(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 17 November 2013, Mayapur, India, Rasapurnima, Srimad Bhagavatam 10.33.19)
Question: It is pretty clear to me, from studying Srila Prabhupada’s books, that the way we access Krsna lilas is – as sometimes Prabhupada would say in his purports – to give our lives to the mission. But, as the times goes on, it seems to be more and more appeal for people to try to go to Radha-kund to find out who they are. Could you say something on this?
There are two elements that are relevant to us in relation to rasa-lila. One is by going abroad, bringing many others to the lotus feet of Krsna and ultimately to this wonderful world that the Lord is displaying. The other is our own internal life – going deep and trying to understand Krsna’s pastimes in Kuruksetra, in Dvaraka and in Vrindavan; in all the five rasas. These two go hand-in-hand.
Dedicating ourselves to the mission is not just a matter of running around at neck-breaking speed, trying to reach as many conditioned souls as possible but also we need to ourselves go deep in our dedication.
Ultimately, the depth in our dedication will come from the example of the eternal associates of Krsna, particularly in Vraja. Like that, we are not boycotting these pastimes and we are also not boycotting Radha-kund, which is undoubtedly the most sacred place in the universe, where these pastimes took place.
Unfortunately, by some arrangement of Krsna, there is a group of vaisnavas who reside at Radha-kund, who are diametrically opposed to the siddhanta of Brahma-Madhva-gaudiya vaisnava sampradaya.
There is a conflict in siddhanta and their approach to rasa-lila is basically that at a very early stage one begins to meditate on these eternal pastimes. Now, we are hearing a little bit as spectators from a distance but a higher level is when one is realized of his own eternal identity and then one can enter into these pastimes. In that approach, the desire is there to meditate and place oneself within these pastimes and thus experience exchanges with Krsna. Now, one can do so on the mental platform, just by thinking about it, “Imagine I was there, imagine I was a gopi, imagine that Krsna would pull my veil, imagine what would come next…” I think that we are then really imagining a lot! And I think our imagination will bring us into the hot water, not to Radha-kund!
Rather, we should have the patience to wait until siddha-deha, or the eternal identity, becomes revealed, simply in the course of chanting Hare Krsna and devotional service.
In the writings of our acaryas such as Bhaktivinoda Thakur, there is a reference to siddha-pranali, a process where one is initiated by a superior vaisnava into his eternal identity. We find it in the Caitanya Caritamrita where Svarup Damodar Gosvami was given in charge of Raghunath das Gosvami by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, that he was guiding Raghunath das Gosvami in these rasas of antaranga-seva or serving according to his eternal identity.
In Jaiva dharma and in Harinama Cintamani as well, we also find descriptions by Bhaktivinod Thakur about siddha-pranali where a superior vaisnava is revealing the eternal identity to another. Sometimes devotees want to go to Radha-kund to look for siddha-pranali, look for a vaisnava who can give them some mantras which reveal their eternal identity.
However, in the teachings of our sampradaya there are two ways in which one can attain his siddha-deha. One is through automatic revelation and the other one is through a process of siddha-pranali, a process of conscious cultivation under guidance of a senior vaisnava.
It is mentioned that Svarup Damodar Gosvami was instructing both Raghunath das Gosvami and Gopal-guru Gosvami. But Raghunath das Gosvami was being instructed in the process of automatic revelation and Gopal-guru Gosvami in the process of conscious cultivation. So we see that in our sampradaya, it is said that for devotees who are prema-rurukshu, approaching prema, meaning that they are situated on a very advanced platform, for them it is maybe appropriate to take on a bona-fide siddha-pranali. Then there is also a process where that is just automatically revealed, in the process of chanting and serving the holy name through the disciplic succession.
We see that particularly Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur and Srila Prabhupada are emphasizing more the automatic process – just serve, just chant Hare Krsna and everything will be revealed and that is really what we should stick with! That is where our loyalty should be. It is about chastity – we should not jump over and go shopping at the spiritual marketplace of Vrindavan. We should just remain very chaste at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada. Then we have the best – there is nothing better! Anyone who thinks that maybe somewhere else there is something better is missing the best – shelter at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada.