Sridhara Maharaja

nama om visnupadaya krsna-presthaya bhutale

svami sri bhaktivedanta prabhupadaya te namah

gurvajnam sirasi-dharyam saktyavesa sva-rupine

hare-krsneti mantrena pascatya-pracya-tarine

visvacarya prabaryaya divya karunya murtaye


gaura-sri-rupa-siddhanta-saraswati nisevine

radha-krsna-padambhoja-bhrngaya gurave namah

"I offer my humble obeisances unto His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krsna on this Earth, having taken shelter at His lotus feet. Taking the order of his guru on his head, be became empowered by Nityananda Prabhu to act as a saktyavesa-avatara. He distributed the Hare Krsna mantra all over the Eastern and Western world, 


Text Eight

tumi mor cira sathi bhuliya mayar lathi

khaiyachi janma-janmantare

aji punah e sujoga jadi hoy jogayoga

tabe pari tuhe milibare

O Lord Krishna, You are my eternal companion. Forgetting You, I have suffered the kicks of maya birth after birth. If today the chance to meet You occurs again, then I will surely be able to rejoin You.

Reflection: receiving the prayed for power of Nityananda Srila Prabhupada Prays relating to Krishna not as the supreme personality of Godhead but as his eternal companion a mood of Baladeva toward Krishna and Nityananda toward Mahaprabhu.

Text Nine

tomara milane bhai abar se sukha pai

gocarane ghuri din bhor

kata bane chutachuti bane khai lutaputi

sei din kabe habe mor

O dear friend, in Your company I will experience great joy once again. In the early morning I will wander about the cowherd pastures and fields. Running and frolicking in the many forests of Vraja, I will roll on the ground in spiritual ecstasy. Oh when will that day be mine?

This is the verse that is the lynchpin of those who advocate the prayer to be Sakhya Rasa well that's absolutely correct as confirmed by Srila Sridhar Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Maharaja , Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja yes Srila Gurdeva also acknowledge this verse to indicate Sakhya as he stated everything is there in Madhyura rasa, and alternatively it is absolutely the mood of Sri Nityananda whom Srila Prabhupada is manifest the shakti of and following the tenor of the prayer from the beginning it is apparent that Srila Prabhupada prayed and received the shakti of Nityananda. Keep in mind his early absorption at Radha Damodar where he used cry at the Samadhi of Sri Rupa Goswmi/ Rupa Manjari he declared this his eternal home. 

Now Aboard the Jaladhuta about to arrive in America he recieved the complete empowerment of Nitai.  Srila Prabhupada's own words

Unless you take shelter under the shade of the lotus feet of Nityananda…“radha-krsna paite nai”…it will be very difficult to approach Radha-Krsna. This Krsna consciousness movement is for approaching Radha-Krsna, to be associated with the Supreme Lord in His sublime pleasure dance. That is the aim of Krsna consciousness. So Narottama dasa Thakura’s advice is, “If you actually want to enter into the dancing party of Radha-Krsna, then you must take shelter of the lotus feet of Nityananda.”

So this expressions in this verse are manifest from Srila Prabhupads Avesha in Nityananda .

Text Ten

aji se subidhane tomara smarana bhela

baro asha dakilam tai

ami tomara nitya-dasa tai kori eta asha

tumi bina anya gati nai

Today that remembrance of You came to me in a very nice way. Because I have a great longing I called to You. I am Your eternal servant and therefore I desire Your association so much. O Lord Krishna, except for You there is no other means of success.

Reflection: Now Srila Prabhupada confirms that his desire his great hope was fulfilled and concludes the prayer again is Sadhaka avastha as he addresses  Krishna saying I am your eternal Servant if we followed the logic that this was a prayer in Sakhya Ras exclusively then we would need to reconcile why from the intimacy of a friend suddenly a mood of Dasya is expressed as Priya Narma Sahkas nor Manjaris will address Krishna as his servant this is from the angle of sadaka avastha , Srila Prabhupada also acknowledges only this special empowerment by Krishna is the means of success. 


Part 2