Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

What is the difference between sincerely practicing bhakti and serving Krishna with and without diksha?

Diksha is a ritual involving surrendering of oneself to a spiritual guide to receive divine knowledge, purification and liberation. What counts most, however, is the humble mentality, submissive attitude and loving feelings behind a devotee’s practice. Sastras define diksha as an act of self-surrender, sincerely offering one’s body, mind, heart and very self, atma, to Sri Guru and the loving service of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu says:

diksha –kale -bhakta -kore –atma –samarpaëa,
sei -kale –krishna –tare -kore -atma -sama

“At the time of diksha, one fully surrenders his/her very self to Sri Guru. Krishna then spiritualizes one’s body [makes transcendental], and accepts that body and devotee as His very own. (Caitanya Caritamrita. 3.4.192)

Two atmas are mentioned, the disciple and Bhagavan Sri Krishna. The disciple offers and surrenders his/her self, atma-samarpana, to Guru. Sri Krishna then accepts that atma like Himself, atma-sama, in the sense that the new devotee becomes a divine being, very dear to Krishna’s heart.

Though purifying like all rites and rituals, the diksha ritual alone will not purify the heart. Only offenseless bhakti bhajan will purify one’s existence and deliver one to Krishna.

One may just chant Hare Krishna japa and practice Krishna bhakti without diksha. But one’s progress will be slow and full of obstacles. This is not the way of shastra, nor the million-year-old tradition of surrendering to a spiritual teacher, Sri Guru, taking diksha, humbly serving, and learning how to attain spiritual perfection, mukti and Krishna prem.

Such independent practice sans diksha is bound to be offensive and fraught with difficulties. Two major offenses will retard one’s progress, namely Nama Aparadha one and four: Sadhu ninda, offending the instructions and example of the sadhus and previous acharyas who all took diksha; and shastra ninda, offending, disregarding and not following the sacred scriptures which all direct one to surrender to a Guru and take diksha.

In Hari Bhakti Vilasa (II.5-6), Sri Sanatana Goswami quotes shastra on the dire need to take diksha.

The Skanda Purana, Karttika-mahatmya, Brahma Narad samvad says:

te –narah -pashavo –loke, kim –tesham –jivane –phalam,
yair -na -labdha -harer –diksha, narchito –va -janardanah

“Persons devoid of diksha who don’t worship Sri Hari are like animals, and attain no benefit in human life.”

The Vishnu-yamala, Rukmangada Sri Mohini samvada says:

adikshitasya –krtam –sarvam – nirarthakam,
pashu -yonim -avapnoti –diksha -virahito -janah

“Without diksha, all one’s actions are worthless and one takes birth in an animal’s womb.”

In summary, although diksha is not the only requirement, it is absolutely necessary to attain spiritual perfection. Sri Sanatana Goswami says:

yasya -deve -ca -mantre –ca, gurau -trishvapi -nishchala
na -vyavacchidyate -buddhis, tasya -siddhir -aduratah

“Perfection is guaranteed for one who has unflinching faith in Bhagavan Sri Krishna, Sri Guru and one’s diksha mantra [Gopal mantra].”

mantratma -devata –gyaneya, devata -guru -rupini
tesham -bhedo -na –karttavyo, yadicched -ishtam -atmanah

One should know that the diksha mantra is one with and non-different from the mantra devata i.e. Sri Krishna Govinda. The Guru is the form of the mantra devata, non-different from Sri Krishna Govinda. One desiring beneficial results should never distinguish between these three.

The absolute necessity of a diksha Guru is beautifully described in the “Samadhi” chapter of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (IV.9):

durlabho –vishaya –tyago, durlabham –tattva –darshanam
durlabhha –sahaja -vastha, sad -guro –karunam –vina

“Without the compassion of a true Guru, one cannot renounce material sense enjoyment; understand spiritual truths, attain darshan of the Absolute Truth, Sri Krishna; or achieve spiritual perfection, Krishna prema.”

Thus every fortunate soul should take mantra diksha from a proper Guru. And for those who surrender to and humbly serve Sri Guru, the all-merciful master gives:

– mantras to purify the heart and establish an eternal loving relationship with Sri Krishna, bhagavan –atma –prem -sambandha;

– mercy and love to overcome offenses and negative mentalities;

– a personal example of devotion to follow;

– and realized teachings to remove all doubts, and illuminate the path of proper bhakti bhajan leading to the eternal service of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda Yugala in Goloka Vrndavana!

Guru diksha ki jai! Sri Guru ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The eighteen syllable Gopal (Krishna) mantra, highlighted in the Gopal Tapani Upanisad, is the actual diksha mantra for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas. In Brhad Bhagavatamrita, Sri Sanatana Goswami reveals the inconceivably amazing power and effect of the Gopal mantra.

In his narrative of an archetypal, young Vrajavasi cowherd named Gopa-kumar, Sri Sanatana Goswami explains that this simple, uneducated boy attained the topmost spiritual perfection just by chanting the Gopal-mantra received from his Guru.

Sitting on the same asana in the same place, his Govardhan home, and in the same body, Gopa-kumar, by his diksha mantra-purified mind and consciousness, attained and experienced many positions and realms or regions of both material and spiritual reality, wherein one lives for thousands or even millions of years!

Commenting on his own verse (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.3.9), Sri Sanatana Goswami says, “Gopa-kumar did not die, or give up his present body to accept another body. Rather, his young cowherd body became so refined and pure that he was able to “travel” to all these different regions or planes of reality, and finally enter the supreme spiritual abode.”

During his galactic spiritual odyssey, Gopa-kumar encountered the lokas of Svarga, Tapa, Satya, Shiva, Visnuloka and sakshad darshan of Sri Lakshmi Narayan.

At last, by the mercy of Sri Guru and the power of chanting his diksha Gopal-mantra, Gopa-kumar attained his cherished spiritual perfection. He received an eternal, blissful spiritual body (siddha svarupa/deha) of a cowherd boy, and entered Goloka Vrndavana.

Bhagavan Govinda Gopal greeted Gopa-kumar and locked him in a loving embrace of eternal fraternity. Now, Gopal, Gopa-kumar and all the boys will play and sport together for time eternal in the forests, rivers, lakes and pasture lands of the happy realm of Nanda Vraj!

The most significant point is that Gopa-kumar achieved all these phenomenal experiences, realizations and realities of consciousness even though he received practically no association or personal instructions from his diksha Guru.

Gopa-kumar himself explains, “I received diksha in the Gopal-mantra, but then my Guru, overwhelmed in bliss, immediately went away. I didn’t have the slightest idea how to chant the mantra, mantra –katham –sadhaniya, gyatam –na –kinchana.” (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.1.122-24)

Sri Sanatana Goswami comments: “Just by the power of Guru and chanting his diksha Gopal-mantra, Gopa-kumar’s mind became pure and free from lust, envy and greed, and he developed deep faith, japena –chitta –shuddha, sraddha –ajayata.” (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.1.126)

In these days of world-class Gurus, most disciples get practically no association or personal teachings from their Gurus. The example of Gopa-kumar’s full faith in Guru, and his daily diksha mantra chanting is most encouraging for all Krishna bhaktas.

Sri Sanatana Goswami says, “Even without association of one’s diksha Guru, just by a few words directly heard from Guru, and also by the inspirations and indications received indirectly from Guru, a disciple will learn all the necessary spiritual truths needed for perfection, kinchin –mukhena –sanketan –abhyavedayat.” (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.3.5)

Ah, what astonishing power Sri Guru possesses! Like the diksha mantra, which has unlimited power because it is non-different from Bhagavan Sri Krishna, Sri Guru also has unlimited power because the Guru is being directly blessed and fully empowered by Sri Krishna, Sri Guru and one’s own Guru parampara.

Thus Sri Sanatana Goswami establishes the astonishingly inconceivable and unlimited power of the Gopal diksha mantra so kindly bestowed upon a disciple by one’s most merciful and loving eternal master, Sri Guru.

At their last meeting, Gopa-kumar’s Guru blessed him saying, “You are dear to me so I have given you everything I have. By the power of the Gopal diksha mantra you will understand and attain everything on your own, svayam –gyasyasi –lapsyase.” (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.3.6)

Sri Guru ki jai! Gopal-mantra ki jai! Sri Guru diksha ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura describes how Caitanya Mahaprabhu instituted the first Gaudiya Vaisnava Vyasa-puja ceremony in 1509 a.d. through Sri Nityananda Prabhu in Shrivasa Angana, Navadvipa.

“Srivasa Pandita, the head priest for the function, gave Prabhu Nityananda a flower garland to offer to a painting of Vyasadeva. Holding the garland in His beautiful lotus hand, Nityananda Prabhu hesitated and began glancing here and there as if He was looking for someone.

“Then to everyone’s surprise, Nityananda offered the garland to Sri Caitanyadeva instead. At that moment, Sri Caitanya immediately manifested His six-armed form, sad-bhuja, i.e. the combined visnu-tattva forms of Sri Krishna, Sri Rama, and Sri Caitanya).” (Caitanya Bhagavata (Madhya khanda chp. 5)

Thus, Sri Nityananda Prabhu completed the Vyasa-puja ceremony by offering a garland to that personality from whom everything emanates and whose empowered incarnation is Sri Vyasa-deva. By this Nityananda Prabhu established the real meaning of Vyasa-puja by worshiping the Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Sri Gauranga is the guru of Sri Nityananda Prabhu. This is the basis of the worship performed by Lord Nityananda. Therefore, the worship of Vyasa-deva, therefore, is actually the worship of Sri Gauranga in the form of the present acarya.

Although Sri Krishna and Sri Baladeva Prabhu are identical with Sri Caitanyadeva and Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Their activities are different. Nitai and Gaura are the supreme masters, para-tattva Bhagavans, yet they play the role of devotees. Gaur-Nitai act as devotees in order to teach all bhaktas the art of devotional service.

Thus, in this pastime from Caitanya Bhagavata, one Bhagavan, Nityananda Prabhu, is teaching us Gaudiya Vaisnavas that the ultimate recipient of the worship of Vyasa-deva or the spiritual master is Bhagavan Sri Krishna Caitanyadeva.

In the scriptures, Sri Krishna tells Uddhava that the acharya is the manifestation of Himself:

acharyam mam vijaniyan, navamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhy asuyeta, sarva-deva-mayo guruh

“One should know the acharya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.17.27)

If Sri Guru is not regarded as identical with Bhagavan, the worship of the acharya is not properly performed, and the said worshiper will not realize the true purport of the Vedas.

yasya deve para bhaktir, yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah, prakashshante mahatmana

For one who has unflinching faith in the lotus feet of the Sri Krishna, as well as in the spiritual master, the real import of Vedic knowledge can be revealed. (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.23)

Sri Guru is empowered by Sri Krishna to save the fallen souls from the clutches of Maya. As Sri Krishna’s delegated authority, the spiritual master liberates the conditioned souls from material world by engaging them in the direct service of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

The story of Srila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami’s repeated attempts to leave home and run to Jagannatha Puri to be with Sri Caitanya show the necessity of first receiving the mercy of Sri Guru and Sri Nityananda before one can attain the service of Bhagavan Sri Krishna Caitanyadeva.

Sri Guru ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

  1. Namacarya Srila Haridasa Thakura took diksa from Sri Advaita Acarya as described in Advaita Prakasha and Prema Vilasa.
  2. Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja took diksha from a grhasta named Jagadananda Goswami.
  3. Bhaktivinoda Thakura diksha from a grhasta named Vipin Bihari Gosvami and
  4. Gaurakisora Das Baba received diksa from a grhasta named Nandakisora Gosvami of Shantipura (Advaita parivaar), and later on took babaji sannyasa from Bhagavata Das Baba.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das


Who Needs a Guru?
How to Choose Guru?
What is the Identity and Function of Sri Guru?
The Uttama Adhikari Guru Confusion
Diksa: Real or Mental?
Light on Guru & Diksha
Remember Who Is Guru
Glories of Sri Guru
Guru Gita: Glories of Sri Guru
Guru Bhakti
Be Forever with Your Guru
Same Guru Every Life?
Love Your Guru
Real Meaning of Guru Purnima
Can Sri Advaita Prabhu (Maha-Visnu) Give Madhurya Rasa?
ISKCON Parampara and Gurus
Gurudeva Reveals Radha Kunda Appearance Day
Who Is My Guru part one
Who Is My Guru part two
Why Do We Worship the Guru?
Sri Guru and Vyasa Puja – part one
Rejecting Guru
Diksha Mantra Shows Krishna
Mantra siddhi
What is Bhuta Shuddhi?
Meaning of Mantra
Guru tattva Nectar Drops
Mantra, Nama and Need for Diksha- part one
Mantra, Nama and Need for Diksha- part two
Gaudiya Pancharatrika Diksha – part one
Gaudiya Vaisnava Diksha – part two

And if you are eager to know more please listen our lectures Guru Tattva covering every possible question a disciple could ask about the identity, position, role of a spiritual master, and how a disciple should relate to and serve under his guru, is thoroughly explained here.

Guru Tattva part one on Soundcloud or MNSaudio
Guru Tattva part two on Soundcloud or MNSaudio

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Between 1950-1965, Pandit Sri Krishna Dasa Babaji Maharaja, Bhakti-tirtha (Radha-Krishna nitya-lila pravista) would often meet with Srila Prabhupada in Bon Maharaja’s college in Vrndavana. The following memories of Pandit Sri Krishna Dasa Babaji come from a book titled, “Our Srila Prabhupada—A Friend to All”, penned by a Srila Prabhupada disciple named Mula-prakrti devi dasi.

May everyone relish the sweet and sometimes humorous exchanges between the liberated ones.

Pandit Sri Krishna Dasa Babaji:

“I was a Sanskrit student and scholar in the early 1960’s in Vrndavana. I was teaching in Bon Maharaja’s Sanskrit college across from ISKCON. At that time, Srila Swami Maharaja also was living in Vrindavana writing English translations and purports to the Srimad Bhagavatam.”

“At the college, some local Gaudiya and Vrajavasi scholars and writers would regularly meet to share their work and ask for suggestions regarding Sanskrit or philosophy. I attended those writers’ meetings and so did Srila Swami Maharaja. That’s how we began our acquaintance and friendship.”

“I remember how delightful Swamiji’s countenance was. He was very charming, full of realization, very humorous and affectionate. He was so kind upon me even though I was a much younger and junior in all ways. Yet Swamiji treated me just like a son or a very little brother. He always encouraged me, asked about my welfare, and shared Hari-katha from his writings.”

“He was a valuable friend during that time. Although his material circumstances were then so poor, he always seemed to me to be one of the richest devotees in spiritual blessings. He was a very learned and humble Vaisnava. He worked very diligently on his manuscripts, and often spoke about the order from his guru maharaja, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada.”

“I have one special remembrance of something that occurred during our regular meetings at Bon Maharaja’s college. Swamiji had every intention to somehow spread this Krishna knowledge in the West, despite all obstacles.”

“Prabhupada would often speak of this task of service, and was always looking for opportunities to somehow arrange to travel there. Most of us at that time were quite doubtful that he could succeed to go. He was practically penniless then, without sponsors or connections. Many of us were not so favorable for any Indian to go to the mleccha [western] countries, so we did not encourage him. Nevertheless, he was undaunted.”

“I recall how Swamiji came one day in great happiness and excitement. I think he had just completed his third volume of the Srimad Bhagavatam and he was carrying all three in his hands. He then explained to our group how he had finally printed the last texts and now the books were ready to go to the West.”

“In a very sweet way, he formally asked if we would all please bless his books that they would be able to go across the ocean and be successful in spreading Krishna consciousness in the western countries. Of course, we were willing to do that. So he carefully passed around the stack of three, brick-red, cloth bound books, and asked each of us to touch them and give our blessings, which we did.”

“Immediately after this he did something quite remarkable. Swamiji explained with deep seriousness how these Bhagavata books, now blessed, could not go across the ocean by themselves. Someone would have to take them to the west, popularize them, and distribute them properly to the public. So he then humbly requested, with folded palms, that our assembly would also bless him to accompany the books and preach on their behalf. In this way he took us all by surprise.”

“We all then felt moved to finally give our full blessings to his mission. I thought at that time how remarkable a Vaisnava he was, to request such blessings and to arrange for receiving them so wonderfully. I remember when I gave my blessings to him, I felt a spiritual surcharge in my heart.”

“Many years later, and now still it stands strongly in history how Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja [Srila Prabhupada] was successful in carrying our heritage and philosophy to the whole world. I feel honored to have been some very small part of that glorious success.”

Srila Prabhupada ki jai! Pandit Sri Krishna Dasji Babaji Maharaja ki jai!

Sajjana sadhu sanga ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada appeared in a family of pure Gaudiya Vaisnavas in 1896 in Calcutta. From early childhood he showed signs of pure devotion to Lord Sri Krishna.

At the tender age of five, he single-handedly organized a neighborhood Ratha yatra festival to glorify Lord Jagannatha. He authentically decorated a small cart to resemble the Lord’s colossal chariot in Puri. Besides leading the kirtana party, he organized cooking and prasadam distribution.

With his enthusiasm and ecstatic love for Lord Krishna he engaged the community in chanting:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Unlike other children his age who would waste their time playing, Srila Prabhupada preferred to visit the local Radha Krishna temple. For hours together, he would lovingly gaze upon the transcendental forms of Radha Govindaji, absorbing Their divine blessings and beautiful darsana.

In his youth, Maharaja Pariksit used to dress a Deity of Krishna. Similarly, from his childhood, Srila Prabhupada also began worshiping small Deities of Radha and Krishna. He quickly mastered the traditional beats and ragas on mrdanga and harmonium. With pure devotion Srila Prabhupada would sing sweet devotional bhajanas to please Radha Govindaji.

At twenty-six, he met his eternal spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura (Founder Acarya of Gaudiya Math). At their first meeting, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gave Srila Prabhupada a divine command: “Go to the West and spread Krishna consciousness in the English language.”

In full faith Srila Prabhupada embraced the order as his life and soul. After realizing his guru’s teachings, he started writing and distributing Back to Godhead, an English language magazine on the science of Krishna consciousness. Although begun in 1944 in a small way, “Back to Godhead” now circulates worldwide in over fifty languages.

Srila Prabhupada, like all pure Vaisnavas, showed immense compassion for the suffering conditioned souls. Although they are rotting in the materialistic life of ignorance, the stubborn conditioned souls insist that they “have no time for spiritual life.”

Neither their indifference, nor the sizzling summer heat of Delhi could keep Srila Prabhupada from distributing the cooling balm of Krishna consciousness. Once while selling Back to Godhead he collapsed on the street from heat stroke. Yet he remained fixed in his determination to please his spiritual master.

He took sannyasa in 1959 after retiring from household life. Taking shelter of Vrndavana, he rented a bhajana kutira in the Radha Damodara temple where he absorbed the association of Sri Rupa and Sri Jiva Gosvamis. Srila Prabhupada spent the next six years performing intensive Krishna bhajana.

Regularly, he bathed in Yamuna, and took darsana of Madana Mohana, Govindaji, Gopinatha, and Radha Ramana. He prayed for the mercy of the six Gosvamis and continued writing and printing. During bhajana he would receive blessings, inspiration, and direct guidance from the all merciful Sri Rupa Gosvami.

At this time, he began his life’s main literary work, an English translation with commentary of the Srimad Bhagavatam. For Srila Prabhupada it was more of a devotional outpouring than a mere translation from esoteric Sanskrit to understandable English.

Gaudiya Vaisnava history reveals that some advanced devotees would begin crying in spiritual happiness while reading the Srimad Bhagavatam. Smearing the ink on the pages, their tears would make the lines illegible. Similarly, Srila Prabhupada once said that his Srimad Bhagavatam commentaries are actually expressions of his “devotional ecstasies.”

Working alone, Srila Prabhupada wrote, begged money to print, and personally hauled the paper to publish the first three volumes of Srimad Bhagavatam. Recollecting these times, he once said humbly to his disciples:

“I did not know anything about writing. But my spiritual master told me to spread Lord Krishna’s glories in English. So this is what I tried to do, following in the steps of my Guru Maharaja. He was such a transcendental aristocrat. I had no great personal qualifications. I just tried to follow his instructions.”

Other disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura tried unsuccessfully to preach Krishna consciousness in English speaking Europe. Srila Prabhupada, however, had full faith in his guru and Krishna’s name. Fearless as Abhimanyu, he brought Krishna consciousness to the world’s most powerful country, America.

Besides speaking English and being a “super power,” America was leading the world in the sinful activities of meat eating, illicit sex, gambling, intoxication. If Americans would take up Krishna consciousness, thought Srila Prabhupada, then surely it would spread to “every town and village,” as Lord Caitanya predicted five hundred years ago. After all, “What’s a glorious victory without a glorious fight,” which Srila Prabhupada would sometimes say.

At the age of seventy, armed with karatalas and a crate of Bhagavatams, Srila Prabhupada set off to America in 1965 on the steamship “Jaladutta.” During the arduous forty-day sea journey the ship met heavy storms. For two consecutive nights, he had severe heart attacks which almost killed him.

On the third night, Lord Krishna appeared to Srila Prabhupada in a dream. The Supreme Lord Himself was pulling the ship to America, encouraging Srila Prabhupada and giving him all protection. Srila Prabhupada penned this prayer upon reaching New York City:

“My dear Lord Krishna, You are so kind upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me. How shall I make them understand the message of Krishna consciousness?

“I am very unfortunate, unqualified, and most fallen. Therefore, I am seeking Your benediction so I can convince them. For I am powerless to do so on my own.

“O Lord, I am like a puppet in Your hands. So if You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance. O Lord, make me dance as You like.”

In Manhattan, Srila Prabhupada struggled through the icy cold snowbound winter of l965. He continued writing and occasionally selling a few Bhagavatams. But for one year nothing really happened.

Gradually, a few yoga students began attending his classes on Bhagavad gita. The word spread that an “Indian swami was in town teaching a unique yoga method: chanting Hare Krishna.” After his room was robbed, he moved into a small storefront apartment at 26 Second Avenue in the Lower East Side.

In nearby Tompkins Square Park, Srila Prabhupada led the first public chanting of Hare Krishna in the Western world. On July 13, 1966, he founded ISKCON (The International Society for Krishna Consciousness) and initiated a dozen disciples.

To receive initiation disciples must promise to give up all forms of illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication, and gambling. Srila Prabhupada was well on his way to realizing his mission.

Under Srila Prabhupada’s pure guidance the Krishna consciousness movement quickly flourished. Within months ISKCON Radha Krishna temples opened in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Montreal, and London. In the l970’s, he traveled around the world fourteen times, establishing 108 Radha Krishna temples in all the major cities of the America, Europe, Africa, India, Asia, and Australia.

He initiated a total of five thousand sincere disciples from different nationalities. He opened asramas and pure vegetarian “Govinda’s” restaurants. On every continent he started Vedic gurukulas and goshalas. Srila Prabhupada was the first spiritual master to introduce both elegant Deity worship of Radha and Krishna and the annual Ratha yatra festival of Lord Jagannatha in the western countries.

ISKCON’s Jagannatha Ratha yatra festivals, complete with three beautiful wooden carts carrying Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva, and Lady Subhadra, a thunderous sankirtana procession, and massive prasadam distribution, take place every year in over two hundred cities worldwide.

Though constantly traveling and preaching to priests, princes, politicians, philosophers, scientists, and his disciples, Srila Prabhupada kept translating the Srimad Bhagavatam. He wrote over eighty books about Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Some of his most famous works are: Bhagavad gita As It Is, KRISHNA BOOK, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Nectar of Devotion, Science of Self Realization, and English translations with commentaries on Srimad Bhagavatam, , Isopanisad, Upadesamrta, Narada Bhakti-sutras, Mukunda mala stotra, and Caitanya Caritamrta.

Prabhupada’s books appear in fifty languages such as French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Swahili, Hindi, Bengali. And almost a billion copies have been distributed worldwide.

In only eleven years, between the ages of seventy and eighty-one, Srila Prabhupada accomplished his mission. He credited his phenomenal success to personal effort, unshakeable faith in his spiritual master, and complete faith in and dependence upon the Divine Names of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

He was not an ordinary person. Srila Prabhupada was personally chosen and empowered by Sri Krishna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu spread “Krishna consciousness” and chanting Hare Krishna all over the world.

In Vrndavana, l977, on November 14th, during the most auspicious time of Karttika, while surrounded by loving disciples singing their hearts out in kirtana, Srila Prabhupada chanted Hare Krishna and entered the eternal pastimes of Radha Syamasundara. To this day, ISKCON is expanding due to member cooperation, and the strict following of Srila Prabhupada’s ideal example of divine behavior and his pure devotional teachings.

As one of the world’s most dynamic religious and cultural movements, ISKCON has more than four hundred temples on five continents. Srila Prabhupada’s bhajan kutir and samadhi are in Vrndavana at the Radha-Damodara Mandira, and the ISKCON Krishna Balarama Mandira.

(Book Excerpt: Gaudiya Vaisnava Biographies and Samadhis in Vrndavana)

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Sometimes people challenge devotees in the Advaita Parivar saying: “Since Gaura-ganoddesa dipika identifies Advaita Prabhu only as Maha-Visnu, how can He or His guru parampara give madhurya rasa?”

“It is clearly said in that book that Nityananda Prabhu is Balarama and also Ananga-manjari, the younger sister of Sri Radha. So in the form of Ananga-manjari, Nitai can give madhurya-rasa. But what about Advaita Prabhu?”

Before directly answering this question, everyone should understand that all the eternal associates of Caitanya Mahaprabhu have spiritual forms (siddha svarupas) in Vraja madhurya rasa. And all the traditional lines, parivars, i.e. Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara, etc. coming from Mahaprabhu can and do bestow gopi-prema and manjari bhava. Outwardly, they may be famous for another rasa, but Gaurahari’s companions also have a position and seva in gopi-bhava.

Now we will quote some solid sastric proof from two very famous associates of Sri Caitanyadeva, Sri Murari Gupta and Sri Krishna Das Kaviraja, to establish the gloriously wonderful position and Vraja identity of Sri Advaita Prabhu.

In “Sri Krishna Caitanya Carita Mahakavya” (1.20), Gaura nitya-parisada (associate), Sri Murari Gupta says, “The great Controller Advaita Prabhu is the grand acarya for all the amorous arts of vraja madhurya-rasa (parakiya-bhava): sri yukta advaita varya, parama rasakala acarya, isha vireje.”

After Rupa Goswami recited his dramas Lalita/Vidagdha, Mahaprabhu asked Nityananda and Advaita Prabhu to embrace and bless him with gopi bhava, advaita nityananda adi sab bhaktagan, krpa kori rupe sobe koila alingan.” Caitanya Caritamrita 3.1.207). It is only because Nitai and Advaita possess the power of gopi-bhava within them, that Mahaprabhu asked them to give it to Rupa Goswami, who then became the rasa-acharya of gopi-bhava for the Gaudiya Sampradaya.

Now back to the post’s opening paragraph, citing Gaura-ganoddesa Dipika’s challenge to Advaita Prabhu’s qualification to give Vraja madhurya-rasa.

Kavi Karnapura’s book, Gaura Ganoddesa Dipika is only one of many authentic and old books revealing the eternal Vraja names and divine forms of various associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

When Kavi Karnapura wrote his book, it was popularly known that Advaita Prabhu is Maha-Visnu. So that’s what Kavi Karnapura wrote in his book. Because this is secret information, it is not revealed openly.

The true or complete identities of many other eternal associates of Mahaprabhu are also not clear or accurately presented in Gaura-ganoddesa dipika. The proof is that at least 25 times in his book, Kavi Karnapur uses the word ukta or uchu, which mean, “it is said” or “some people say” when he is not sure about the actual Vraja name or identity of a particular Gauranga associate. In fact, in one verse Kavi Karnapura says, “My father, Sivananda Sena says he is this person, but I think he is someone else.”

The same Kavi Karnapur, who says Advaita is Maha-Visnu, identifies Raghunatha Das as Rati Manjari. But throughout the Govinda-lilamrta, Krishna Das Kaviraja, who lived directly beside Dasa Goswami for 40 years in Radha-kunda, says he is Tulasi Manjari. He does not mention anything about him being Rati-manjari.

In their comments to Vilapa Kusumanjali, two great contemporary Gaudiya rasiks, Advaitavamsa Acarya Sri Ananda Gopala Goswamiji and Sri Ananta Dasji Maharaja refer to Raghunatha Das as Tulasi-manjari and not Rati-manjari.

If Advaita Acarya is merely Maha-Visnu, and not a Vraja gopi too, then how could Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, a disciple of Advaita’s disciple Sri Yadunandana Acarya, become famous, worshipable and followed by all Gaudiyas as the par excellent acarya for gopi-bhava and manjari-bhava sadhana?

The exact Vraja identities of various Gaura-lila associates of Sriman Mahaprabhu is an extremely esoteric subject clearly known only to direct members of a particular parivar and not to outsiders. The Vraja names and forms of Gauranga’s eternal associates are passed down privately from Guru to disciple through each individual spiritual family, parivar.

Yes, Sri Advaita Prabhu is Maha-Visnu. But He is also Yogamaya or Paurnamasi, who arranges all of Krishna’s Vraja madhurya-lilas with Sri Radha and the sakhi/manjaris. This is true because the same book, Gaura-ganoddesa dipika, says that Advaita Prabhu’s direct female sakti expansion and eternal companion in conjugal love is the divine Sri Sita-devi, who is non-different from Him, is also known as Yogamaya or Bhagavati Paurnamasi in Vraja.

Like Bhagavan Sri Krishna, all the Visnu-tattva forms of Bhagavan i.e. as Maha-Visnu can expand into unlimited numbers of spiritual forms, each having a unique transcendental name, form and identity to lovingly serve either Sri Caitanydeva in Navadvipa or Radha-Govinda Yugala in Vrndavana.

Thus, Sri Advaita Prabhu is not only Maha-Visnu, but He is also Paurnamasi in Vraja. He also has other spiritual Vraja forms as a sakha, sakhi and a manjari! These secret gems of sweet truths are not shown to outsiders.

They are the private treasures of the parivar, only revealed to those fortunate souls who have surrendered to the sweet lotus feet of Sri Advaita Prabhu, and taken diksa in His most glorious transcendental family or parivar. (sastra courtesy: Sri Advaita Dasji Maharaja)

Vraja Madhurya-rasa and gopi-bhava ki jai! Sri Advaita Parivar ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Any sincere sadhaka can always be in association with one’s merciful Gurudeva, even if the Guru is far away or has entered Radha-Govinda’s nitya-vrndavana lila.

Simply by meditating on your divine master, you immediately establish a connection with him. In response to your thoughts and prayers, Sri Guru will send you his full blessings, guidance, power and love.

A sweet stream of spiritual energy will flow from Sri Guru to you, just as honey pours from one vessel to another. You will feel his mercy mellowing your mind, and taste the sweet bliss of his charming presence in your heart.

In the Yoga-sutras, Rishi Patanjali says you can control your vrittis (thought waves) by fixing your mind on one who has transcended human passions and attachments (vita-raga-visayam ca cittam).

So by thinking of your Guru or some liberated soul, or by looking at his picture, you will pacify your mind, purify your heart and empower your Harinama japa with increased concentration.

The Padma Purana (Uttara-khanda ch. 112 v. 9-29) says that the mind becomes pure by Sri Guru smarana: “Just by thinking of your Guru, you will obtain 1/100th portion of the priceless treasure of his Krishna bhakti.”

However, the ability to draw blessings from your beloved spiritual master depends on the degree of your faith, surrender and dedication to Sri Guru. When sincere sisyas meditate on Sri Guru, they will definitely feel the benign and blissful presence of Sri Guru in their hearts.

Once Srila Prabhupada said, “Even if I am in the spiritual world with Radha and Krishna, whenever you chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, you will immediately experience my presence right before you!”

Surrendered sisyas ki jai! Krpa-sakti murti Sri Guru ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Sri Ramanuja Acarya appeared in 1017 A.D. near Madras, South India in a family of Vedic scholars. Sri Vaisnavas say he was an incarnation of Laksmana. The word Ramanuja means “a follower of Rama.” He received this name because Laksmana always follows and serves His elder brother Bhagavan Sri Ramacandra.

A boy of amazing wit, Ramanuja quickly learned Sanskrit, logic, and the Vedas. He took diksa and married at age sixteen. Ramanuja studied with a mayavadi guru, Yadava Prakash, to master mayavadi philosophy and defeat it.

When the brilliant Ramanuja kept refuting his mayavadi arguments, Yadava Prakash tried to murder him. Unsuccessful, Yadava Prakash expelled Ramanuja from the asrama. Before leaving, Ramanuja completely defeated his guru’s theory of oneness and no distinction.

Ramanuja explained, “While a certain unity can be seen in the inter relatedness of all things, still everything within the universe has its own distinct reality. Pearls strung on a thread share unity; collectively they form an organic whole a necklace. Still, each individual pearl has its own unique qualities.”

“While spirit, matter, and God may be seen as one organic whole, each has its unique qualities. Therefore, Sankara’s principle of absolute oneness can’t stand. Rather, the principle of unity characterized by different qualities must be accepted.”

Sometime later, Yadava Prakash met Kuresh, Ramanuja’s student with a photographic memory. Quoting Srutis, the best of Vedic proof, Kuresh convinced him that Brahman has transcendental form and qualities coming from the ultimate reality the supreme Absolute Truth known as Lord Narayana.

Ramanuja initiated anyone regardless of caste. Using the panca samskara purification method, he turned sudras into pure Vaisnavas. He established that the position of a Vaisnava surpasses all social limitations and considerations. Identifying himself as a servant, Ramanuja taught the worship of the Vaisnavas. Several times envious brahmanas tried to poison Ramanuja.

To teach detachment to one disciple Ramanuja staged the following demonstration. He told the disciple to create confusion among the sannyasis by switching their clothes at the bathing ghat.

When the sannyasis, who were big scholars and renunciates, started wearing each other’s clothes a big argument began. The disciple could plainly see that the “renunciates” were attached to some cloth.

Then Ramanuja sent the disciple to the home of his grhastha disciple, Dhanurdasa. Ramanuja engaged Dhanurdasa in the temple to ensure he wouldn’t be home. Following Ramanuja’s order, the disciple began stealing jewellery from Dhanurdasa’s chaste wife, who was sleeping.

After the disciple took the ornaments from one side of her body, she suddenly turned over. The startled disciple fled through the window. But he waited outside to witness the reaction of Dhanurdasa. Upon returning home Dhanurdasa talked with his wife.

“I’m worried that the temple needs money,” said his wife.

“What makes you think that?” asked Dhanurdasa.

“Because while I slept one of the temple devotees came through the window and began stealing the jewellery from my body. To go that far, I think those poor saints must desperately need money.”

“What did you do while he was stealing your jewellery?”

“I turned over, but he fled through the window.”

“Why did you do that?” said Dhanurdasa.

“I didn’t mean to scare him. I only turned over so that he could take the jewelry from the other side of my body as well.”

Dhanurdasa rebuked his wife, “If you were not so affected by false ego, you would have given him all your jewels. Now what shall we do? We have failed miserably.”

His wife lamented, “You’re right. It is only my pride that kept me from surrendering everything. How will we ever make any advancement?”

Watching all this, Ramanuja’s disciple was astonished at the humility and surrender of these grhastha devotees. Ramanuja explained the meaning of these two events: the sannyasis’ clothes and the wife’s jewels.

The sannyasis were so attached to some ragged bits of cloth that they fought over it. But the grhasthas were detached, even from costly jewels if they were needed for Krishna’s service.

Ramanujacarya founded the Sri Sampradaya, one of the four major Vaisnava sampradayas (Brahma, Sri, Kumara, Rudra). This sampradaya propounds the Vedanta philosophy of visistadvaita vada, qualified monism.

Gaudiya and Sri Vaisnavas share many teachings and practices. The Gaudiyas took Ramanuja’s explanation of God and the jiva verbatim: “The principle of God is like a blazing fire, while the living soul or the jiva is like a spark a small part of God.”

Both accept three classes of jivas: eternally liberated, forever bound, freed by devotion and sadhana. Ramanuja taught serving God in Vaikuntha with awe and reverence in dasya rasa(mood of master and servant). Gaudiya Vaisnavas teach confidental service in madhurya rasa to Radha Madhava within the groves of Vrndavana.

Ramanujacarya wrote many famous commentaries on the Upanisads, Puranas, Bhagavad gita. Sri Bhasya, his commentary on Vedanta, presents a formidable challenge to Sankaracarya’s impersonal commentary.

To this day, the Sri Vaisnava disciplic succession from Ramanuja continues to uphold the traditions of deity worship and philosophy systemized by the founder. His samadhi is in Sri Rangam.

(An excerpt from the book Gaudiya Vaisnavas Biographies and Samadhis in Vrndavana by Mahanidhi Swami)