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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Scholars say the Brahma Vaivarta Purana is one of the most interpolated Puranas. The following verse is often quoted to prove existence of a 10,000-year golden era in Kali-yuga.

However, this point is not mentioned anywhere in the books of the Gaudiya Acharyas.

sri-bhagavan -uvaca
kaler -dasha-sahasrani

mad -bhaktah -santi -bhu-tale
eka -varna -bhavishyani
mad -bhakteshu -gateshu -ca

Translation:

Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “For 10,000 years of Kali-yuga My devotees will exist on earth. After the departure of My devotees there will be only one varna.” (Brahma-vaivarta Purana text 59)

Comment: Out of 10,000 years, five thousand have already passed. So only 5000 years remain; not 10,000 years. This verse says NOTHING ABOUT A GOLDEN AGE!

So, the idea of 10,000 year period of a golden age is not supported by this verse. However, the verse is reminding all of us:

“You only have 5,000 more years left (60 births) to chant the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra, become a pure Krishna bhakta, and attain the eternal loving seva of Radha-Krishna in Vrindavan!”

[courtesy Pandit Satyanarayan Dasji & Sri Advaita Dasji]

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Due to unclear verse translations and purports in Srila Prabhupada’s books like “Nectar of Devotion” and “Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita”, many ISKCON members misunderstand and misrepresent the authorized practice of raganuga-bhakti sadhana.

This post will cite these confusing translations and purports, and give clear explanations of the subject of raganuga-bhakti.

WHAT ABOUT SIDDHA PRANALI?

Srila Prabhupada says, “In this connection, we should be careful about the so-called siddha-pranali. The siddha-pranali process is followed by a class of men who are not very authorized and who have manufactured their own way of devotional service.”

Comment: Does this include Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whom Srila Prabhupada himself has made world-famous as an acarya? Bhaktivinoda personally took siddha-pranali from his guru, Sri Bipin Bihari Goswami, and described it in his books Hari-nama cintamani and Jaiva-dharma.

Srila Prabhupada says, “They imagine that they have become associates of the Lord simply by thinking of themselves like that.”

Clarification:  Yet, this is exactly what the acaryas say. Sri Jiva Goswamipada says in Bhakti Sandarbha 286, “Bhuta-shuddhi means that one meditates on one’s own desired siddha deha which is fit for serving Bhagavan Sri Krishna.”

Sri Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami says in Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita (2.22.155-6): “Think of your own desired siddha deha as a sadhana.”

In that very same Nectar of Devotion, Sri Rupa Goswamipada says the same thing (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.295), plus its tikas by Sri Jiva Goswamipada and Visvanatha Cakravartipada.

Narottama Dasa Thakur says, “Whatever siddha deha one thinks of during one’s sadhana is what one attains in siddha stage.” (Prema Bhakti Candrika)

In Saranga-rangada tika of Krishna Karnamrita (3), Sri Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami says:

raganuga -marge -anutpanna -rati sadhaka -bhaktair -api -svepsita -siddha -deham -manasi -parikalpya

“On the raganuga-path even sadhaka bhaktas who have no bhava [rati] yet can think of one’s own desired siddha deha.” 

Srila Prabhupada says, “The so-called siddha-pranali process is followed by the prakrta-sahajiya, a pseudo sect of so-called Vaishnavas. In the opinion of Rupa Gosvami, such activities are simply disturbances to the standard way of devotional service.”

Comment: Where does Rupa Gosvami say this in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu?

Srila Prabhupada: “Sri Rupa Gosvami says that learned acaryas recommend that we follow the regulative principles even after the development of spontaneous love for Krishna.”

CLARIFICATION: Here Srila Prabhupada contradicts himself (see above): “These raganuga devotees do not follow the regulative principles of devotional service very strictly.”

In their tikas to Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.292), both Sri Jiva Goswamipada and Visvanatha Cakravartipada say: “When one has got even a slight feeling [kinchit anubhuti] for the sweet moods of Krishna and His devotees through hearing their descriptions in texts i.e Srimad Bhagavatam describing the ultimate spiritual goal, the raganuga sadhaka no longer waits for the injunctions of scripture or for logical reasons to do so, but simply takes up the raganuga devotional path. This is the characteristic of sacred greed, lobha.”

The words yat kinchit [slight, little] in their tikas prove that the initial lobha, sacred greed, to start raganuga-bhakti is not an all-consuming fire.

NO RULES IN RAGANUGA-BHAKTI?

In Nectar of Devotion, chapter 16 – “Eligibility for Spontaneous Devotional Service”, Srila Prabhupada says: “Persons desiring to follow in the footsteps of such eternal devotees of the Lord as the Vrsnis and Vrindavan denizens are called raganuga devotees, which means that they are trying to attain to the perfection of those devotees. These raganuga devotees do not follow the regulative principles of devotional service very strictly…”

Clarification: This has turned out to be a disastrous statement when preaching to a modern audience. People now think that raganuga bhakti means one need not follow the principles of chastity and restraint. Believe it or not, today there are some who preach that a life of illicit amorous relations, drugs and rock music is raganuga bhakti.

But Sri Rupa Goswamipada never said that raganuga bhakti means one need not follow the rules. Rather, Visvanatha Cakravartipada has written a book, ‘Raga Vartma Candrika’ specially to warn against such a conception.

He ends that book with: “Those who say that raganuga bhakti totally surpasses all scriptural injunctions in all respects have always caused disturbance, are causing disturbance and will cause disturbance.”

WHY ALWAYS GOPI-BHAVA?
“Why it has to be always gopi-bhava, why can’t one become a cowherd boy?”

Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita is the gist of the Gaudiya Vaishnava dharma, the ultimate statement, and it opens with this verse of Sri Rupa Goswamipada, stating the purpose of Sri Chaitanya’s advent:

“May Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is known as the son of Srimati Saci-devi be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, Mahaprabhu has appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no avatara has ever offered before: the elevated divine erotic flavor relished by Radha-Krishna [unnatojjvala-rasam]. (Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita 1.1.4)

Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita (1.4.44-45) says: “But if we compare the sentiments in an impartial mood, we find that the conjugal sentiment is superior to all others in sweetness.

“Increasing love is experienced in various tastes, one above another. But that love which has the highest taste in the gradual succession of desire manifests itself in the form of conjugal love.”

The standard songs in the entire Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, including ISKCON, all point at gopi-bhava and madhura rasa upasana. The “Tulasi-arati” for instance:

ei -nivedana -dharo, sakhira -anugata -koro
seva -adhikara -diye -koro -nija -dasi

“O Tulsi-devi, I submit to you to please make me a follower of the sakhis, and make me your maidservant by giving me to right to serve you.”

And the Gurvastakam (6):

nikunja-yuno -rati-keli-siddhyai
ya -yalibhir -yuktir -apeksaniya
tatrati-daksyad -ati-vallabhasya
vande -guroh -sri-caranaravindam

“The spiritual master is very dear, because he is expert in assisting the gopis, who at different times make different tasteful arrangements for the perfection of Radha-Krishna’s amorous affairs within the groves of Vrindavan. I offer my most humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master. “

It should be noted that most of the acaryas in ISKCON’s parampara are all manjari maidservants of Radharani in the spiritual realm.

Furthermore, at diksha the Kama-Gayatri is given to all Gaudiya Vaishnava, indicating that Krishna needs to be worshipped as the transcendental Cupid of Vrindavan. How does this fit in with being a cowherd boy, parent or male servant of Krishna? There is also not a single Vaishnava community in the world which practices cowherdboy, parent, or servant rasa. [content courtesy Sri Advaita Dasji]

Raganuga-bhakti ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Sri Isvara Puri sent his disciples, Govinda and Kasisvara Pandita, to Jagannatha Puri to humbly serve Lord Caitanya. Reluctant to accept service from His Godbrothers, Sri Caitanya finally agreed since it was His guru’s wish. Named Kalavati and Sasi rekha in Vraja lila, Govinda and Kasisvara bring Yamuna water to Lord Sri Krsna. Kasisvara Pandita, who was strong and powerfully built, used to walk before Lord Caitanya keeping the crowds from touching Him. And after kirtanas he would serve prasadam to all the devotees.

Sri Gaurasundara asked Kasisvara to move to Vrndavana for worshiping Sri Rupa Gosvami’s Deity of Govindaji. Fearing separation from Lord Caitanya, Kasisvara said, “My Lord, if I must give up Your association my heart will split in two.” Out of compassion for His devotee Lord Gauracandra gave him a Deity of Himself that was so perfectly formed it exactly resembled the Lord. “Gaura Govinda,” the Deity’s name, is a golden form of Krsna playing flute. Then Kasisvara Pandita happily went to Vrndavana to serve Gaura Govinda and Govindaji.

Sri Sadhana Dipika says, “I worship Sri Kasisvara Pandita whose power of love and devotion brought Sri Caitanya to Western India as a Deity.” Today the original Deities of Gaura Govinda and Govindaji are lovingly adored by thousands of devotees in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

Kasisvara Pandita’s original samadhi is in 64 Samadhis Area.

(An excerpt from the book Gaudiya Vaisnava Biographies and Samadhis in Vrndavana).

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

INTRODUCTION TO PURUSOTTAMA MONTH: 

Purusottama month or adhika masa (extra month) is also called mala masa, which means the dirty or useless month. In India, the sadhus, sadhakas and pious people of all sampradayas undertake serious penances (vratas) during Purusottama Month. Now let us examine the name, history, benefits and method of practice of this age old “King of All Vratas” or month long penances.

WHY IS IT CALLED MALA MASA? (dirty or useless month)

This is because all forms of karmic activities i.e. karma-kanda (reward seeking) pujas and yagnas will not produce any results this month. Therefore, it is a useless month. Gaudiya Vaisnavas say the dirt or filth indicated by the word mala refers to the fact that devotional activities performed in this month quickly and easily destroy the mental dirt, filth and contamination caused by sins, ignorance and aparadhas. Thus for Krishna bhaktas this is the most purifying and beneficial month.

WHY IS IT CALLED ADHIKA MAS? (extra month)

It is called adhika (extra) masa because Sri Krishna has placed not only extra but ALL HIS potencies, mercy and blessings in this month, which supercharges this month beyond all others. Thus a sadhaka will receive extra or more results from any religious actions performed.

WHAT MAKES THIS MONTH SO GREAT?

The Puranas say that Purusottama Month is the favorite month of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna personally created this month and named it after Himself. Purusottama Month, which only comes once every 36 months, is the most powerful spiritual reward giving month among all the months.

It is far superior to the pious months of Magha, Vaisakha and Karttika. On the earth planet and all over the universe the Purusottama Month is honored and worshiped by devotees, sages, gods and Laksmi Devi Herself.

BENEFITS OF PURUSOTTAMA MONTH VRATA

Different months of the year have different ista-devatas, worshipable Personalities. But for Adhika Month, Radha-Krishna Yugala are the ista-devatas. If one sincerely worships Radha and Krishna in Purusottama month, he will attain whatever he wants. Observing the Purusottama vrata burns up the reactions of all one’s bad karma and gives the direct service of Radha and Krishna.

Purusottama month is the best month to make spiritual advancement because Krishna overlooks all aparadhas. Residence in the holy dhama in this month yields 1000 times the benefit of living elsewhere!!! We invite all the fortunate to quickly book a room in Radha Kunda or Vrindavana to worship Radha-Krishna Yugala in the prema giving holy abode of Sri Vrindavana Dhama.

Come and join the thousands of pilgrims doing dandavat parikrama of Giri-Govardhana this month!!! Giriraj Dharan ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

THE GLORIES OF PURUSOTTAMA MONTH 

All quotes come from the Padma and Skanda Purana.

1. Bhagavan Sri Krishna: “Purusottama Month has all the power I have to bless its observer. One who follows Purusottama vrata will destroy all his past sinful reactions. Without performing Purusottama vrata, one cannot perform pure devotional service.

The value of Purusottama month is far more valuable than all other types of austerities and religious activities mentioned in the Vedas. Anyone who observes Purusottama vrata will return to My abode, Goloka, at the end of his life.”

2. Durvasa Muni: “One becomes sinless just by bathing in a holy river during Purusottama Month. The glory of all other months is not equal to one-sixteenth of the glory of the Purusottama Month. Bathing in a holy place, giving charity and chanting the Holy Names of Krishna during Purusottama Month destroys all miseries, awards all kinds of perfection and fulfills all desires.”

3. Valmiki Muni: “Observing Purusottama vrata brings more benefit than performing one hundred horse sacrifices. All holy places live within the body of an observer of the Purusottama Month vrata. Anyone who faithfully performs Purusottama vrata will go to Goloka Vrndavana”.

4. Narada Muni: “Purusottama Month is the best of all months, vratas and austerities. Just by faithfully hearing the glories of Purusottama Month, one attains Krishna-bhakti and immediately nullifies his sinful reactions. One who performs Purusottama vrata properly will attain unlimited piety and spiritual merit (sukrti) and go to the spiritual world.”

5. Naimisaranya Sages: “Merciful Purusottama Month acts like a desire tree to fulfill a devotee’s desire.”

HOW TO OBSERVE THE PURUSOTTAMA MONTH VRATA

General points: Observe celibacy and bathe daily before sunrise; chant extra rounds and read Srimad Bhagavatam daily; give charity.

1. Rise at brahma-muhurta (1½ hours before sunrise), and jump out of bed chanting “Jaya Radhe!”

2. Chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra and meditate on Radha-Krishna’s beautiful divine forms, qualities, and ecstatically purifying and heart stirring transcendental pastimes in Sridhama Vrndavana. Daily chant fixed number extra rounds for entire month: 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 32, 64, 108, 192 (always multiples of four rounds).

3. Observe the Vrata in Vrndavana, Navadvipa or any holy dhama to experience the maximum benefits and bliss.

4. Daily offer full puja or at least a ghee lamp to Radha-Krishna Deities or picture. Offer a row of 33 individual clay ghee lamps daily, or at least for one auspicious day this month e.g. (ekadasi, sankranti, purnima etc). 

5. Daily Tulasi Devi aratika and parikrama.

6. Daily Thakuraji Mandira parikrama (4 times).

7. Daily offer roses, lotus, and tulasi manjaris and 100,000 Tulasi leaves (or as many as you can) to Radha-Krishna Deities or photos and paintings.

8. Daily read Srimad Bhagavatam.

9. Hear Radha-Krishna Katha from advanced Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

10. Daily chant Sri Jagannathastakam (because this vrata is named after and often performed in Purusottma Ksetra Jagannatha Puri Dhama. Also chant astakams, prayers and bhajans glorfying Radha-Krishna Yugala.

11. Take a vow to remain peaceful and 100% truthful throughout the month.

12. Be careful not to blaspheme any devotees, brahmanas, saints, cows, sastras or especially anyone observing the Purusottama Month Vrata.

13. Don’t ask anyone for anything; be satisfied with whatever you have, and don’t endeavor to acquire any material thing during this month.

14. Try your best to please Radha and Krishna by performing devotional austerities according to your abilities. Don’t break your vow in the middle of the month. Be determined, pray intently for mercy and tolerate your crazy monkey mind. Take a vow, at least for this month, to remain deaf to your mind.

15. Eat on leaf plates sitting on the floor (optional).

16. No cutting of hair or nails (optional).

17. No cooking in oil or rubbing oil on your body.

18. Don’t eat mustard oil nor rub on the body.

Diets: Be your own guide and choose an eating program that is realistic within your means. The main vrata and austerity is to everyday Krishna consciously associate with serious devotees in Vrndavana who are glorifying Radha-Krishna

************If you can, it is best to EAT ONCE A DAY after sunset or at noon the following diets:

i) only milk; ii) only fruits (no milk, no veg.); iii) no grains (selected veg., fruits, nuts, milk); iv) selected foods (all categories as per caturmasya standards).

A NICE HUMILITY VRATA: Daily offer 33 dandavats to Bhagavan Sri Krishna and/or the Vaisnavas.

SRILA BHAKTIVINODA THAKURA’S Purusottama Month VRATA:

Observe 30 days of concentrated, one–pointed worship and service to Radha-Govinda Yugala by hearing, chanting, remembering Their divine names, forms, qualities, pastimes, and honor Sri Krishna’s Mahaprasada.

BEST DAYS TO GIVE CHARITY TO DEVOTEE BRAHMANAS:

Ekadasi, Dvadasi, Purnima, Amavasya, Sravana Naksatra Day; DO offer money, gold, cloth, shoes, fruits, etc. Also offer 33 plantains or mangos plus dana and dakshina to Brahmanas and Vaisnavas.

Very Important Point: When you give dana (i.e. diff. items like cloth, land, gold, cows, books, sweets, flowers, clothing, shoes, umbrellas) to a brahmana, one must simultaneously donate dakshina (i.e. money equal to the monetary value of the dana). For example, if give a 300 rupees pair of new shoes, then must give 300 rupees in laksmi or money to that same person.

BREAKING THE PURUSOTTAMA VRATA

1. Day and Time: consult local calendar.

2. Bathe in brahma-muhurta time

3. Perform Deity Worship: Radha-Syamasundara Deities, personal Deities or Picture.

4. Chant this mantra: “O Supreme Lord, O Sanatana, O Purusottama, O Lord Hari! I offer my obeisances unto you. May you and your beloved Radhika, please accept my offerings. I offer my repeated obeisances unto Syamasundara, who wears effulgent yellow garments on His beautiful body.

5. Offer pushpanjali (handfuls of fresh fragrant flowers or petals) and then dandavats to your personal Deities or Deity Picture.

6. Feed and give charity to 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 brahmanas/ Vaisnavas to the best of your ability (e.g., new clothes, two pairs of shoes, umbrella, ghee, yogurt, gumsas, sweets, lotas, plates. Also donate money equal to cost of given item (ie If give Rp. 300 box of sweets, then also give Rp. 300.

***According to Puranas, the best charity is to give a Srimad Bhagavatam to a qualified grhastha vaisnava brahmana. This act will deliver all your ancestors to the spiritual world and award them the association of Lord Purusottama!***

SPECIFIC VRATA BREAKING ACTIONS

If you ate fruits, ghee, rice, wheat etc., donate the same to brahmanas.

If you slept on the floor, give a bed and pillows to a brahmana.

If you ate on a leaf plate, feed brahmanas with ghee and sugar.

If you didn’t cut nails or hair, donate a mirror to a brahmana.

If you offered ghee lamps, give new lamps and pots to a brahmana

***If you broke any rules or regulations during Purusottama vrata, feed different sweet juices to brahmanas.

***Mahadeva Lord Siva says that the best charity is to: “Fill a bell metal pot with thirty malpuas (a pancake like sweet), bind the pot with seven new threads and give to a worthy brahmana.”

Comment: many humble niskincana Vaisnavas have no money or sufficient wealth to donate substantially to brahmanas. But according to your means, donate some laksmi or a new object to a qualified person, begging for his mercy and blessings. And in your mind, (manasi-seva), you can sincerely donate generously to many good devotees.

Remember that shastras say, bhava grahi janardana, Bhagavan Sri Krishna is pleased with the purity and sincerity of one’s attitude, mood of love and purity of purpose. Try your best to break your vow by donating something within your means.

May Giridhari Syama bless you all with full success in your Purusottama Month Vrata, being performed solely for the divine pleasure of Sri Guru, Gauranga and Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.

Purusottama month vrata ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!