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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

In 6 verses (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.291-296), Sri Rupa Goswamipada teaches the main principles and practices of raganuga-bhakti. After learning these at the feet of my teacher, we wrote this article about cultivating manjari/gopi bhava as a handmaiden, dasi manjari of Srimati Radharani.  

A raganuga sadhaka pursuing the madhurya-rati of Sri Krishna’s ragatmika devotees in Vrndavana will mainly concentrate on the different sevas and feelings of a few manjaris. The supreme goal of a sadhaka manjari is the happiness and pleasure of Sri Radha, and Her beloved Sri Krishna.

Gaudiya Vaisnava sastra mention over 150 different sevas of the manjaris. The sadhaka will read about the different sevas performed by the manjaris Sri Rupa, Tulasi (Raghunatha Dasa Goswami), Vinoda-vallari (Visvanatha Cakravarti), and Campaka (Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura), and as described in Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi. While meditating on Radha-Krishna’s eternal Vraja-lilas, the raganuga sadhaka will think, “I am serving, assisting, and helping Radharani along with these manjaris and my Guru sakhi manjari.”

The sadhaka can also think, “I am meditating on all these different sevas. But sometimes I am all alone with Sri Radha or with others. I am taking the lead and personally doing all these wonderful sevas for Radhika’s pleasure throughout the day and night (asta-kaliya-lila).”

While reading about the sevas and interactions of the four manjaris mentioned about, I will observe and relish their feelings and intimate loving exchanges with Radhika, Krishna and one another. I will personally identify with those feelings as being my own, or at least what I am aspiring to attain. 

Being Radha’s kinkari or loving manjari, I possess tad-tad bhavecchatmika bhava or devotion. This means I only desire to identify with, nourish, and experience the quality but never the quantity of the ecstatic feelings i.e. bhava that Sri Radhika relishes within Her heart during Her intimacies with Syama. I share Radha’s feelings but not Her enjoyment.

As Radha’s confidential manjari, I am also bhava-tadatmya, which means I am one in feelings and thoughts with Radhika. Radha is in my heart and I am in Hers. This is my natural svabhava, the very way I am. Whatever Radha feels produces the thoughts of what Radha needs, which immediately manifest in my mind as I carefully focus at every moment on perfectly serving and pleasing my Pranesvari Sri Radha. Thus Radha never has to tell me what to do because I already know.

Radha’s anxieties and needs are all that matters to me, and not the bliss and incredible transcendental ecstasy that automatically arises by attending to Swamini. Radha is the sole mistress of my life. I am totally made of service. I exist only to serve and please Radha throughout the day. Radha’s joy is my joy—Radha’s distress is my distress.

“O Radha! I am Yours! I am Yours! I cannot live without You. So please understand this and bring me to Your lotus feet.”

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!  Sri Sri Sita Advaita Prabhu ki jai! Sri Gurudeva ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The practice of receiving details about one’s eternal, spiritual body or siddha deha i.e. siddha pranali from the spiritual master began 500 years ago in the beginning of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya.

Sri Caitanya’s eternal associate Vakresvara Pandit gave siddha pranali to Gopala Guru Gosvami who in turn gave it to Dhyanacandra Goswami. (“Dhyanacandra Paddhati”) Sri Gopal Bhatta Gosvami gave siddha pranali to the famous padakarta, Srinivasa Acarya (“Prema Vilasa” chapter 6)

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada also accepted siddha-pranali from his Guru. In his book, “Sankalpa Kalpadruma”, Cakravartipada mentions the siddha dehas of his Guru and the other members of his lineage as Tulasi-manjari, Ranga-manjari and Prema-manjari.

The three most prominent acarya Gurus in the parampara of IGM (Iskcon/Gaudiya Math)—Jagannatha das Babaji, Sri Gaura Kishora das Babaji, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and also Sri Vamsi das Babaji—ALL RECEIVED SIDDHA PRANALI from their Gurus.

In fact, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura fully endorsed the system of siddha pranali diksa. He gave it to his youngest son, Sri Lalita Prasada Thakura, who in turn gave it to several western disciples of Srila Prabhupada. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura clearly describes the practice of receiving siddha pranali diksa from Guru in three of his most famous books, “Harinama Cintamani”, “Jaiva Dharma, and Gitavali, which are very popular with members of IGM.

So how can anyone say receiving siddha pranali from one’s Guru is “bogus” “unauthorized” or “a practice of sahajiyas”?

The phrase siddha-pranali means “siddha” i.e. the spiritual body or siddha deha, and “pranali” means a lineage, channel or line. Siddha-pranali means the line or list of the Gurus in one’s lineage, along with their siddha dehas in Radha-Krishna’s eternal pastimes in Goloka Vrndavana, beginning with the patriarch or founder of one’s individual parivara, which means family or branch of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya like Nityananda Parivara, Advaita Parivara, Gadadhara Parivara, Lokanatha (Narottama), Syamananda etc.

For example, in Krishna lila, Sri Nityananda Prabhu’s eternal transcendental form is Srimati Ananga Manjari, the younger sister of Srimati Radharani. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is Kamala Manjari. In a letter to a disciple, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said his manjari siddha deha name in Krishna lila is Nayana-mani manjari.

In the siddha-pranali system, the Guru privately tells a qualified disciple the 11 aspects of his siddha deha known as ekadasa-bhava, which include the disciple’s eternal spiritual name in Krishna lila, age, dress, seva, kunja, mood, sakhi group leader like Laltia or Visakha, and so on. As learned from his own Guru, Sri Guru then teaches the disciple the same method to realize his/her eternal spiritual identity, siddha deha.

One’s pranali includes the siddha deha identities of each Guru in one’s individual parivara. The disciple then meditates on one’s own and their forms while mentally serving Radha-Krishna’s eternal asta-kaliya-lilas in Vraja Dhama.

In “Nectar of Devotion” (chapter 16), Srila Prabhupada says, “The so-called siddha-pranali process is followed by the prakrta sahajiya, a pseudo-sect of so-called Vaisnavas.”

However, if one examines all the evidence given above, one might wonder who are these “sahajiyas” that Srila Prabhupada is talking about? Surely, it can’t mean Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada or any of the famous Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas mentioned above. In fact, the following conversation downloaded from I-net seems to prove that Srila Prabhupada actually approved of the siddha-pranali system, wherein the Guru gives the siddha deha to a qualified disciple.

In 1974, Mayapur ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada had the following most revealing talk with Sri Hrishikesananda das, a scholarly disciple of his who studied Gaudiya Vaisnavism in Vrndavana in the 70s. Today, he lives in Thailand sincerely practicing Krishna consciousness, and lovingly caring for his devotee family.

Srila Prabhupada: What you have learned in Vrndavana?

Hrishikesananda das: Gurudeva, I learned about Krishna’s nitya Vraja lila, siddha-pranali, and asta-kaliya-lila smaranam. Is this alright, Gurudeva?

Srila Prabhupada: YES, but who is siddha?

HD: So, Srila Prabhupada, what about siddha-pranali? How to qualify? Who will give it?

Srila Prabhupada: GURU WILL GIVE [siddha-pranali]. You just chant Hare Krishna.

HD: So how will your disciples receive this eternal information, Gurudeva?

Srila Prabhupada: [repeats] GURU WILL GIVE! There is no material consideration about whether one’s Guru is here or there [in the spiritual sky]. When you reach that level, GURU WILL GIVE.

HD: Gurudeva, manasi-seva, mentally meditating on serving Krishna, is this also bhakti bhajan?

Srila Prabhupada: Krishna makes no distinction [whether you serve in your mind or with your body]. But if you serve Krishna by mind—He will accept. That is sure!

HD: Gurudev, whenever I mention anything about these things to my God brothers, they get angry and say that you never taught that!

Srila Prabhupada: [That’s ok] Everything is coming; they will also know it.

So this is the exact and clear truth about the siddha-pranali process along with supporting facts describing its origin, authenticity and acceptance by all the leading mahajanas of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya beginning with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s eternal associates, the six Gosvamis and contempory Gurus like Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Prabhupada.

It is hoped that this knowledge will enlighten everyone regarding the truth about siddha-pranali. Henceforward, may no one malign those sincere devotees practicing this traditional method of sadhana bhajan.

It is certainly unbecoming, unfair, immature, and offensive to wrongly tag or label sincere devotees as “sahajiyas” or “bogus” for following a completely bonafide system of spiritual advancement within the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya.

Gaudiya Vaisnava harmony ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!