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.”

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 )
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:
Is there a soul that cannot learn from thee
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!!
Of 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?

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.


Anonymous said…

When one candle lights other candles, they all burn with the same intensity. Still, the first one may be said to be the original candle. In the same way, although so many Personalities of Godhead may expand from Him, Govinda is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. I adore that primeval Lord Govinda. (Brahmā-Saṃhitā 5.45)


गो gó [go]:

वीन् vîn (vi-√ in, or inv):

न्व् inv:

इन् in:

द da:
Anonymous said…
The word गो gó (go) is so beautifully multivalent (has many layers of meaning); take for instance, the word góṣu and its root गम् (gam):

गम् gam, see:



गो gó [go]:

See góṣu-√ gam.
Prem Prakash said…
It amazes me the extent to which so many allow themselves to be distracted by doctrinal differences.
Anonymous said…

Yes Prem Prakash; clothed in the light of the ocean of consciousness (śvetadvīpaṃ), we are one. Take refuge brother.


Brihad Bhagavatamrita - Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī

Chapter 7 - Jagad-ānanda

Verse 2.7.94-95

śriyaḥ kāntāḥ kāntaḥ parama-puruṣaḥ kalpa-taravo
drumā bhūmiś cintāmaṇi-gaṇa-mayī toyam amṛtam
kathā gānaṃ nāṭyaṃ gamanam api vaṃśī priya-sakhī
cid-ānandaṃ jyotiḥ param api tad āsvādyam api ca
sa yatra kṣīrābdhiḥ sarati surabhībhyaś ca su-mahān
nimeṣārdhākhyo vā vrajati na hi yatrāpi samayaḥ
bhaje śvetadvīpaṃ tam aham iha golokam iti yaṃ
vidantas te santaḥ kṣiti-virala-cārāḥ katipaye
Anonymous said…

śvetadvīpaṃ = "Bathing in the ocean of consciousness clothed in light."
Anonymous said…

श्वेत (śvetá):

द्वीप (dvīpá):
Unknown said…
Dear Jagadananda Prabhu

Pranam to Your lotus feet, Jetu Maharaja.

I read with interest your comments about Gadadhar Pran Das and the material that he presents and am very glad to read of your support of him.

I have just returned home after making the trip to India and staying with Gadadhar at the Gadai Gauranga Kunja and, as a committed and practicing Vaisnava, I have to say that I have found the time with him extremely rewarding. I had been corresponding with Gadadhar for a year or two now and made the trip to India to spend some time with him to pursue the teachings in more depth.

As you know from your stays with him, the daily routine at the kunja consists of rising at 3am to perform japa, ahead of a day spent studying works by the Vaisnava saints and acaryas as well as Gadadhar's own written works, interspersed with discussions, reading time sitting under the trees and taking swims in the Ganga River. In particular we spent time reading and reciting in song the Stavaraj by Advaita Acarya as well as studying the Govinda Lilamrta.

As a Vaisnava practicing the madhurya rasa form of worship with its related bhavas I find it puzzling that the teachings of Advaita Acarya and Bipin Bihari Goswami (who is Bhaktivinoda Thakur's guru no less) are not included and that Bipin Bihari Goswami's due place in the mainstream sampradaya appears to have been ignored.

With Gadadhar not having access to computer and the internet (as you are aware) I showed him your essay and we both agree that, in response, one may well ask the following pertinent questions of the present day acaryas in mainstream Vaisnava circles.

Are the present day acaryas misinforming the entire Vaisnava world by not accepting Krsna's original worship of kanta-bhava, as expressed in the Srimad Bhagavatam, and Gauranga's original kanta-bhava worship in Navadwip as practiced and preached by His mainstream associates? Indeed, by omitting kanta-bhava in our Krsna and Gauranga worship, can it be that the modern day acaryas are misleading the present day Vaisnava world in a newly formed apasampradaya?

It appears that this issue needs to addressed in the Vaisnava world. Practitioners deserve to have access to the full teachings with regards to kanta-bhava / nagari-bhava as well as manjari-bhava as part of their madhurya rasa sadhana.

Gaura Hari Bol

Ramananda Das

Jagadananda Das said…
Nice to hear from you Ramananda. It probably would be best if Gadadhar had his own website where he could independently promote his mood of worship. At any rate, for the time being, I am only too happy to help.

I think that both of us agree that the problem lies at the very basis, the "kusamskara" related to sexuality. Nobody understands that one can have kama for the Supreme Lord, in whatever form -- Rama, Krishna or Gauranga. Changing that in the current Vaishnava world is very unlikely I am afraid. It may be possible among Westerners, but even there it is likely that there will be prejudices and misunderstandings.

I am glad you enjoyed your stay. I hope that you will continue to be inspired and enjoy bhajan in the mood for which you have been inspired.

Jai Gaur Gadadhar! Jai Radhe Shyam!
Ramananda das said…
Dear Jagadananda

Gadadhar has asked that I submit a response to your essay on his behalf, as he does not have access to the internet as you know.

His post follows.

Thanks very much.

Gaura Hari Bol!

Ramananda Das

Sri Gaurasundar's Main (internal) Worship

Dear Jagadananda

We saw your recent article "Nagari bhava, an apasampradaya in the eyes of the orthodox Gaudiya Vaisnava mood", and we wonder how you could write such a thing? You know of course that nagari bhava is not an apa-sampradaya, it is Sri Gauranga's main internal worship of Navadvipa.

Because there are lots of Vaisnavas who don't know about this form of worship, let me explain about it briefly: The Nadiya nagaris are Gauranga's foremost bhaktas who were previously gopis in Vraja. On one hand, they directly see and take part in Gauranga's most intimate madhura lilas in divine female forms that are arranged by Yogamaya, and on the other, they write about their wonderful experiences for people like you and I to relish and take up.

Caitanya caritamrta gives us some idea about this seva when it depicts the gopis' conjugal union with Krsna as follows:

paripūrṇa-kṛṣṇa-prāpti ei premā haite
ei premāra vaśa kṛṣṇa — kahe bhāgavate
Madhya 8,88

This conjugal love can be called paripūrṇa-kṛṣṇa-prāpti, the complete attainment of Krsna, because the Bhagavatam declares: Krsna becomes completely subjugated by the gopis' kantabhava prema.

In Vrndaban there is a category of sakhis called the manjaris who sidestep Krsna's conjugal union on the plea of uniting Radha with Him. They dedicate themselves to Radha-Krsna's jugal seva instead. But how does Radha outsmart them? She merges with Her Rasika Shyam to become Gauranga nagar. In this way Srimati offers them a jugal seva that they cannot resist! This can be called paripūrṇa kṛṣṇa prāpti with Krsna's paripūrṇa Gauranga svarupa.

After researching this topic for 30 years, we compiled a book "Srī Advaita's Stavarāja Part One" based on Sri Advaita Acarya's teachings in His Stavaraj. Herein we discuss Nadiya nagari bhava in a comparative study with the Rupanuga bhakti process of Vrindaban. Those who may wish to read this book can get a copy by writing to Ramananda das at, who will forward it to your email address.

Gadadhar pran das
Jagadananda Das said…
It is an apasampradaya to the majority of Gaudiya Vaishnavas. That is what Gadadhar is fighting against. I am on his side. He should know that. But his direct statements are welcome. Jai Radhe.
Anonymous said…

What is the reason that Nagari Bhava is rejected in the Gaudiya Vaishnavism? i usually heard that the attack towards the apasampradayas that Srila Bhaktisiddhantha established (where the Nagari bhava is included) was an instruction from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. is this really true? and if it is true, Why Bhaktivinoda did this? meanwhile Srila Jagannath Das Babaji was a Siddha that in his Bhajan he follow this mood of nadiya nagari?
Dasanudasa said…
What is the position of the current descendants of the Gadadhara Parivar on this subject of Nagari Bhava?
Jagadananda said…
My opinion is that Bhaktivinoda Thakur saw the need for a homogeneous concept of Gaudiya orthodoxy and orthopraxy and felt that its strength would come from that. He felt furthermore that the doctrine of the Six Goswams was that unitarian theology. Therefore other moods that were not directly in keeping with the mood of Rupa and Raghunath were rejected as apasampradayas, even though they were legitimized by Mahaprabhu's own associates.

There is fundamentally not a problem. There are very few people who understand Rupa Goswami, but he provides a template into which all devotional moods can fit.

As to what the followers of Gadadhar parivar follow these days, I have no great clear concept. Satyanarayana Dasaji follows Haridas Shastri who is initiated in a branch of the Gadadhar line. They do not seem to worship the Nabadwip Nagara mood, but they don't deny it.

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