A Review & Philosophical Analysis
By Sriman Yasodanandana dasa, 1996
Srila Prabhupada is a pure devotee always, being an eternally liberated associate of the Lord.
He did not have a material past at any time. Being an associate of Lord Sri Krsna, he is properly understood to never have been contaminated by matter. As we knew him, his so called material body was not at all material. Heat, cold, happiness and distress, hunger and thirst, birth, disease, old age, and death never touched him.
It is not correct that he felt or suffered these mundane influences and pains in a mood of tolerance. He never even felt them, according to the scriptures.
ATTACHED TO MATTER
There are two types of pure devotees: (1) the neophyte pure devotee (sadhaka), and (2) the perfect pure devotee (parishat).
“Such pure devotees are of two types: personal associates (parishats) and neophyte devotees (sadhakas). PURPORT: Perfect servitors are considered His personal associates, whereas devotees endeavoring to attain perfection are called neophytes.”C.C. Adi 1.64
“Generally, ever-liberated personalities live in the spiritual world as associates of Lord Krsna, and they are known as Krsna-parishada, associates of the Lord. Their only business is enjoying Lord Krsna’s company; even though such eternally liberated persons come within this material world to serve the Lord’s purpose, they enjoy Lord Krsna’s company without stoppage.”
C.C. Madhya 12.l5
This chapter will only be discussing a parishat pure devotee – His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. As the bonafide spiritual master, He is described as such in The Gurvastakam prayers:
“Nikunja-yana rati-keli siddhayi…The spiritual master is expert in assisting the gopies within the groves of Vrndavana.“Shakshad-hari tvena samasta-shastraih…He is directly as good as the Supreme Lord on account of being the most confidential servitor of the Lord.”
Gurvastka, #6, 7
The Lord’s associate is also described as a nitya-siddha.
“Nitya-siddha bhakta indicates the eternally liberated associate of the Lord. Such devotees enjoy the company of the Lord in four relationships.”C.C. Madhya 6.12
Even if Srila Prabhupada was sadhanasiddha, there would be no difference between himself and a nitya-siddha devotee:
“A nitya-siddha is one who is eternally Krsna’s associate (like Nanda and Mother Yasoda), an expansion of Krsna’s personal body, whereas a sadhanasiddha is an ordinary human being who, by executing pious activities and following regulative principles of devotional service, also comes to that stage.”S.B. 10.8.48
But Srila Prabhupada has written purports in His books, Wherein He compares himself with nitya-siddhas. In one letter to Tamal Krsna Gosvami, Srila Prabhupada spoke of the qualification of the nitya-siddha, and then stated that he possessed those qualifications:
“And another [spiritual master] is nitya-siddha, who is never forgetful of Krsna throughout his whole life…So far my present life is concerned, I do not remember any part of my life when I was forgetful of Krsna.”Letter to Tamal Krsna, June 1970, from Los Angeles
The associate of the Supreme Lord is also described as mahabagavata:
“Everywhere he immediately sees manifest the form of the Supreme Lord.” PURPORT – Due to deep ecstatic love for Krsna, the mahabhagavata sees Krsna everywhere, and nothing else. This is confirmed in Brahma Samhita: Premantana cchurita bhakti vilocanena.”C.C. Madhya 8.274
Srila Prabhupada has directly stated his status as mahabhagavata:
“Such neophytes, unable to appreciate the exalted service of the advanced devotee, try to bring the mahabhagavata to their platform. We experience such difficulties in propagating this Krsna consciousness all over the world. Unfortunately, we are surrounded by neophyte Godbrothers…they simply try to bring us to their platform.NOI, P. 64
His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada was never affected by the material modes of nature, which include the contaminations of happiness and distress, heat and cold, hunger and thirst, etc. His body was not made of the material elements; when he sometimes said otherwise, that was to accomplish his own purposes in the advancement of his disciples. His body was spiritual. In a letter to Madhusudana in 1968, Srila Prabhupada said that his body was not his true form, but he also said that it was spiritual, nevertheless. He made the comparison of spirit being gold, and his body being gold-plated. The associate of the Lord, when he comes to this material world, either as nitya-siddha or sadhanasiddha, does not have to experience and tolerate pain. He is of the same quality as Lord Krsna in this regard:
“Even though he appears to be in the material world, he is not affected by the miseries of the material world…Those who are sadhavah, or devotees engaged in Krsna consciousness in the transcendental service of the Lord, do not feel the contamination of material miseries, whereas those who are not devotees in Krsna consciousness actually feel the miseries of material existence.”S.B. 3.25.24
“A pure devotee of the Lord does not live on any planet of the material sky, nor does he feel any contact with the material elements. His so-called material body does not exist, being surcharged with the spiritual current of the Lord’s identical interest, and thus he is permanently freed from all contaminations of the sum total of the mahat-tattva.
Being freed from this material nature is the primary meaning of the qualitative oneness with the Lord (saksad-hari) which the pure devotee has realized.
“As the Lord is not affected by the modes of material nature, so a pure devotee of the Lord is also not affected by the modes of nature. That is the primary qualification of being one with the Lord. A person who is able to attain this transcendental qualification is called jivan-mukta, or liberated, even though he is apparently in material conditions.”S.B. 3.4.31
“This is the divinity of the Personality of Godhead. He is not affected by the qualities of material nature, even though he is in contact with them. Similarly, the devotees of the Lord do not become influenced by the material qualities.”
“The Personality of Godhead and His liberated devotees like Narada appear in the material world by the same process. As it is said, in the Bhagavat-Gita, the birth and activities of the Lord are all transcendental…The Lord and his devotees are, therefore, simultaneously one and different as spiritual entities. They belong to the same category of transcendence.”
“The Lord comes to this material world through the agency of His internal potency, and, similarly, when a devotee or associate of the Lord descends to this material world, he does so through the action of the spiritual energy.
Srila Prabhupada’s body has nothing to do with matter. It is spiritual.
“This transcendental body is free from material affinity and invested with three primary transcendental qualities, namely, eternity, freedom from material modes, and freedom from the reactions to fruitive activities. The material body is always afflicted with these three inebrieties. A devotee’s body becomes at once surcharged with the transcendental qualities as soon as he is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. It acts like a magnetic influence of a touchstone upon iron. The influence of transcendental devotional service is like that. Therefore, change of body means stoppage of the reaction of three qualitative modes of material nature upon the pure devotee.”S.B. 1.6.28
The above purport is dealing with the sadhanasiddha. His body “changes” its status. A nitya-siddha always has a spiritual body:
“A pure devotee of the Lord does not live on any planet of the material sky, nor does he feel any contact with the material elements. His so-called material body does not exist, being surcharged with the spiritual current of the Lord’s identical interest, and thus he is permanently freed from all contaminations of the sum total of the mahat-tattva.”S.B. 1.13.55
“Therefore, his body is cin-maya, that is, it is spiritual, not material…”
“According to Hari-bhakti-vilas, therefore, after the disappearance of the acarya, his body is never burnt to ashes, for it is a spiritual body. The spiritual body is always unaffected by natural condition.”
“Therefore, a devotee who engages in the service of the Supreme Lord, and who constantly thinks of Him, should never be considered to have a material body. It is, therefore, enjoined: gurusu naramati – One should stop thinking of the spiritual master as an ordinary human being with a material body.'”
We have humbly endeavored to explain to some small degree, with reference to Srila Prabhupada’s books, the status of His Divine Grace’s so-called “material” body. Yet, the Lilamrta does not tally with these quotations. To write a biography of the pure devotee, telling how the spiritual master is influenced by material elements is similar to writing a description of the Deity in the temple as being a mundane statue.
Srila Prabhupada writes:
“Acarya visnau sila-dhih: everyone knows that the Deity in the temple is made of stone, but to think that the Deity is merely stone is an offense. Similarly, to think that the body of the spiritual master consists of material ingredients is offensive. Atheists think that the devotees foolishly worship a stone statue as God, and an ordinary man as the guru.”S.B. 8.3.2
“One must see things as-they-are, through the mercy of a spiritual master; otherwise, if one tries to see Krsna directly, he may mistake an ordinary man for Krsna, and Krsna for an ordinary man. Everyone has to see Krsna according to the verdict of the Vedic literatures presented by the self-realized spiritual master.”
C.C. Madhya 18.99
The Lilamrta was researched by several disciples who interviewed karmis who think the bonafide spiritual master to be, at least in some respects, an ordinary man.
“Intermingling the spiritual with the material causes one to look on transcendence as material and mundane as spiritual. All this is due to a poor of knowledge.”C.C. Madhya 16.72
The Lilamrta mixes quotes by Srila Prabhupada, neophyte disciples, “blooped” devotees, karmis, and mayavadis. Regarding transcendental literature, His Divine Grace writes:
“He [Krsna das Kaviraja Gosvami] never claims to have written this transcendental literature by carrying out research work…This is the way of describing transcendental literatures, which are never meant for so-called “scholars” or “research workers.”C.C. Madhya 8.312
“To know about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the characteristics of His pure devotee, one must inquire from authorities like Devarshi Narada. One cannot inquire about transcendental subject matters from a laymen.”
“Similarly, if we analyze all our senses in this way, we will find them all to be imperfect. Therefore, it is useless to acquire knowledge from the senses. The Vedic process is to hear from authority.”
C.C. Adi 7.107
“Unless one is personally a realized soul in the science of Krsna consciousness, a neophyte should not approach him to hear about the Lord.”
“It is therefore said, vaisnavera krtya mudra vijna na bhujhaya. A highly advanced Vaisnava lives in such a way that no one can understand what he is or what he was. Nor should attempts be made to understand the past of a Vaisnava.”
The Lilamrta attempts to show that Srila Prabhupada becomes fatigued, goes into ignorance, gets heatstroke, diseased, starves, suffers from old age, has imperfect senses, etc.
“An ignorant person may see that a devotee is acting or working like an ordinary man, but such a person with a poor fund of knowledge does not know that the activities of the devotee or of the Lord are not contaminated by impure consciousness or matter. They are transcendental to the three modes of material nature.B.G., Intro., p. 11
The following pages include some of the Lilamrta’s thoughts, compared to Srila Prabhupada’s thoughts on the same subject, as found in his books.
The Lilamrta claims that Srila Prabhupada over-exerted himself, felt exhausted, and was dead tired:
“Bhaktivedanta Swami’s neighbors observed him coming home dead tired in the evening.Lilamrta Book I, p. 283
“After some time the drive became tiring for Prabhupada.”
Lilamrta Book II, p.259
“The next morning Prabhupada didn’t get up. He was exhausted…For the first time, it became apparent that he was overexerting himself.”
Lilamrta Book II, p.259
The Webster’s Dictionary defines exhaustion as “to tire extremely or completely, as by overwork.” Srila Prabhupada writes in this regard:
“Materially, when a man becomes tired by rendering service to his physical body, he is allowed retirement. But in the transcendental service there is no feeling of fatigue, because it is spiritual service and not on the bodily plane. Service on the bodily plane dwindles as the body grows older, but the spirit is never old and, therefore, on the spiritual plane the service is never tiresome.”S.B. 3.2.3
“There is no question of being tired on the spiritual platform.”
POY, p. 10
The Lilamrta claims that Srila Prabhupada becomes drowsy and dozes.
“He stayed until around eleven o’clock, and then he became drowsy. And the party was over.”Lilamrta II, p.269
“After some time, the drive became tiring for Prabhupada, and he dozed…”
Lilamrta II, p.172
Webster’s Dictionary defines drowsy as “indolent and lethargic”.
His Divine Grace, to the contrary writes:
“Such mahabhagavats, or first-grade devotees, although moving amongst men, are not contaminated by honor or insult, hunger or satisfaction, sleep or wakefulness, which are all resultant actions of the three modes of material nature.”S.B. 1.11.38
“Sleep also means ignorance. Arjuna conquered both sleep and ignorance because of his friendship with Krsna. As a great devotee of Krsna, he could not forget Krsna even for a moment, because that is the nature of a devotee.”
The Lilamrta claims that Srila Prabhupada became unconscious due to heat.
“One day, while delivering BTG to various addresses in the city, Abhay suddenly began reeling, half-unconscious, overcome by the heat.”Lilamrta I, p.194
Srila Prabhupada, to the contrary, writes:
“Because this transcendental position is at once achieved by one who is in Krsna consciousness, the devotee of the Lord is unaffected by the dualities of material existence, namely distress and happiness, cold and heat, etc. This state is practical samadhi, or absorption in the Supreme.”B.G. 6.7
If there appeared to be any such “collapse”, it would not be due to the heat, but rather due to transcendental ecstasy, according to the sastra, and could be understood only by another pure devotee:
“Even a most learned scholar cannot understand the activities and symptoms of an exalted personality in whose heart love of Godhead has awakened.”C.C. Madhya 23.40
“The many external ecstatic symptoms or bodily transformations…are the anubhavas or subordinate ecstatic expressions of love. Some of these are dancing, falling down, and rolling on the ground.”
C.C. Madhya 23.51
The Lilamrta claims that Srila Prabhupada was dangerously old. It says that he was, as are most old men, like a toting father.
“He was making a momentous break with his previous life, and he was dangerously old and not in strong health. And he was going to an unknown and probably unwelcoming country.”Lilamrta I, p. 287
“One boy, Stanley, was quite young, and Prabhupada almost like a doting father, watched over him as he ate.”
Lilamrta II, p. l51
Webster’s Dictionary defines doting as: “1) to be feeble-minded or weak-minded, especially from old age; 2) to show excess or foolish affection or fondness.”
Srila Prabhupada, however, writes:
“My dear king, a devotee who has taken shelter of the dust from the lotus feet of the Lord can transcend the influence of the six material whips – namely, hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age, and death – and he can conquer the mind and five senses.”S.B. 5.1.35
“Another symptom of a liberated person is vijara, which indicates that he is not subjected to the miseries of old age.”
The Lilamrta claims that Srila Prabhupada was starving.
“When Abhay arrived, he appeared very poor, starving, he had no means.”Lilamrta I, p.164
Webster’s Dictionary defines starving as: “to suffer extreme hunger, to perish from lack of food.”
Dhruva Maharaja was so advanced that he only took one breath of air every twelve days, and his strength and happiness increased immeasurably. In transcendental ecstasy. Raghunatha Gosvami ate one slice of butter every alternate day. Queen Kunti fasted without inconvenience for thirty days. Because he was on the same transcendental platform as these great souls, Srila Prabhupada could not have suffered a starving condition. What to speak of Srila Prabhupada, who is the greatest yogi, even mystic yogis who are still siddhi-kami can live without food and not suffer the pangs of starvation.
“…it appears that even if a yogi does not drink a drop of water, he can live for many, many years…”S.B. 7.3.18-19
Srila Prabhupada had no material drives and, therefore, he was never victimized by hunger or any other law of material nature.
“A true brahmana is always satisfied. Even if he has nothing to eat, he can drink a little water and be satisfied….a devotee is always satisfied because he feels the presence of the Supersoul within his heart and thinks of Him twenty-four hours a day…A devotee is never driven by the dictations of the tongue and genitals, and thus he is never victimized by the laws of material nature.”S.B. 7.15.18
The Lilamrta claims that Srila Prabhupada suffered the affliction and great inconvenience of disease, seasickness, and ill health.
“When Abhay was fifteen, he was afflicted with beri beri and his mother, who was also stricken, regularly had to rub a powder of calcium chloride on his legs to reduce the swelling. Abhay soon recovered.”Lilamrta I, pp. 18-19
“He was…not in strong health.”
Lilamrta I, p. 287
“Externally, Srila Prabhupada was experiencing great inconvenience; he had been aboard ship for a month and had suffered heart attacks and repeated seasicknesses.”
Lilamrta II, p. 5
“He had barely survived two heart attacks at sea…”
Lilamrta II, p. 7
However, Srila Prabhupada writes:
“One may argue that we may see a person who is spiritually engaged twentyfour hours a day but is still suffering from disease. In fact, however, he is neither suffering nor diseased; otherwise, he could not be engaged twentyfour hours a day in spiritual activities. Therefore, one who is situated in the spiritual status of life is unaffected by…any superficial dirty things.”S.B. 10.4.20
“The spiritual master or acarya is always situated in the spiritual status of life. Birth, death, disease, and old age do not affect him.”
“If the spiritual master appears to be diseased or invalid, it is for our benefit, and not due to personal mundane imperfection.”
“A Vaisnava is always protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but if he appears to be an invalid, this gives a chance to his disciples to serve him.”
C.C. Adi, 9.11
The Lilamrta speculates that Srila Prabhupada had imperfect senses.
“That morning, Srila Prabhupada, who had perhaps never seen snow, woke and thought that someone had whitewashed the side of the building next door. Not until he went outside did he discover that it was snow.”Lilamrta II, p.43
Unlike the conditioned souls, the liberated soul does not have imperfect senses. His Divine Grace writes:
“Presently, people are so fallen that they cannot distinguish between a liberated soul and a conditioned soul. A conditioned soul is hampered by four defects. He is sure to commit mistakes, he is sure to become illusioned, he has a tendency to cheat others and his senses are imperfect. Consequently, we have to take directions from liberated persons…Because the entire world is now following the imperfect directions of conditioned souls, humanity is completely bewildered.”S.B. 4.18.5
“Mistake, illusion, cheating, and imperfection, which are the flaws of all conditioned souls…The liberated souls are above those flaws.”
“But if one carries out the order of the spiritual master by disciplic succession or the parampara system, he overcomes the four defects.”
“Although a devotee may apparently express himself to be ignorant, he is full of knowledge in every intricate matter.”
Srila Prabhupada’s position is similar to that of Krsna das Kaviraja. So even if Srila Prabhupada had himself told this story, we would not have taken his “imperfect senses” story literally.
“Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami also thinks of himself in such a humble way. I am a worse sinner than Jagai and Madhai, and I am even lower than the worms in stool.’ A pure devotee always thinks himself more deficient than everyone else. If a devotee approaches Srimati Radharani to offer some service to Krsna, even Srimati Radharani thinks that the devotee is greater than she.”S.B. 7.1.27
“It should be concluded, therefore, that the description of Caitanya Caritamrta by Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami manifests specific mercy bestowed upon the author, although he thought himself as the most fallen. We should not consider him fallen because he describes himself as such.”
C.C. Adi 13.1
To think of the spiritual master as having a material body, subject to material defects, is to think of the bonafide spiritual master as fallen.
“The material body is meant for sense enjoyment, whereas the spiritual body engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Therefore, a devotee who engages in the service of the Supreme Lord and who constantly thinks of him, should never be considered to have a material body. It is, therefore, enjoined, “gurusu naramati.” One should stop thinking of the spiritual master as an ordinary human being with a material body.“If one considers the spiritual master an ordinary human being, one is doomed… One may argue by saying that, since the spiritual master’s relatives and men of his neighborhood consider him an ordinary human being, what is the fault on the part of the disciple to consider the spiritual master an ordinary human being?… He Must be accepted as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead…Even a slight deviation from this understanding can create disaster in the disciple’s Vedic studies and austerities.”
SRILA PRABHUPADA DID NOT HAVE MATERIAL EMOTIONS
If one were requested to fully surrender one’s life to a personality who himself becomes baffled, frustrated and discouraged, who is affected by mistakes and failures, who becomes morose when there are unfavorable results, and who can rather easily become shocked or shaken, would you be strongly inclined to surrender yourself to such an individual? If one were further asked to surrender one’s life to a person who shudders at the thought of Krsna taking his money away and who gets embarrassed, bewildered, and perplexed on occasion, and who is enamored by the Lord’s illusory energy (except when his heart cracks upon hearing noises in the n cities), would be strongly inclined to fully surrender himself to such a person?
And if you would and could surrender your life to the person who has the mundane qualities described above, would you be surrendering to a completely realized soul? Not according to the sastra, although the Lilamrta might try to convince you that you were.
His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada has none of the above-mentioned material disqualifications. His mind and emotions are fully spiritual, and are always absorbed in transcendental bliss. Since he is situated on the same platform as Lord Krsna, his mind, emotions and activities are not able to be appreciated by the Lilamrta’s method of mental speculation and direct sense perception on the part of conditioned souls. Such mundane understanding can easily be discarded. Transcendence is not understood, after all, by the ascending process.
“When a man is sleeping, everyone sees that he is present within the room, but actually the man himself is not within the body, for while sleeping a man forgets his bodily existence, although others may see that his body is present. Similarly, a liberated person engaged in devotional service of the Lord may be seen by others to be engaged in the household duties of the material world but, since his consciousness is fixed on Krsna, he does not live within this world. His engagements are different, exactly as a sleeping man’s engagements are different from his bodily engagements.”Krsna, Vol. 3, Chapter 86, “Prayers by the Personified Vedas”
“It is said, ‘Vaisnavera kriyamudra vijne na bujhaya.’ Even the most learned man depending on direct sense perception of knowledge cannot understand the activities of a Vaisnava.'”
C.C. Madhya 7.66
Relying on the mental speculation and clouded memories of devotees (since we are virtually all neophytes), or on ex-devotees and karmis, the spiritual truths can easily be distorted. Some of the tales such people may tell may not even have any truth in them. For example, one devotee, after reading passages of the Lilamrta spoken by Srila Prabhupada’s printer in New Delhi (Mr. Sharma), commented to a research editor of the Lilamrta, “What a nice devotee Mr. Sharma was to have helped Srila Prabhupada like he did.” The research editor replied that Mr. Sharma was not at all that nice, in his estimation. The explanation continued to the effect that, because Srila Prabhupada is now famous, everyone in India wants to say that it was he who helped him. These are not the kinds of people from whom we should hear of the topmost paramahamsa, Srila Prabhupada.
“…glorification of the Lord [from the lips of a non-devotee] is simply a vibration of material sound.”S.B. 4.20.24
“Avaisnava mukhodgirnam…Milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects. Similarly, talks about Krsna given by an avaisnava are also poisonous …when a pure Vaisnava speaks, he speaks perfectly. How is this? His speech is managed by Krsna Himself from within the heart…Non-devotees want to ask the Supreme Lord for sense gratification; therefore, non-devotees come under the influence of maya, the illusory energy. A devotee, however, is directed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and comes under the influence of yogamaya. Consequently, there is a gulf of difference between statements made by a devotee and those made big a nondevotee.”C.C. Madhya 8.200
“Unless one is empowered by the higher authorities or advanced devotees, one cannot write transcendental literature, for all such literature must be above suspicion or, in other words, it must have none of the defects of the conditioned souls, namely mistakes, illusions, cheating and imperfect sense perceptions. The words of Krsna and the disciplic succession that carries the order of Krsna are actually authoritative.”
Even the most significant events are difficult to remember clearly, when such incidents occurred anywhere from five to fifty years previously. Kali-Yuga is notorious for bad memories.
If we want to understand His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, we can do so properly by hearing from he himself.
“There is nothing new to be said. Whatever I had to say, I have already said in my books. Now you must all try to understand it and continue with your endeavors. Whether I am present or not present doesn’t matter.”Srila Prabhupada, BTG, Vol. 13, 1-2
“I’ll always be with you in my books and my orders. I’ll always be with you in that way.”
There appeared in an old BTG a photo-article entitled, “Let Krsna Speak For Himself.” Similarly, we should “Let Srila Prabhupada Speak For Himself.”
The Lilamrta claims that Srila Prabhupada was sometimes materially fascinated by the material energy. First, as a child…
“Sounds and sights of the hackneys, with their large wheels spinning over the road, caught the fascinated attention of [Srila Prabhupada & the other child].”Lilamrta I, p.3
The sastra, however, informs us that the nitya-siddha devotee, even in childhood, is never enamored by matter, because he is always absorbed in rasa with Krsna.
“A nitya-siddha never forgets the service of the Lord. He is always engaged, even from childhood, in worshipping the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”C.C. Madhya 3.167
“For a small boy to give up playing is impossible, but Prahlad Maharaja, being situated in first class devotional service, was always absorbed in a trance of Krsna consciousness. Just as a materialistic person is always absorbed in thoughts of material gain, a maha-bhagavata, like Prahlada Maharaja, is always absorbed in thoughts of Krsna.”
Regarding His Divine Grace’s later life, the Lilamrta claims:
“He sat on the couch while I swept with the vacuum cleaner, and he was so interested in that …”Lilamrta II, p. 16
The sastra, however, informs us that the pure devotee is not interested in matter like the mundane man, because he sees the material varieties as products of nescience, with no real value.
“When one is Krsna conscious, he can realize that material existence, whether one is awake or dreaming, is nothing but a dream and has no factual value.”S.B. 7.7.27
“Being a liberated soul and completely learned, he sees all material varieties as meaningless because their basic principle is nescience…being in such a position, he sees the material world with a different vision.”
“Thus, the devotees of the Lord are never enchanted by the glare of materialistic life, and they live impartially, unattached to the objects of the false, illusory way of life.”
The Lilamrta speculates that Srila Prabhupada was attached to matter.
“In the 88th Chapter of the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, he [Srila Prabhupada] came upon a verse in which Lord Krsna said something that startled him. yasyaham anugrhnami harisye tad-dhanam sanaih tato ‘dhanam tyajantyasye sva-jana dukhi-duhkhitam When I feel especially mercifully disposed towards someone, I gradually take away all his material possessions. His friends and relatives reject this poverty-stricken ant most wretched fellow.’ Abhay shuddered as he read the verse. It seemed to speak directly to him. But what does it mean? Does it mean’, he thought, that Krsna will take away all my money?’ Was that what was actually happening? Was that why his business plans were failing?”Lilamrta I, p. 88
Webster’s Dictionary defines shuddered: “to tremor convulsively; to quiver, shake”.
PRABHUPADA SHUDDERED?The Lilamrta speculates that Srila Prabhupada was attached to matter.
“In the 88th Chapter of the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, he (Srila Prabhupada) came upon a verse in which Lord Krsna said something that startled him: yasyaham anugrhnami harisye tad-dhanam sanaih tato dhanam tyajantyasye sva-jana dukhi-duhkhitam, “When I feel especially mercifully disposed towards someone, I gradually take away all his material possessions. His friends and relatives reject this poverty-stricken and most wretched fellow.” Abhaya shuddered as he read the verse. It seemed to speak directly to him. “But what does it mean? Does it mean”, he thought, “that Krsna will take away all my money?” Was that what was actually happening? Was that why his business plans were failing?”Lilamrta I, p.88
Webster’s Dictionary defines shuddered as: “to tremor convulsively; to quiver or to shake.”
The sastra, however, informs us that the pure devotee only cares for Krsna’s happiness – not any material situation for himself. Krsna’s happiness is his happiness.
“Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that a devotee does not care about his own happiness and distress. He is simply interested in seeing that Krsna is happy, and for that purpose he engages in various activities. A pure devotee has no way of sensing happiness except by seeing that Krsna is happy in every respect. If Krsna becomes happy by giving him distress, such a devotee accepts that unhappiness as the greatest of all happiness.”C.C. Antya 20.52
“Anything sent by God is a blessing for the devotee.”
Being fully surrendered to Krsna, the pure devotee knows that Krsna will take care of him. He never worries about such things.
“The pure devotee is fully surrendered unto the lotus feet of the Lord, and the Lord takes charge of him, as stated in Bhagavad-Gita: “aham tvam sarva papebhyo moksayisyami” (B.G. 18.66). The father knows the necessities of the son and supplies them, and the Supreme Lord knows the necessities of the living entities and supplies them sumptuously.”
One who is concerned about material benefits from Krsna can be a pious man, but he cannot be a pure devotee.
“The word arta refers to one who is physically distressed, and artharthi refers to one who is in need of money…Unless one is pious, one cannot approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, although a pious man may receive some material benefit, one who is concerned with material benefits cannot be a pure devotee.”S.B. 7.10.4
The verse cited by Lilamrta, concerning Krsna’s taking away the wealth of a devotee who is still attached to possessions and society, does not appear to be relevant, because it does not apply to Srila Prabhupada. It applies to the imperfectly realized devotee, who still has material desires.
“If a devotee is not mature, Krsna will take away all his opulence. This principle is sated by the Supreme Personality of Godhead: “Yasyaham anugranami harisye tad-dhanam sanaih.” My first mercy shown to my devotee is to take away all his material opulence.”S.B. 4.30.19
“Yasyaham…This is a special favor of the Lord toward a sincere devotee. If a sincere devotee wants Krsna above everything but, at the same time, is attached to material possessions which hinder his advancement in Krsna consciousness, by tactics the Lord takes away all his possessions.”
PRABHUPADA HAD TO BECOME SETTLED IN DETACHMENT?The Lilamrta claims that Srila Prabhupada was so attached to family life, that he had to become artificially settled in detachment.
“His spiritual emotions were so turbulent that he wasn’t thinking of going to Jhansi. He wanted to take a train to…ANYWHERE.”Lilamrta I, p. 163
“Abhaya spent his time in Jhargram chanting the Holy Name and becoming settled in detachment from his family.”
Ibid., p. 222
PARAMAHAMSA AS HIGHEST PERFECTIONAL STAGE OF LIFEBEYOND ATTACHMENT AND RENUNCIATIONHowever, the sastra states that the nitya-siddha paramahamsa is beyond both attachment and renunciation.
“A sannyasi cannot act like a householder, nor can a householder act like a sannyasi, but above these two kinds of persons, one who engages in material activities and one who renounces…there is a person who is transcendental to both. His is the paramahamsa stage, the highest perfectional stage of life…for a person who has attained this stage, neither the Vedic activities for realizing material enjoyment nor those for renunciation are applicable.”S.B. 4.4.20
PRABHUPADA IN AWE OF HIS TEACHERS?PURE DEVOTEE IS CALLOUS TO INSTRUCTIONS
OF DEMONS AND NON-DEVOTEESThe Lilamrta says that His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada felt mundane awe, admiration, and tension towards and in relation to karmis.
“But to Abhay, Calcutta and the British were not alarming, and he even held a certain fondness for his Scottish teachers. Although he looked up to them with a mixture of awe, distance and some tension, he admired their moral uprightness and their gentlemanly courteous behavior with the boys.”Lilamrta I, p. 24
Webster’s Dictionary defines awe as: “fearful veneration inspired by something sacred.”
The sastra, however, tells us that the pure devotee never has a high regard for atheistic teachers, no matter what their so-called “good qualities” are.
“A devotee does not care for the instructions of the asuras. When they give instructions, he remains silent. A devotee cares about the instructions of Krsna, not those of demons or non-devotees. He does not give any respect to a demon, even though the demon be his father.”S.B. 7.8.5
According to sastra, neither does the pure devotee make bodily distinctions, which are always based on ephemeral high and low positions.
“In the material world, we are situated in designative positions only, but pure devotional service begins when one is freed from all designations. When love of Krsna is awakened, then the designative positions are overcome.”
C.C. Adi 4.31
VISION AND QUALITY OF HIGHLY ADVANCED PERSON
“Those who are highly advanced in spiritual understanding do not care about a person’s material condition. A spiritually advanced person sees the spiritual identity of every living being, and consequently he makes no distinction between a learned brahmana, a dog, a chandala, or anyone else. He is not influenced by the material body, but sees a spiritual identity.”C.C. Madhya 10.54
“Devotees are equal to everyone, seeing no distinction between lower and higher classes. Panditah sama darshinah. They look upon everyone as a spirit soul who is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord…such preachers in Krsna consciousness are called paramahamsas.”
Although respectful to all living entities (B.G. 5.18), a pure devotee doesn’t view karmi teachers as actually being superior or more educated than the others. They are all ignorant, being devoid of Krsna consciousness.
“The Bhaktivedantas are impartial in distributing the transcendental knowledge of devotional service. To them no one is an enemy or friend; no one is educated or uneducated. No one is favorable or unfavorable.”
PRABHUPADA SHOCKED?The Lilamrta speculates that His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada was shocked, shaken, and greatly affected by the hellish conditions of this world, especially in the cities.
“Although Prabhupada’s home had suddenly become an insane terror, the street at its door was also a hellish, dangerous place. He was shaken.”Lilamrta II, p. 95
“America seemed so opulent, yet many things were difficult to tolerate (for Srila Prabhupada). The sirens and bells from fire engines and police cars seemed like they would crack his heart.”
Ibid., p. 37
“Prabhupada moved quickly down the four flights of stairs. He had not stopped to gather up any of his belongings or even to decide where he would go or whether he would return. There had been no time to consider anything. He had taken quite a shock and now he was leaving the arena of David’s madness.”
Ibid., p. 95
Webster’s Dictionary defines shocked as: “a violent shake or jar, a sudden or violent disturbance in the mental or emotional faculties.”
Webster’s Dictionary defines shaken as: “to tremble as a result of physical or emotional disturbance; to experience a state of inability.”
POSITION OF PURE DEVOTEE
NEVER SHAKENSastra, to the contrary, states that heaven or hell are the same for the pure devotee, because he is transcendental to both. He is never shaken, even amidst the greatest difficulty.
“In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness and enjoys himself through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this, he thinks that there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of the greatest difficulty.”B.G. 6.20-23
“…when a man is suddenly shocked by some great loss, he forgets his identification with the gross body…Because of our ignorance of the spiritual body, of which we have no experience, we do not know the activities of the spiritual body, and in ignorance, we jump from one false platform to another. We act sometimes in relation to the gross body and sometimes in relation to the subtle body. If by Krsna’s grace, we act in our spiritual body, we can transcend both the gross and subtle bodies. In other words, we can gradually train ourselves to act in terms of the spiritual body.”
– PURE DEVOTEE ALWAYS SITUATED IN VRINDAVANAThe Lilamrta offers that His Divine Grace was affected by the hellishness of America, to such a degree that he wanted to get away and return to Vrndavana as an escape.
Prabhupada: “Yes, I am not happy here.”
Woman: “Yes, I know.”
Prabhupada: “I shall be happy to return to my Vrindaban, that sacred place…”Lilamrta II, p. 59
But sastra tells us differently, that the pure devotee is always in Vrndavana or Vaikuntha. He is always experiencing Vrndavana or Vaikuntha, and he creates that asmosphere even for others, wherever he goes.
“A devotee engaged in the service of Narayana is always in equilibrium. A devotee actually lives transcendentally. Although he may appear to have gone to heaven or hell, he does not live in either place. Rather, he always lives in Vaikuntha.”S.B. 8.21.32
“A devotee always lives with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, engaging in His service and, therefore, he is always transcendental to hellish or heavenly residences.”
“When that original consciousness is completely spiritual, it is called Krsna consciousness. One who lives in such consciousness is actually living in Vrndavana. He may live anywhere; material location does not matter (to such a pure devotee). When, by the grace of Krsna, one thus advances, he becomes completely uncontaminated by the material body and mind and, at that time, factually lives in Vrndavana.”
C.C. Madhya 8.139
“It does not matter whether one lives in a holy place like Vrndavana…or in the midst of European cities where the materialistic way of life is very prominent. If a devotee follows the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he lives in the company of the Lord. Wherever he lives, he converts that place into Vrndavana or Navadvipa.”
C.C. Madhya 7.129
“The pure devotee lives constantly in the abode of the Supreme Lord, even in the present body, which apparently belongs to this world. The pure devotee is not exactly on the material plane, since he is absorbed in the transcendental thought of the Supreme…He could simultaneously reach the Supreme planet and still appear in the world.”
Sometimes we compare His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada with ourselves. We can think, “Prabhupada is engaged in devotional service, and I am engaged in devotional service. Prabhupada is in Vaikuntha, and I am in Vaikuntha. He says that the temples are Vaikuntha, and I am in the temples.” However, we don’t actually experience Vaikuntha, due to the conditioned covering. We experience all too often our own minds, the sounds on the street, etc. We can think of Vaikuntha as a concept only, and we may not even realize that we are intellectualizing. We are engaged in sadhana-bhakti. However, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada is, and always was, engaged in prema bhakti. Therefore, he actually experiences Vaikuntha.
PRABHUPADA EXPERIENCED SUCCESS
AND FAILURE OF THE VENTURE?The Lilamrta speculates that His Divine Grace deeply felt his successes and failures.
“Only Bhaktivedanta Swami deeply experienced the successes and failures of the venture.”Lilamrta I, p. 267
“I would ask him, “Swamiji, did you have any good contacts?” He would say, Not much today. I didn’t get much and it is depressing. Tomorrow Krsna will give me more details.'”
Ibid., p. 283
SUDDHA BHAKTAPURE DEVOTEE UNATTACHED TO RESULTS OF ACTIVITIES
ALWAYS IN DIRECT CONTACT WITH KRSNA
However, the sastra tells us that the pure devotee, in direct and unadulterated contact with the Supreme Lord at every moment, is not attached to the results of his activities in devotional service.
“The Supreme is the Lord. And, because He Himself is telling Arjuna to fight, Arjuna has nothing to do with the results of the fight. Gain or victory are Krsna’s concern; Arjuna is simply advised to act according to the dictation of Krsna.”B.G. 2.48
“Lord Krsna now directly says that Arjuna should fight for the sake of fighting because He desires the battle. There is no consideration of happiness or distress, profit or gain, victory or defeat in the activities of Krsna consciousness. That everything should be performed for the sake of Krsna is transcendental consciousness, so there is no reaction to material activities. He who acts for his own sense gratification is subject to the reaction, good or bad.”
“But, action in Krsna consciousness is transcendental to the reactions of good or evil work. A Krsna conscious person has no attachment for the result but acts on behalf of Krsna alone. He engages in all kinds of activities, but is completely unattached.”
“I do not know whether I shall be a success or failure. It does not matter. My duty is completed if I can present before you what I have heard from my spiritual master.”
SSR, p. 283
PRABHUPADA – FEAR OF A PURE DEVOTEE?DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MUNDANE FEAR AND TRANSCENDENTAL FEAROne may raise a question here. Srila Prabhupada once said that he himself felt anxiety about retaining the land in Juhu Beach. He said that kind of anxiety was bhakti yoga. He compared it to the gopis being in anxiety when they considered that Krsna’s soft feet were walking over the hard stones. “In such anxiety, they fainted.” Srila Prabhupada’s anxiety about this movement is also verified in his own purport in the Tenth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam:
“As Kamsa was not expected to kill the beautiful child of Devaki and Vasudeva, the uncivilized society, although unhappy about the advancement of the Krsna consciousness movement, cannot be expected to stop it. Yet, we must face many difficulties in many ways. Although Krsna cannot be killed, Vasudeva, as the father of Krsna, was trembling because in affection he thought that Kamsa would immediately come and kill his son. Similarly, although the Krsna consciousness movement and Krsna are non-different, and no asuras can check it, we are afraid that at any moment the asuras can stop this movement in any part of the world.”S.B. 10.3.22
Srila Prabhupada’s comparing himself to Vasudeva is significant. A careful study of this purport reveals that we cannot begin to understand the nature of Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental fear, any more than we can understand Vasudeva’s trembling. It is transcendental rasa. Srila Prabhupada is fully aware that Krsna can protect Himself, as well as His own movement. Srila Prabhupada sees personally how Krsna is controlling the universes – as did Vasudeva and Devaki. Srila Prabhupada’s being “afraid” has nothing whatsoever to do with the fear of this material world to which a conditioned soul is repeatedly subjected.
“Vasudeva and Devaki, therefore, being situated in a completely pure devotional state, are beyond the material world and are not subject to material fear. In the transcendental world, however, because of pure devotion, there is a similar conception of fear, which is due to intense love.”S.B. 10.3.31
“The word suvismita, meaning “astonished”, is significant in this verse. Devaki and her husband, Vasudeva, were assured that their child was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and couldn’t be killed by Kamsa, but because of affection, as they thought of Kamsa’s previous activities, they were simultaneously afraid that Krsna would be killed. This is why the word suvismita has been used. Similarly, we are also astounded upon thinking of whether this movement will be killed by the asuras, or will continue to advance without fear.”
There is a difference between emotional ecstasies and mundane anxieties. Emotional ecstasies are not produced by anything in this material world. The pure devotee is not affected by anything produced in this world. This is quite clearly defined in the sastra. Generally, we cannot know what specific ecstasies are being experienced by the completely realized soul, at a specific time. We can hear about them, sometimes, from the pure devotee himself. We can also hear of the ecstasies of self-realized souls from authoritative revealed scriptures, and appreciate the truly self-realized pure devotee of the Lord in terms of sastra.
PRABHUPADA FRUSTRATED, BAFFLED AND PERPLEXED?The Lilamrta claims that Srila Prabhupada became materially frustrated, baffled, and perplexed.
“But, then the worst thing happened. The manuscript was stolen… Abhay was baffled; so much work had been undone. He felt he had worked so many months for nothing.”Lilamrta I, p. 135
“But his first attempts to arrange a meeting were unsuccessful. Frustrated at being put off by Mrs. Morarji’s officers, he sat down on the front steps of her office building, determined to catch her attention as she left for the day.”
Ibid., p. 276
“The two paths were at war…it was a predicament.”
Ibid., p. 120
“He had little idea of what to do as he walked off the ship onto the pier. I did not know whether to turn left or right.'”
Lilamrta II, p. 8
The definition, according to Webster’s Dictionary, of predicament is: “a perplexing situation”. The Dictionary further defines baffled as: “to be defeated or checked by confusion”. Frustrated is defined as: “to defeat in an endeavor; to make invalid; to bring to nothing”.
Sastra rejects this claim, and informs us that His Divine Grace could never have been baffled. As the bonafide spiritual master, he took all others who surrendered to him (due to their becoming baffled as to the right path of action) to the shelter of Krsna consciousness, which is free from perplexity.
“In the material world, the conditioned soul is generally baffled, although sometimes he is relieved after great difficulty. The human form is an opportunity to take shelter of the bonafide spiritual master and, through him, the Supreme Lord. This Krsna Consciousness Movement has been started to give an opportunity to all members of human society who are misled by foolish leaders.”S.B. 5.14.1
“By nature’s own way, the complete system of material activities is a source of perplexity for everyone. In every step there is perplexity and, therefore, it behooves one to approach a bonafide spiritual master who can give one proper guidance for executing the purpose of life. All Vedic literatures advise us to approach a bonafide spiritual master to get free from the perplexities of life, which happen without our desire…The Vedic wisdom, therefore, advises that in order to solve the perplexities of life and to understand the science of the solution, one must approach a spiritual master who is in the disciplic succession. A person with a bonafide spiritual master is supposed to know everything.”
“Maharaja Pariksit was neither afraid of, nor bewildered, by such things. That is the sign of a pure devotee of the Lord.”
“My lord, everything that is mysterious is known to you because you worship the creator and destroyer of the material world and the maintainer of the spiritual world, the original Personality of Godhead, who is transcendental to the three modes of material nature. PURPORT: A person who is centpercent engaged in the service of the Lord is the emblem of all knowledge.”
“The spiritual master is one who solves all confusion. If a spiritual master cannot save his disciple from confusion, he is not a spiritual master. The spiritual master is one who has received the mercy of God, and he can deliver the solution to a confused man.”
Srila Prabhupada – BTG (to Mr. O’Grady)
PRABHUPADA SORROWFUL & MOROSE?PURE DEVOTEE UNAFFECTED BY DUALITIES
The Lilamrta speculates that sometimes Srila Prabhupada either became or looked sorrowful and morose, in mundane fashion:
“Prabhakar Misra advised Abhay to go back to Allahabad to recover what he could. No,’ Abhaya said. This is good for me. I was sad, but now one great attachment has come to an end…'”Lilamrta I, p. 157
“When Abhay left Bharati Bhavan, with its six-foot-high lettering “League of Devotees” painted across the outside wall, he felt sad.”
Ibid., p. 170
“But he found the Swami just the opposite – very straightforward and even cutting in his speech and his mouth turned down at the corners, making him look mournful.”
Lilamrta II, pp. 231-2
“Sitting cross-legged, his back to the shelf with its assortment of potted plants, a whitish chadar wrapped in wide, loose folds across his body, Prabhupada looked grave, almost sorrowful.”
Ibid., p. 89
However, sastra states that Srila Prabhupada was never actually unhappy at any time. He is always in equilibrium and bliss in all material circumstances.
“Because this transcendental position is at once achieved by one who is in Krsna consciousness, the devotee of the Lord is unaffected by dualities of material existence, like distress and happiness, cold and heat, and so on. This state is called samadhi, or absorption in the Supreme.”BTG, 14, I
Unaffected means just that – unaffected. It does not mean affected, but struggling to be unaffected. This may indeed be our position, but that is not the pure devotee’s position. He does not even feel the dualities, according to sastra.
“Following the advice of Krsna (B.G., 2.14), one should not be morose or unhappy because of circumstantial changes. This is the symptom of a devotee. A devotee carries out his duty in Krsna consciousness, and is never unhappy in awkward circumstances.”S.B. 8.11.8
“Those who are not narayana-para, pure devotees, must be disturbed by this duality of the material world, whereas devotees who are simply attached to the service of the Lord are not at all disturbed by it… despite the disturbing dualities in the material world, they are not disturbed at all. Because they fix their minds on the lotus feet of the Lord, they do not feel the so-called pains and pleasures caused by the dualities of this material world.”
“For a learned person who sees how things are taking place, there is no question of being sorry or happy because of the waves of material nature…One who is fully conversant with the laws of nature is never jubilant or morose because of nature’s activities.”
We cannot understand Srila Prabhupada’s mood by direct sense perception, what to speak of understanding it by looking at a photograph. One disciple was once given a photograph of Srila Prabhupada, by His Divine Grace. The disciple saw it and commented, “You look sad in this photo, Srila Prabhupada.” Srila Prabhupada corrected her, answering, “No, that was a moment of ecstasy.”
As neophytes, we have a tendency to consider the spiritual master through the restricted vision of our own conditioning. Either consciously or unconsciously, we have a tendency to think, “If I do not experience material pain and pleasures, I will not enjoy the varieties of life. Therefore, if the spiritual master doesn’t feel these varieties also, then he must similarly be situated in the “void”. Therefore, he must also be feeling the material world.”
The pure devotee is like the ocean; material happiness and distress are like the rivers; and Krsna is like the moon. So many rivers may enter the ocean, but the ocean remains calm and steady. However, when the moon rises in the sky, no one can check the ocean tide. Similarly, so many material happinesses and distresses may try to disturb the pure devotee, but he always remains undisturbed, calm and steady. However, when the Moon of Krsna rises in the pure devotee’s heart, he becomes like a madman, full of transcendental emotions.
PRABHUPADA EMBARRASSED?The Lilamrta says that His Divine Grace felt embarrassed.
“But it was embarrassing for him when he could not pay.”Lilamrta I, p. 186
Webster’s Dictionary defines embarrassing as: “to cause or experience a state of self-conscious distress, an influence which impedes thought, speech, and action”.
To the contrary, the sastra states that the liberated soul is never embarrassed by any material condition. Embarrassment is the plight of the conditioned soul.
“The conditioned soul, however, is always covered by ignorance and embarrassed by the three-fold miseries of life. Thus, he is a treasure-house of all kinds of tribulations.”C.C. Madhya 18.114
PRABHUPADA WONDERED?NO MYSTERY FOR PURE DEVOTEE
The Lilamrta theorizes that things were sometimes mysterious for His Divine Grace.
“A stray cow…suddenly charged him, goring his side with her horn, and knocked him down…As he lay there, he wondered why it had happened.”Lilamrta I, p. 194
However, sastra states that nothing remains a mystery to the pure devotee.
“My Lord, everything that is mysterious is known to you because you worship the creator and destroyer of the material world and the maintainer of the spiritual world, the original Personality of Godhead, Who is transcendental to the three modes of material nature.” PURPORT: “A person who is cent-percent engaged in the service of the Lord is the emblem of all knowledge.”S.B. 1.5.6
PRABHUPADA ASHAMED? REGRETTED?The Lilamrta offers that His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada made mistakes and felt shame, regret, and had to check himself from violent emotions on occasion.
“To their surprise, Professor Urguhart immediately turned to the jokester and answered in Bengali, and Abhay and the others felt ashamed.”Lilamrta I, p. 23
“The biggest pharmaceutical company in India, Bengal Chemical, made him an offer, but when they did not fulfill all his conditions, he turned them down – though later he regretted it.”
Ibid., p. 79
“Prabhupada took it seriously, and he was upset, especially about the violence. He hit you?’ he asked the boy. I will go down myself and kick him in the head.’ But then Prabhupada thought about it and said that Don should be asked to leave.”
Lilamrta II, p. 154
But sastra tells us differently, that the fully liberated soul, unlike the conditioned souls, is not subject to mistakes, nor does he possess the other three disqualifications of conditioned life. He never has any reason to feel regret or shame about anything he is doing, nor does he have to check himself from any violent emotions, because he has no material emotions and cannot make the mistakes which cause conditioned souls to vent material emotions.
“Presently, people are so fallen that they cannot distinguish between a conditioned soul and a liberated soul. A conditioned soul is hampered by four defects: He is sure to commit mistakes, he is sure to become illusioned, he has a tendency to cheat, and his senses are imperfect. Consequently, we have to take direction from liberated persons.”S.B. 4.18.5
“He is always in everyone’s heart, but only the devotee can realize the Lord’s presence, and thus he is directly connected, and he takes instructions from the Lord at every moment. Therefore, there is no chance of a devotee’s being in error.”
“…mistake, illusion, cheating, and imperfection, which are four flaws of all conditioned souls. The liberated souls are above these flaws. Therefore, they can see and foretell things which are to take place on different future dates.”
SECTION 3HALF-TRUTH MEANS NO TRUTHWE CANNOT SEE THE GURU FROM TWO POINTS OF VIEW
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has instructed:
“Logically, if one accepts half the truth, he cannot understand the whole.”C.C. Adi 7.140
We may say that Srila Prabhupada is a completely spiritual person and that, since he is therefore like Krsna, he can only be understood from a spiritual point of view, through the medium of bonafide sastra. This is true. However, sometimes we may turn the understanding of the sastra into half-truths, by concocting that the bonafide spiritual master may also be seen and understood from a material point of view. Thus, we will not be able to understand the whole. Our understanding becomes a mis-understanding.
If someone in the name of glorifying His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, also criticizes him by attributing to him such mundane qualities as destitution, insecurity, vulnerability, directionlessness, familiar attachment, dependency on anyone and everyone, attainment of knowledge via material experiences, etc., then Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual authority is brought into question. Interpreting the Vedic literature minimizes the authority of the Vedas. Mixing the spiritual with the mundane allows the mundane to be accepted as spiritual, and the spiritual to be considered in a mundane manner.
There is an example of the gardener who allows a mad elephant to enter his garden, and then rationalizes, “Only 50% of my activities were mistaken. I cultivated the garden very nicely but, on the other hand, I permitted the entrance of that mad elephant.” However, whatever percentage of mistake the gardener wishes to concede, the result is nevertheless that the entire garden is destroyed.
“When one actually engages in unalloyed, uncontaminated devotional service, he is already liberated (sa gunan samatityaitam). Krsna’s devotee is not subject to material conditions, even though his bodily feature may appear materially conditioned. One should, therefore, not see the pure devotee from a material point of view…If we consider the bodily defects of a Vaisnava, we should understand that we are committing an offense at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava. An offense at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava is very serious. Indeed, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has described this offense as hati-mata, the mad elephant offense. A mad elephant can create a disaster, especially when it enters a nicely trimmed garden…One is forbidden to observe the activities of a pure Vaisnava from a material point of view. For a neophyte especially, considering a pure devotee from a material point of view is very injurious. One should, therefore, avoid observing the pure devotee externally, but should try to see* the internal features and under stand how he is engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. In this way, one can avoid seeing the pure devotee from a material point of view, and thus one can gradually becomes a purified devotee himself.”N.O.I, p. 61, 63-4
There is another example of a spiritual truth given by Srila Prabhupada wherein the elephant is also used. The elephant takes a bath in the lake and, upon coming out, throws dust all over his body. Thus he defeats his bath’s purpose. the elephant may try to rationalize, “I made only 50% error in throwing this dirt upon myself, but the other half of my activities made me very clean!” However, what is the genuine use of his good bath at this point?
“Acaryamam vijaniat. One should consider the acarya to be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In spite of all these instructions, if one considers the spiritual master to be an ordinary human being, one is doomed. His study of the Vedas and his austerities and penances are all useless, like the bathing of an elephant. An elephant bathes in a lake quite thoroughly, but as soon as it comes on the shore, it takes some dust from the ground and strews it over its body. Thus, there is no meaning to the elephant’s bath. One may argue by saying that since the spiritual master’s relatives and the men of his neighborhood consider him an ordinary human being, what is the fault on the part of the disciple who considers the spiritual master an ordinary human being? …The injunction is that the spiritual master should never be considered an ordinary man. Even a slight deviation from this understanding can create disaster in the disciple’s Vedic studies and austerities.”S.B. 7.15.26-7
“If one becomes an offender to his spiritual master or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he falls down to the material platform to merely speculate.”
C.C. Antya 8.26
“When one thus criticizes a pure devotee, he commits an offense (Vaisnava aparadha) that is very obstructive and dangerous for those who desire to advance in Krsna consciousness. A person cannot derive any spiritual benefit when he offends the lotus feet of a Vaisnava. Everyone should be very careful not to be jealous of an empowered Vaisnava, or a shuddha-vaisnava.”
N.O.I, p. 65
Even if we unknowingly commit offenses to the completely realized bonafide spiritual master, we are held responsible and there are problems for us.
“When one serves a Vaisnava unknowingly, one still gets a good result; and if one unknowingly insults a Vaisnava one suffers the bad result. A Vaisnava is especially favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Pleasing him or displeasing him directly affects the pleasure and displeasure of the Supreme Lord…by pleasing the spiritual master, who is a pure Vaisnava, one pleases the Personality of Godhead; but if one displeases the spiritual master, one does not know where he is going.”S.B. 4.9.23
One may admit that “Brahman is supreme and great”. However, if one then concocts, “and that Brahman is impersonal,” the whole statement has become spoiled. It has become a blasphemy to Lord Krsna, the Supreme Person, even though Brahman is great, and that clause is included in the distorted statement.
When someone interprets sastra and bonafide purports of sastra, inevitably there will be some correct statements scattered throughout the polluted propaganda. But, Lord Caitanya says that it loses its value. Such misinterpretation misleads us and contaminates the self-evident, bonafide conclusions. We then cannot understand the whole.
“The Vedic literature is to be considered a source of real knowledge, but if one does not take it as-it-is, one will be misled.”C.C. Adi 7.140
“The self-evident Vedic literatures are the highest evidence of all, but if these literatures are interpreted, their self-evident nature is lost. We quote Vedic evidence to support our statements, but if we interpret it according to our own judgment, the authority of the Vedic literature is rendered imperfect or useless. In other words, by interpreting the Vedic version, one minimizes the value of Vedic evidence.”
C.C. Adi 7.132
“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu confirms that all Vedic literatures, including the Upanisads, Brahma Sutras and others, whether sruti, smrti, or nyaya must be understood according to their original statements. To describe them in one’s own way, using imperfect senses and imperfect knowledge, is a disastrous blunder.”
C.C. Adi 7.108
If someone says, “Srila Prabhupada was fully dependent on Krsna,” but then adds his own concoction that “he was also confused, insecure, materially attached, dependent on karmis and mayavadis, etc.,” the entire statement becomes polluted and misleading. It minimizes the value of His Divine Grace as being “fully dependent on Krsna.” If we accept this two-sided viewpoint of Srila Prabhupada, it will make our understanding of what it means to be dependent on Krsna material. We might consider such a position to be mundane intellectualism. We might believe that even when a devotee is fully self-realized, he is still beaten by the whips of this material nature. This seems to be the manner, although cushioned by sentimentality, with which His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada has been portrayed in Lilamrta. The book repeatedly appears to praise Srila Prabhupada, while simultaneously seeing him in another mundane perspective, and describing this to be the praiseworthy quality referred to, as a pious personality. The reader may be reminded of Orwellian double-think, where war is simultaneously peace, ignorance simultaneously knowledge, and so forth. Srila Prabhupada should be, according to sastra, correctly described in the topmost terms (nitya-siddha, mahabagavat, fully surrendered, fully dependent on Krsna, etc.). However, these terms do not sound very glorious when Lilamrta proceeds to delineate the pure devotee’s activities and qualities, from its independent vision, which regularly is found to contradict that of sastra.
The GBC is said to have “authorized” the Lilamrta, but it may remain unauthorized. The book puts forth ideas which contradict Srila Prabhupada’s statements. If we accept Lilamrta’s conclusions, we will be forced to subtly interpret Srila Prabhupada’s books in such a way that they may somehow be forced to correspond with the distorted understandings of the Lilamrta. The author quotes a mundane professor’s review of his book, describing it as a “very real human story.” It seems that the Lilamrta has attempted to present His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada in terms which (it theorizes) can be accepted by mundaners. The approach, when viewed from the sastric vision, appears to be that of keeping the reader at a minimum of arm’s-distance from the true sastric explanation, in a calculated attempt to avoid appearing “unrealistic” to the mundane mind.
“Any commentary which contradicts the principles of the Gita or Srimad Bhagavatam is unauthorized.”Sri Isopanisad, p. 31
Lilamrta describes His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada paradoxically, in the following five separate ways:
(1) It says that he is nitya-siddha, BUT…
then describes his supposed symptoms as those of a conditioned soul,
printing a review which says as much.
(2) It says that he was fully dependent on Krsna, BUT…
then describes his alleged dependence on mayavadis, karmis, disciples and even inanimate matter.
(3) It says that he took complete shelter of Krsna, BUT…
then describes him to be insecure, vulnerable, directionless, and confused.
(4) It says that he was inspired to write by Krsna, BUT…
then describes him as being a writer on the strength of his so-called “psychological nature”.
(5) It says that he saw himself as moved by the will of Krsna, BUT…
then describes that he was forced by circumstances at times.
The author has entitled his book the Lilamrta, “The Eternal Nectar of Lila”.
However, Srila Prabhupada writes:
“When there is enforced acceptance for suffering, it is not a pastime.”S.B. 3.26.9
(1) NITYA-SIDDHA BUT…
Lilamrta prints a review of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada’s life as being “a very human story”.
“It is a very human story, with a very human A. C. Bhaktivedanta at the center.”Review of Lilamrta by Prof. Hopkins
Printed as Forward to Vol II, p. vii
“I invite the reader to enjoy the very real, human life story of Srila Prabhupada, who is known in this volume as Abhay Charan.”
Lilamrta I, Intro., p. xix, by author
However, Srila Prabhupada writes:
“Narada Muni, Haridas Thakura and similar acaryas especially empowered to broadcast the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be brought down to the material platform. Therefore, it is strictly forbidden to think that the acarya is an ordinary human being (gurusu nara matih).”S.B. 7.7.14
“Such a person may appear to be an ordinary human being, but because he acts on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is not to be neglected as ordinary.”
“One is forbidden to accept the guru, spiritual master, as an ordinary human being…A spiritually advanced person who acts with authority as the spiritual master, speaks as the Supreme Personality of Godhead dictates within. Thus, it is not he who is personally speaking. When a pure devotee or spiritual master speaks, what he says should be accepted as having been directly spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the parampara system.”
C.C. Antya 5 (?)
“My dear Uddhava, the spiritual master must be accepted not only as my representative, but as my very self. He must never be considered on the same level with an ordinary human being.”
N.O.D., p. 59
“Therefore, Srimad Bhagavatam advises acaryan mam vijaniyam navamanyeta karhicit na martya buddhyasuyeti: the acarya should always be offered respectful obeisances. One should never envy the acarya, considering him an ordinary human being.”
“One should not treat the spiritual master as an ordinary human being, for he is the substitute for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Lilamrta refers to the bonafide spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, as “Abhay”. The authors of the Lilamrta are initiated disciples of Srila Prabhupada, but unfortunately they have the boldness to refer to their guru as “Abhay”. It is no wonder that the readers of this book consider Srila Prabhupada as a “very human story”! His Divine Grace always referred to his spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, in these exalted terms, even when he referred to a pastime of his spiritual master as a 6 month old child.
Lilamrta speculates that the nitya-siddha devotee, Srila Prabhupada, also had to learn by mundane experiences.
“His stay in Butler had been helpful. He had gotten first-hand experience of American life, and he gained confidence that his health was strong and his message communicable… He had learned that casual one-time lectures here and there were of limited value.”Lilamrta II, p. 10
“His vision was spiritual – he saw everyone as a spirit soul and Krsna as the controller of everything. Yet, aside from that, even from a worldly point of view, he was unafraid of the city pandemonium. After all, he was an experienced Calcutta man.”
Ibid., p. 206
“Rayrama thought it was time Swamiji tried reaching some of the more sophisticated New Yorkers, and since Judson Hall was near Carnegie Hall and sometimes had interesting concerts and lectures, he thought it would be a good place to start…Swamiji agreed to the idea…only seven people attended…they had misled Swamiji.”
Ibid., pp. 239-40
To the contrary, Srila Prabhupada writes:
“The process is mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. One has to follow strictly the great personalities and acaryas. Acaryavan puruso veda: One who has the favor of the acarya knows everything. This statement made by Kaviraja Gosvami is very valuable for all pure devotees.”C.C. Madhya 8.312
“Whoever knows Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without doubting, is to be understood as the knower of everything and, he therefore engages himself in full devotional service, O son of Bharata.”
“There is a Vedic version, yasmin vijnate sarvam evam vijnatam bhavati, which means that, by knowing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, everything becomes known to the devotee.”
“Simply surrendering at the lotus feet is the cause of all a devotee’s enlightenment and awareness.”
“Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Who is full of all opulences, is predominant within the core of your heart because of your being a pure devotee. He always drives away all the darkness of ignorance, as the sun drives away the darkness of the universe.”
“And, in the same way, when Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, is worshipped, all the details of the material worlds are enlightened, and the heart of the devotee is nourished without having to work in a materialistic way.”
E.J.T.O.P., p. 19
“Akrura said, “My dear Lord, all wonderful things that are happening within this world, either in the sky or in the water or on the land, are factually appearing in Your universal form. So when I have seen You, what wonderful things have I not seen?” This statement confirms the Vedic version that one who knows Krsna knows everything, and one who has seen Krsna has seen everything, regardless of how wonderful a thing may be.”
Krsna, Vol. II, p. 27
“A person who is cent-percent engaged in the service of the Lord is the emblem of all knowledge.”
Lilamrta theorizes that the nitya-siddha, “one who lives solely to carry out the order of Krsna”, (Srila Prabhupada) had to struggle to continue his mission. He had to work in the usual material way in order to achieve success.
“Seeing him from a distance, a tiny figure walking Manhattan’s streets and avenues amongst many other tiny figures, a foreigner whose visa had almost run out, we come upon only the external appearance of Srila Prabhupada. These days of struggle were real enough and very difficult, but his transcendental consciousness was always predominant. He was not living in Manhattan consciousness, but was absorbed in dependence upon Krsna, just as when on the Jaladuta he had suffered his heart attacks, the reading of Caitanya Caritamrta had supplied him the nectarine of life’.”Lilamrta II, p. 48
“His struggle to continue his mission was part of his preparation.”
Lilamrta I, p. xviii
“Bhaktivedanta Swami worked hard to raise enough donations.”
Lilamrta I, p. 239
Webster’s Dictionary defines struggle as: “to make violent, strenuous efforts against opposition”.
Sastra, however, explains that such a mahabhagavata may speak of himself in terms of his struggling, or how he has not done as well as he would have liked for Krsna, or how he is lower than the worm or the straw in the street, but this is not taken literally. If we see the pure devotee appear to struggle, perhaps we are actually seeing a reflection of the actual struggle which we are undergoing within our own minds.
Srila Prabhupada writes:
“Liberation means becoming free from the relativities of the world. Unless one is self-realized, he has to undergo the dual struggles of the relative world.”S.B. 4.28.37
“Again and again the Lord is very much interested in increasing the influence of his devotees…The Supreme Personality of Godhead has unlimited powers and he wants to see that his devotees are also entrusted with unlimited powers.”
Krsna does everything while He arranges for his devotee to take the credit.
“Thus, the Lord conducted the Battle of Kurukshetra according to His own plan…The other party was equipped with all military strength supported by big generals like Bhisma, Drona, Salya, and it would have been physically impossible for Arjuna to win the battle had the Lord not helped him by every kind of tactic. Such tactics are generally followed by every statesman, even in modern warfare, but they are all done materially by powerful espionages, military tactics, and diplomatic maneuvers. But, because Arjuna was the Lord’s affectionate devotee, the Lord did all this Himself, without personal anxiety by Arjuna. That is the way of devotional service to the Lord.”S.B. 1.15.15
“Those who are devotees, therefore, have no problems in the material world. Visvam purna sukhayate…devotees are free from all problems because they are fully surrendered unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For a devotee, everything in this world is very pleasing, because he knows how to use everything in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.”
The Lilamrta speculates that the nitya-siddha devotee, Srila Prabhupada, was shaken due to the conflict of mundane family life and the orders of his spiritual master.
“He knew it was not an ordinary dream, but the request seemed so difficult and unlikely. Take sannyasa! At least it was not something he could do immediately.”Lilamrta I, p. 118
“…he went on with his duties but remained shaken by the dream.”
Ibid., p. 118
“And again Abhay had to put the dream aside. He was a householder with many responsibilities. To take sannyasa would mean to give up everything. He had to earn money. He now had five children. “Why is Guru Maharaja asking me to take sannyasa?” he thought. It was not possible now.”
Ibid., p. 140
“Of course, there could be a compatible balance between family service and devotional service. Bhaktivinode Thakura had described two simultaneous obligations: bodily and spiritual. Social status, mental development, cleanliness, nourishment, and the struggle for existence were all bodily obligations; the activities of devotional service to Krsna were spiritual. And the two should run parallel to one another. In Bhaktivinode’s life, his family was a source of spiritual encouragement, and he used his social position to advance in preaching. But Abhaya’s experience had been different; the two paths seemed to be at war, each threatening the other’s existence. He felt himself operating somewhat like the materialists he had criticized in his writings, absorbed in the struggle for existence with insufficient time for self-realization.”
Ibid., p. 120
However, Srila Prabhupada writes:
“How can a highly learned person who has absolutely no affinity for the bodily conception of life be affected by the bodily conception in regards to house, children, wealth, and similar other bodily conceptions?”S.B. 4.20.6
“A devotee of the Lord never thinks of his household paraphernalia as his own, but surrenders everything for the service of the Lord…Attachment for household paraphernalia and for Lord Krsna go poorly together.”
“The conclusion is that a paramahamsa is an exalted devotee (bhagavat priya). Such a paramahamsa may be in any stage of life – brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, or sannyasa – and be equally liberated and exalted.”
“Devotees are certainly liberated persons. Therefore, O greatest of the brahmanas, they cannot possibly be absorbed in family affairs.”
“One becomes attracted to his body, home, property, children, relatives, and wealth. In this way, one increases his life’s illusions and thinks in terms of “I and mine”. The attraction for material things is certainly due to illusion. There is no value in attraction to material things, for the conditioned soul is diverted by them. One’s life is successful if he is absorbed in the attraction of Krsna’s strength, beauty, and pastimes as described in the Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam.”
Regarding Bhaktivinode Thakura’s statement on bodily and spiritual obligation, that does not apply to the pure devotee but to the conditioned soul who is advancing in Krsna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada verifies this truth in his purport to the Sri Isopanisad:
“As long as the proportion of devotional services does not come to the right point, there is an occasional exhibition of worldliness.”Sri Isopanisad, p. 103
“When a living entity is conditioned, he has two kinds of activities; one is conditional and the other is constitutional.”
“A devotee is always happy in possessing the devotional service of the Lord…Such devotees are free from attachment to family, society, friendship, children, and so on. They abandon affection for all these material possessions and are always happy in possessing the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. The Supreme Personality of Godhead understands the position of his devotee. If a person derides a pure devotee, he is never recognized by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, the Lord never excuses one who offends a pure devotee.”
The Lilamrta guesses that sometimes His Divine Grace was obliged, even though he was nitya-siddha, to engage in family life rather than engage in preaching activities, according to his desire.
“Srila Prabhupada’s obligation to his wife and children and his attempts to develop a business career in a pharmaceutical industry may appear inconsistent with a single-minded determination to spread Krsna consciousness, yet his earnestness in pursuing these responsibilities, and the way Providence finally extricated him from them, proved important in his essential lifetime of preparation.”Lilamrta I, p. xviii
“The new Calcutta business enjoyed an early success, but Abhay didn’t have his heart in it. It was a duty – he had to do it to maintain his family.”
Ibid., pp. 97-8
However, Srila Prabhupada writes differently:
“Anyone who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, the giver of liberation, giving up all kinds of obligation, and has taken to the path in all seriousness, owes neither duties nor obligations to the demigods, sages, general living entities, family members, humankind, or forefathers. Such obligations are automatically fulfilled by performance of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”B.G. 1.41
“One who is, however, taking pleasure in the self, who is illumined in the self, who rejoices in and is satisfied with the self only, fully satiated, for him there is no duty. PURPORT: a person who is fully Krsna conscious, and is fully satisfied by his acts in Krsna consciousness, no longer has any duty to perform…By such clearing of consciousness, one becomes fully confident of his eternal position in relationship with the Supreme. His duty thus becomes self-illuminated by the grace of the Lord, and therefore, he no longer has any obligations to the Vedic injunctions.”
“A self-realized man is no longer obliged to perform any prescribed duty, save and except activities in Krsna consciousness.”
“Kings like Janaka and others were all self-realized souls; consequently, they had no obligation to perform the prescribed duties of the Vedas. Nonetheless, they performed all prescribed activities just to set examples for the people in general…Although one who is situated in Krsna consciousness may not have any interest in the world, he still works to teach the public how to live and how to act.”
(2) FULLY DEPENDENT ON KRSNA, BUT…
The Lilamrta speculates that His Divine Grace was also dependent on conditioned souls.
It says he was dependent on mayavadis:
“A mendicant, Prabhupada was temporarily dependent on the good will of his mayavadi acquaintance, with whom he regularly conversed and from whom he accepted shelter.”Lilamrta II, p. 25
It says he was dependent on karmies:
“Now his last hope was Sri Padanpat Singhania…He was Prabhupada’s final hope.”Ibid., p. 48
“He decided to hone Carl Yeargens and ask him to help. Hearing Swami’s voice on the phone – it was an emergency!”
Ibid., p. 97
It says that he was dependent on followers:
“Robert Nelson couldn’t give Prabhupada the kind of assistance he needed.”
Ibid., p. 61
It says that he was dependent on Godbrothers:
“As the Gaudiya Matha broke down, he was also affected. Under the present circumstances, how could he carry out his spiritual master’s order to preach. Previously the main obstacle to his preaching had been family commitments, but now the obstacles were compounded. Now he had to wait helplessly for the outcome of this struggle.”Lilamrta I, p. 97
To the contrary, His Divine Grace states:
“Our duty, therefore, is to execute devotional service sincerely under the guidance of the spiritual master. Krsna, by His grace will supply whatever we need in executing our devotional service. In the Krsna Consciousness Movement, we simply have to execute the order of Krsna and guru. Then all necessities will be supplied by Krsna, even if we do not ask for them.”S.B. 8.6.14
“When a devotee needs something, the Supreme Personality of Godhead supplies it.”
“As advised by Narada Muni…one should simply endeavor to increase his Krsna consciousness. One should not desire to do anything else, even to earn his livelihood. There are many examples of this attitude. Madhavendra Puri, for instance, would never go to anyone to ask for food. Sukadeva Gosvami has also said…Why should one approach a person who is blind with wealth? Rather, one should depend on Krsna and He will give everything.”
“A Krsna conscious person does not take shelter of any person – man or demigod.”
“A pure Vaisnava thinks himself unfit to help free even one person from the reactions of sinful life, but he engages one’s hard-earned money in the service of the Lord and thus frees one from sinful reactions. A Vaisnava guru is never dependent on the contributions of his disciples.”
C.C. Antya 3.139
“The spiritual master is not actually happy if the disciple brings him money, but when he sees that a disciple is following the regulative principles and advancing in spiritual life, he is very glad.”
C.C. Adi 7.91
We are conditioned and have little faith in Krsna. Therefore, in order to insure that our necessities are provided for, we may become dependent on mundane persons or facilities, and make compromises. However, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada was never dependent on anyone except Krsna.
(3) UNDER THE SHELTER OF KRSNA, BUT…
Lilamrta postulates that His Divine Grace was less secure than bums on the street, and that he was vulnerable, not knowing what to do.
“A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja…now had to face starkly that he had not one friend of stature in the U.S…Suddenly, he was as homeless as any derelict on the street. In fact, many of them…were more secure than he. They were ruined, but settled.”Lilamrta II, p. 96
“Prabhupada moved quickly down the four flights of stairs. He had not stopped to gather up any of his belongings or even to decide where he would go or whether he would return. There had been no time to consider anything…Where was he going? He didn’t know. He had come onto the street without knowing where he would go…it was no place to stand wondering where you will live or is there a friend you can turn to.”
Ibid., pp. 95-6
“By nightfall, he would have to find some place to stay, a way to keep up the momentum of his preaching. This is what it meant to be working without government sponsorship…without a patron. It meant being vulnerable and insecure.”
Ibid., p. 96
Webster’s Dictionary defines vulnerable as: “open to attack or danger. Capable of being wounded.” It further defines insecure as: “Unsafe. Unprotected.”
However, Srila Prabhupada writes differently:
“Hiranyakasipu did not know that Prahlada Maharaja was the most fortunate person within the three worlds because Prahlada was protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such are the misunderstandings of demons. They do not know that a devotee is protected by the Lord in all circumstances.”S.B. 7.8.12
“The Lord assures herein that He is ready to give protection to his devotee even if there is need to cut off part of His own body.”
“A devotee being always engaged in the service of the Lord, may not be expert in self-defense, but because a devotee fully depends on the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is always sure of protection by the Lord…A devotee is always merged in an ocean of transcendental bliss of rendering service to the Lord. Therefore, he is not at all afraid of any adverse situation in the material world…for the protection of the devotees, Krsna’s disc is always ready.”
“In this connection, it is significant that Narada was immune to the attack of jara or invalidity, and similarly jara, or the destructive force, cannot attack any follower of Narada Muni or a pure Vaisnava.”
“Such transcendental literatures, missionaries, and representatives of the Lord are spotlessly white, because the contamination of the material qualities cannot even touch them. They are always protected by the Lord when they are threatened with annihilation.”
“A person in full Krsna consciousness is not unduly anxious to execute the duties of his existence. The foolish cannot understand this great freedom from all anxiety. For one who acts in Krsna consciousness, Lord Krsna becomes the most intimate friend. He always looks after his friend’s comfort, and He gives Himself to His friend, who is so devotedly engaged working twenty-four hours a day to please the Lord.”
Krsna is a person. He personally looks after His devotee and personally protects His devotee in all ways. The pure devotee never seeks anyone else’s shelter. We may think that we are giving the spiritual master our essential assistance, but that is our own misconception. He is actually only engaging us, and that is helping us progress toward taking full shelter of him. The bonafide spiritual master is never unprotected, insecure, or unsettled. He can never be compared to a bum.
Lilamrta offers that His Divine Grace was destitute and pitiably desperate.
“When Abhay arrived, he appeared very poor, starving. He had no means.”Lilamrta I, p. 164
“Abhay told him how his business had failed and how he had willingly left his family and was now destitute.”
Ibid., p. 164
“Despite his desperate poverty…”
Ibid., p. 188
Webster’s Dictionary defines destitute as: “Suffering extreme want. Desperate.”
The pure devotee may appear destitute or desperate to the common man, but this is actually never his real position.
His Divine Grace writes on the matter:
“Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati explains that a mundane person, being enriched by mundane opulences, must always know that the transcendental opulences of the advanced devotee are far more important than the materialistic opulences of a person like himself.”C.C. Madhya 8.127
“In Bhagavad-Gita (18.78) it is said that wherever there is the master of all mystic powers…victory, fortune, and all other opulences are present. Devotional service is so powerful.”
“Becoming as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not mean becoming one with Him or equal to Him, although in the spiritual world the servant is equally as opulent as the master…The master and servant are different, yet equal in opulence.”
“Saksad-dharitvena…in every sastra the spiritual master is accepted directly as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This does not mean that the spiritual master or a saintly person like Narada has actually become the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but he is accepted in that way because he possesses the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart constantly…when one is simply absorbed in the thought of Krsna, one is also called bhagavan. Bhagavan possesses all opulence. If one possesses Bhagavan within his heart always, does he not automatically possess all opulence also?”
Just as Vrndavana, India is actually non-different from Goloka Vrndavana, if we have the purified vision to see it, similarly the kalpa-vrksa desire trees supply all needs and opulences for the completely clean-hearted Gosvamis. The sastra concludes that Srila Prabhupada had the same facility wherever he went and at all times, in all circumstances.
“For the common man, it seems very wonderful that the Gosvamis could simply live underneath one tree one night and the next tree another night, and have everything they needed…Vrindaban is actually experienced by persons who have finished with material enjoyment.”T.L.C., Intro., p. 17
(4) INSPIRED TO WRITE BY KRSNA, BUT…
Lilamrta speculates that His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada was “in his (material) element” as an editor. The sastra seems to disagree with this sort of vision. The pure devotee’s writing talents have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any theorized psychophysical bodily nature.
“As an editor, Abhay was in his element.”Lilamrta I, p. 172
But Srila Prabhupada writes differently:
“When the spirit soul is contaminated by the material modes of nature, one is considered good or bad with reference to the material qualities. But when one is transcendental to the material qualities, all the good qualities come out. These qualities of a devotee, twenty-six in number are listed as follows… 24. poetic…The Lord is satisfied by development of the transcendental qualities of the living entity.”S.B. 4.20.17
“The secret in a devotee’s writing is that when he writes about the pastimes of the Lord, the Lord helps him; he does not write himself…Since a devotee writes in the service of the Lord, the Lord from within gives him so much intelligence that he sits down near the Lord and goes on writing books. Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami confirms that what Vrndavana dasa Thakura wrote was actually spoken by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and he simply repeated it.”
C.C. Adi 8.39
“Whatever a pure devotee does is done by the dictation of the Supreme Lord. Thus, it is confirmed by the author of Caitanya Caritamrta that whatever he wrote was written under the direction of the Sri Madana-mohana Deity.”
C.C. Adi 8.78
(5) MOVED BY KRSNA’S WILL, BUT…
The Lilamrta claims that the mahabhagavat can be moved by force of circumstances.
“Forced by conditions he accepted as Krsna’s mercy, Prabhupada sat patiently…”Lilamrta II, p. 100
“He had never even made specific plans to come here amid so many young people. But in the ten months since Calcutta, he had been moved by force of circumstances or, as he understood it, “by Krsna’s will”, from one place to another.”
Ibid., p. 100
Srila Prabhupada writes that the conditioned soul is forced to act by Krsna’s material energy, but the pure devotee is acting fully under the guidance of Krsna’s spiritual energy.
“The first sign of the mahatma is that he is already situated in the divine nature. He is not under the control of the material nature.”B.G. 9.13
“From authoritative sources it can be discerned that associates of Lord Visnu who descend from Vaikuntha do not actually fall. They come with the purpose of fulfilling the desire of the Lord…The Lord comes to this material world through the agency of His internal potency, and similarly, when a devotee or associate of the Lord descends to this material world, he does so through the action of the spiritual energy. Any pastimes conducted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead is an arrangement by yogamaya, not mahamaya.”
“For example, Krsna comes like an ordinary human being, He comes as a devotee like Lord Caitanya, or He sends His representative the spiritual master or pure devotee. This is also the planned activity of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
SUMMARY REVIEW OF “LILAMRTA”The Lilamrta did speculate erroneously about the emotions of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. In the process, it has criticized His Divine Grace, though it tries to cover its subtle criticisms with a thin veneer of the mundanely-presented greatness of his struggle through all the internal and external “difficulties”.
We have heard that Srila Prabhupada may have sent letters discouraging a biography of stories about himself by any of his disciples. But, if a biography were to be compiled, the Krsna Consciousness Movement could have simply printed statements from His Divine Grace about his own life, minus any misleading commentary. This could have assured the correct transcendental version of the activities and qualities of the topmost paramahamsa devotee of the Lord. Some letters and Indian BTG articles written by His Divine Grace could have been included. And statements directly from Srila Prabhupada’s books on the wonderful and totally transcendental activities and qualities of the pure devotee in his preaching pastimes, would most definitely have made a sastric basis for such a project. As always, by simply repeating from sastra, in context, the words of the liberated soul, it is easier to avoid harmful speculation.
“If one becomes an offender to the spiritual master or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he falls down to the material platform to merely speculate.”C.C. Antya 8.26