Sri Radha Govinda, Amsterdam NL

Sri Radha Govinda, Amsterdam NL
Sri Radha Govinda, Amsterdam NL (Personal Deities)

26 October 2011

Why We Follow Rupa Gosvami -- or what it takes to be a guru

Today is Diwali in Jaipur and Mangalarati was absolutely mobbed. I have never seen such a crowd at the Govindadev Temple. You had to fight the waves of people to get anywhere close to the darshan barriers. It reminded me of the story I was reading just yesterday in Krsna Book; when Krsna and Balarama met the inhabitants of Vrindavana at Kurukshetra during the solar eclipse. At that time Krsna asked Srimati Radharani to come to his capital Dvaraka with him but she refused. She, and the gopis and the rest of the Vrajavasis had no desire to be with Krsna among his royal entourage of servants, advisors, ministers, ambassadors, other minor kings, brahmanas, sages, petitioners, commanders, troops, chariots, elephants, horses, and the rest of the formal clatter. They wanted to be with Krsna in the village and forests of Vrindavana. In fact it says in Krsna Book:

“In spite of their long separation, the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, the gopīs, were not interested in the idea of going with Kṛṣṇa to His capital city, Dvārakā. They wanted to remain busy in Vṛndāvana and thus feel the presence of Kṛṣṇa in every step of their lives. They immediately invited Kṛṣṇa to come back to Vṛndāvana. This transcendental emotional existence of the gopīs is the basic principle of Lord Caitanya's teaching. The Ratha-yātrā Festival observed by Lord Caitanya is the emotional process of taking Kṛṣṇa back to Vṛndāvana. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī refused to go with Kṛṣṇa to Dvārakā to enjoy His company in the atmosphere of royal opulence, but wanted to enjoy His company in the original Vṛndāvana atmosphere. Lord Kṛṣṇa, being profoundly attached to the gopīs, never goes away from Vṛndāvana, and the gopīs and other residents of Vṛndāvana remain fully satisfied in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.”

Then I remembered Rupa Gosvami’s famous verse he wrote at Puri, the verse Caitanya Mahaprabhu found rolled up in the thatched roof of Haridas Thakur’s hut. That’s the verse that explained the entire situation. Upon reading it Mahaprabhu was so moved he even mildly slapped Rupa with his lotus hand. Later he confided in Svarupa Damodar wondering how it was possible for Rupa to understand his mind. To which Svarupa Damodar replied that it was only possible for one who had received Mahaprabhu’s special mercy. Here it is:

priyaḥ so 'yaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ saha-cari kuru-kṣetra-militas
tathāhaṁ sā rādhā tad idam ubhayoḥ saṅgama-sukham
tathāpy antaḥ-khelan-madhura-muralī-pañcama-juṣe
mano me kālindī-pulina-vipināya spṛhayati

[This is a verse spoken by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.] "My dear friend, now I have met My very old and dear friend Kṛṣṇa on this field of Kurukṣetra. I am the same Rādhārāṇī, and now We are meeting together. It is very pleasant, but still I would like to go to the bank of the Yamunā beneath the trees of the forest there. I wish to hear the vibration of His sweet flute playing the fifth note within that forest of Vṛndāvana."

This kind of jewel is worth collecting. This is cintamani, transcendental touchstone. Rupa Gosvami, he’s our leader not because he pretended to be the exalted person he is but because he understood Mahaprabhu’s mind. Srila Prabhupada adds a nice personal touch for those of us who find it difficult be sincere about our struggle for purification:

“We had the opportunity to receive a similar blessing from Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī when we presented an essay at his birthday ceremony. He was so much pleased with that essay that he used to call some of his confidential devotees and show it to them. How could we have understood the intentions of Śrīla Prabhupāda?”