Nadia Nagari bhava, a bonafide Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition
I left Birnagar yesterday, a day early, because of worries that on Wednesday there will be a disruptive widespread politically motivated strike. This is an unpleasant feature of life in India.
The other day I made a quick visit to see Gadadhar before leaving. On my return to Birnagar, I had a bit of an argument with Harigopal Dasji, since he and Gadadhar don't see eye-to-eye on many issues. As a matter of fact, it is quite clear that Gadadhar is a complete outlier. Nobody, not the Radha Kund guardians of Gaudiya Vaishnava orthodoxy, what to speak of the Gaudiya Math and ISKCON, and not even our own goṣṭhī leave any wiggle room on what is acceptable -- mañjarī bhāva in Golok Vrindavan is the only permissible goal, and kāntā-bhāva (here and here) and Gaura-nāgara bhāva are considered apasampradāyas, and no distinction is made between them and the Sahajiyās or Bauls..
Poor Gadadhar Pran is mad for Gaura in Nabadwip lila, the Gaura that was seen by the Nabadwip Nagaris. And what can he do? He is vilified and rejected by everyone, including his own godbrothers. I am probably one of the only people in the world who listens to him. In fact, I accept his logic, though I can see that he is pushing it in some places. Nevertheless, his discovery and highlighting of the connection to Vishnupriya Devi through Vamsivadanananda, and his giving importance to the dīkṣā-sampradāya and its connection to Mahaprabhu's original associates, especially the participants in the Nabadwip lila, are to me valid beyond a doubt.
Gadadhar says, "The dīkṣā-guru gives a specific relation to the original founders of our sampradāya -- Chaitanya, Nityananda, Adwaita Prabhu, Gadadhar AND the bhakta-vrinda, the Parshads of Mahaprabhu, sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam. Those who get stuck on the present-day guru, and especially those who get all worked up about him being nitya-siddha are misled. The nitya-siddhas are Mahaprabhu's companions.-- gaurāṅgera saṅgī gaṇe nitya siddha kari māne. It is that connection that has been lost and rendered the meaning of dīkṣā-sampradāya moot."
This is the whole point of the Caritāmṛta's chapters on the Caitanya-prema-kalpa-vṛkṣa and all its branches and subbranches (Ādi 10-13), as well as the many Śākhā-nirṇaya, Vaiṣṇava-vandanās, Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, etc.It seems that everyone has become very narrow in their views and only the Vrindavan bhāva of Rupa and Raghunath is acceptable. Everyone else is an apasampradāya.
I said to Gadadhar as he lamented the fact that no one else had a taste for this bhāva, or at least they were few and far between and diminishing. Just a few like Sachi Dulal Baba. But for everyone else, loving Mahaprabhu in that way is considered horrendous. Kāntā-bhāva is considered to be awful and horrible also. Poor Gadadhar, he has no one. And though he gives his life to his bhajan, there is no one who takes his side. Like one person said on the internet the other day, "It is just one step too far for me." But at least that is not the kind of nindā that predominates everywhere, especially in the Gaudiya Math and its offspring.
I told Gadadhar that he had no choice but to maintain his niṣṭhā. The other day I read in CC Madhya 15 the story of Mahaprabhu testing Murari Gupta who was devoted to Rama. He could not give up Rama, so Mahaprabhu praised him as being an incarnation of Hanuman. Similarly, Anupam, Rupa and Sanatan's brother could not give up the worship of Rama. For that he was not rejected, but appreciated for his unswerving devotion to his own niṣṭhā. But there is no one who will praise Gadadhar for his bhāva in this place. Here is that full story: Mahaprabhu said:
I once tried to tempt Murari Gupta repeatedly by telling him of Vrajendra-kumar’s supreme sweetness. I said, Krishna is the Bhagavan himself, the origin of all other forms of God and resting place of all. He is pure spotless prema, and the object of all forms of love. He is like the ocean giving forth the gems of all the virtues. He is expert in love, clever and sober, the topmost relisher of the rasas. Krishna’s character is very sweet and his pastimes are the same. He enjoys the pleasures of his pastimes with flair and dexterity. You should worship Kṛṣṇa and take shelter of him. Let not the worship of any other deity appeal to your mind.
He heard from me in this way repeatedly until finally, by out of respect for me, his mind was converted a little. He told me, “I am your servant and I obey your orders. I am not independent.”The other day was Haridas Thakur's niryāṇa-mahotsava. After we read the CC Antya 11, I read Bhaktivinoda Thakur's poems on Haridas's samādhi, subtitled "A Saragrahi Vaishnava" that I published here a few days ago. The Thakur there says:
After this, he went home and spent the whole night thinking how he could give up Lord Raghunath. This disturbed him greatly and he began to pray, “How can I give up Lord Ramachandra’s lotus feet? Oh Lord! Please take my life tonight!” He thus cried throughout the night. His mind found no peace and he remained awake the entire night. In the morning he came to see me. He caught hold of my feet and tearfully submitted an appeal. “I have sold my head to Raghunath’s the lotus feet. I cannot withdraw it, for that would give me too much pain. I cannot give up Raghunath’s lotus feet, but I also cannot disobey you. What should I do? O compassionate one, be merciful to me: Let me die in front of you so that all my doubts can come to an end.”
I became very happy on hearing this. I lifted Murari from the ground and embraced him. I said, “Sadhu sadhu, Murari! Your worship is firmly fixed, even my order could not redirect your mind. I want that my servants should have such love for the Lord’s lotus feet. Even if the Lord rejects him, a devotee cannot give up his shelter. I wanted to test your faith and so I tried so many times to tempt you to change your object of worship. Indeed, you are the incarnation of Hanuman, Lord Rama’s eternal servant. Why should you give up the worship of his lotus feet?” Murari Gupta is my life. When I hear of his humility, it perturbs my very life. (CC Madhya 15.137-157 )
Is there a soul that cannot learn from theeOf course, when it comes to leaving Islam for the sake of Vaishnavism, then one can say such things, but what of within the scope of Chaitanya Vaishnavism itself? Is there no room for different moods, when that seems to be a fundamental principle of Chaitanya's teachings?
That man must give up sect for God?-
That thoughts of race and sect can ne'er agree
With what they call Religion broad?
Thy love of God and brother soul alone
Bereft thyself of early friends,-
Thy softer feelings oft to kindness prone
Led on thyself for higher ends!!
Moreover, the Bhagavata says:
śraddhāṁ bhāgavate śāstre'nindām anyatra cāpi hi
"Have faith in the Bhagavata scripture, but do not blaspheme the others." (11.3.26)
harir eva sadārādhyaḥ sarva-deveśvareśvaraḥ |
itare brahma-rudrādyā nāvajñeyāḥ kadācana ||
Hari is our worshipable deity, he is the god above all other gods. But Lord Brahma, Rudra and the other gods are never to be disesteemed." (Padma-purana BhaktiS 106)If that is the case with others, then how much more so it must be for the different methods of worshiping Mahaprabhu. At any rate, I find that Gadadhar has been more than convincing in his argumentation. I suggest looking at the three links given to kanta bhajan above.
The problem comes down to squeamishness about the erotic nature of our bhajan, madhura-rasa.