Thursday, October 2016 [Mayapura, West Bengal, India time and Los Angeles, California time]
compiled by Yasoda nandana dasa
Srila Prabhupada explains the unique position of Narottama dasa Thakura in the Gaudiya sampradaya.
Dakṣa śraddadhānaḥ: faithful. Faithful to whom? To the spiritual master. Whatever he says, the brahmacārī should take it: “Yes, it is my life and soul.” That is the explanation given by Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura. He is explaining with reference to the verse vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana [Bg. 2.41]. He very nicely explains. You have perhaps read it, Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s… Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has taught very, very nicely about guru. Therefore he has written in Gurvaṣṭaka, yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ **. He is example, practical example of guru-bhakti, Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura. He accepted his guru, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura. So he said that “I am not interested for my salvation or going back to Godhead. I am not interested.” Interested means it may come; it may not come. “That I don’t mind. But I am interested only with the words of my guru.” Viśvanātha Cakravartī said. “That is my life. Whether I will be successful or not successful, it doesn’t matter. I must take the words of my Guru Mahārāja as my life and soul.”\
Lectures : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures : Madhya-lila: Lectures : Madhya 20: Lectures : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.100-108 — New York, November 22, 1966 : 661122C2.NY :
So Sanātana Gosvāmī, he’s ācārya in this disciplic succession from Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Lord Caitanya. He is the first disciple of Lord Caitanya, and from him, Sanātana Gosvāmī, six Gosvāmīs. There were six among the first followers of Lord Caitanya. And then, from next step comes Raghunātha Gosvāmī and then this author of this book, Kṛṣṇa dāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, and from him, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, and then from him, Viśvanātha Cakravartī, Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa. In this way this disciplic succession is coming from Lord Caitanya. So as ācārya… Ācārya means one who knows the principles of scripture, properly being initiated by authority who knows things as they are, and they apply those things in their own life. They are called ācārya. Acinoti śāstrāṇi: he must know all the principles from authorities, and he should apply in his life those principles. Not that he knows but does not apply. He cannot be ācārya. Āpani ācari prabhu jīva disa (?). Lord Caitanya, He, although He is accepted as the, I mean to say, the personal, He’s Kṛṣṇa Himself, still, He behaved in such a way that others can follow. He also accepted Īśvara Purī. Īśvara, Īśvara Purī was His spiritual master, Lord Caitanya’s. This is the disciplic succession
Prabhupāda: The Gosvāmīs, or in the Pañcarātra system, in the śāstras, the regulative principles are so made that, if we practice it, gradually our dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness will be awakened. Therefore these prescribed rules and regulations, as it is given in the śāstras and confirmed by the ācāryas… Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says, tāṅdera caraṇa-sevi. We have to follow the footprints of the ācāryas. Ācārya means paramparā. One ācārya is following the previous ācārya. An ācārya does not manufacture anything, something novel. He follows the previous ācārya. And therefore he, he’s ācārya. And one who follows… Ācāryavān puruṣo veda. Ācārya upāsanam. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said. So we have to accept the principles laid down by the ācāryas. Tāṅdera caraṇa-sevi-bhakta-sane vāsa
Books : Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 1:”Creation” : SB Introduction : SB Introduction :
Many devotees of Lord Caitanya like Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura, Śrī Locana dāsa Ṭhākura, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, Śrī Kavikarṇapūra, Śrī Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, Śrī Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī and in this latter age within two hundred years, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī, Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣana, Śrī Śyāmānanda Gosvāmī, Śrī Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and at last Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura (our spiritual master) and many other great and renowned scholars and devotees of the Lord have prepared voluminous books and literatures on the life and precepts of the Lord. Such literatures are all based on the śāstras like the Vedas, Purāṇas, Upaniṣads, Rāmāyaṇa, Mahābhārata and other histories and authentic literatures approved by the recognized ācāryas. They are unique in composition and unrivaled in presentation, and they are full of transcendental knowledge. Unfortunately the people of the world are still ignorant of them, but when these literatures, which are mostly in Sanskrit and Bengali, come to light the world and when they are presented before thinking people, then India’s glory and the message of love will overflood this morbid world, which is vainly searching after peace and prosperity by various illusory methods not approved by the ācāryas in the chain of disciplic succession.
…. Anything sung in the praise of the Lord is Śruti-mantra. There are songs of Ṭhākura Narottama dāsa, one of the ācāryas in the Gauḍīya-sampradāya, composed in simple Bengali language. But Ṭhākura Viśvanātha Cakravartī, another very learned ācārya of the same sampradāya, has approved the songs by Ṭhākura Narottama dāsa to be as good as Vedic mantras. And this is so because of the subject matter. The language is immaterial, but the subject matter is important. The ladies, who were all absorbed in the thought and actions of the Lord, developed the consciousness of Vedic wisdom by the grace of the Lord. And therefore although such ladies might not have been very learned scholars in Sanskrit or otherwise, still whatever they spoke was more attractive than the Vedic hymns. The Vedic hymns in the Upaniṣads are sometimes indirectly directed to the Supreme Lord. But the talks of the ladies were directly spoken of the Lord, and thus they were more pleasing to the heart. The ladies’ talks appeared to be more valuable than the learned brāhmaṇas‘ benedictions.
Brahmā is the direct recipient of Vedic knowledge from the Personality of Godhead, and anyone discharging his entrusted duties in disciplic succession from Brahmā is sure to gain fame in this life and salvation in the next. The disciplic succession from Brahmā is called the Brahma-sampradāya, and it descends as follows: Brahmā, Nārada, Vyāsa, Madhva Muni (Pūrṇaprajña), Padmanābha, Nṛhari, Mādhava, Akṣobhya, Jayatīrtha, Jñānasindhu, Dayānidhi, Vidyānidhi, Rājendra, Jayadharma, Puruṣottama, Brahmaṇyatīrtha, Vyāsatīrtha, Lakṣmīpati, Mādhavendra Purī, Īśvara Purī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Svarūpa Dāmodara and Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī and others, Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Kṛṣṇadāsa Gosvāmī, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Viśvanātha Cakravartī, Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī, Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.
Books : Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 3: “The Status Quo” : SB 3.26: Fundamental Principles of Material Nature : SB 3.26.26 : PURPORT :
Ahaṅkāra, or false ego, is transformed into the demigods, the controlling directors of material affairs. As an instrument, the false ego is represented as different senses and sense organs, and as the result of the combination of the demigods and the senses, material objects are produced. In the material world we are producing so many things, and this is called advancement of civilization, but factually the advancement of civilization is a manifestation of the false ego. By false ego all material things are produced as objects of enjoyment. One has to cease increasing artificial necessities in the form of material objects. One great ācārya, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, has lamented that when one deviates from pure consciousness of Vāsudeva, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he becomes entangled in material activities. The exact words he uses are, sat-saṅga chāḍi’ kainu asate vilāsa/ te-kāraṇe lāgila ye karma-bandha-phāṅsa: “I have given up the pure status of consciousness because I wanted to enjoy in the temporary, material manifestation; therefore I have been entangled in the network of actions and reactions.”
Svādhyāyaḥ means “reading the authorized Vedic scriptures.” Even if one is not Kṛṣṇa conscious and is practicing the yoga system, he must read standard Vedic literatures in order to understand. Performance of yoga alone is not sufficient. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, a great devotee and ācārya in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava-sampradāya, says that all spiritual activities should be understood from three sources, namely saintly persons, standard scriptures and the spiritual master. These three guides are very important for progress in spiritual life. The spiritual master prescribes standard literature for the prosecution of the yoga of devotional service, and he himself speaks only from scriptural reference. Therefore reading standard scriptures is necessary for executing yoga. Practicing yoga without reading the standard literatures is simply a waste of time.
To raise oneself from hellish life to the highest position of spiritual understanding is to transform this lust into love of Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, a great ācārya of the Vaiṣṇava sampradāya, said, kāma kṛṣṇa-karmārpaṇe: due to our lust, we want many things for our sense gratification, but the same lust can be transformed in a purified way so that we want everything for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Anger also can be utilized towards a person who is atheistic or who is envious of the Personality of Godhead. As we have fallen into this material existence because of our lust and anger, the same two qualities can be utilized for the purpose of advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and one can elevate himself again to his former pure, spiritual position. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has therefore recommended that because in material existence we have so many objects of sense gratification, which we need for the maintenance of the body, we should use all of them without attachment, for the purpose of satisfying the senses of Kṛṣṇa; that is actual renunciation.
Books : Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 4: “The Creation of the Fourth Order” : SB 4.4: Sati Quits Her Body : SB 4.4.10 : PURPORT Lord Caitanya, who always preached nonviolence, meekness and humility, also became angry when Nityānanda was offended by Jagāi and Mādhāi, and He wanted to kill them. When Viṣṇu or a Vaiṣṇava is blasphemed or dishonored, one should be very angry. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura said, krodha bhakta-dveṣi jane. We have anger, and that anger can be a great quality when directed against a person who is envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His devotee. One should not be tolerant when a person is offensive towards Viṣṇu or a Vaiṣṇava. The anger of Satī towards her father was not objectionable, for although he was her father, he was trying to insult the greatest Vaiṣṇava. Thus Satī’s anger against her father was quite applaudable.
Another significant point is that Lord Govinda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is described here as Tīrthapāda. Tīrtha means “sanctified place,” and pāda means “the lotus feet of the Lord.” People go to a sanctified place to free themselves from all sinful reactions. In other words, those who are devoted to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, automatically become sanctified. The Lord’s lotus feet are called tīrtha-pāda because under their protection there are hundreds and thousands of saintly persons who sanctify the sacred places of pilgrimage. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, a great ācārya of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava-sampradāya, advises us not to travel to different places of pilgrimage. Undoubtedly it is troublesome to go from one place to another, but one who is intelligent can take shelter of the lotus feet of Govinda and thereby be automatically sanctified as the result of his pilgrimage. Anyone who is fixed in the service of the lotus feet of Govinda is called tīrtha-pāda; he does not need to travel on various pilgrimages, for he can enjoy all the benefits of such travel simply by engaging in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord. Such a pure devotee, who has implicit faith in the lotus feet of the Lord, can create sacred places in any part of the world where he decides to remain. Tīrthī-kurvanti tīrthāni (Bhāg. 1.13.10). The places are sanctified due to the presence of pure devotees; any place automatically becomes a place of pilgrimage if either the Lord or His pure devotee remains or resides there. In other words, such a pure devotee, who is engaged one hundred percent in the service of the Lord, can remain anywhere in the universe, and that part of the universe immediately becomes a sacred place where he can peacefully render service to the Lord as the Lord desires.
Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura states that one has to ascertain the right path for his activities by following in the footsteps of great saintly persons and books of knowledge under the guidance of a spiritual master (sādhu-śāstra-guru-vākya). A saintly person is one who follows the Vedic injunctions, which are the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The word guru refers to one who gives proper direction under the authority of the Vedic injunctions and according to the examples of the lives of great personalities. The best way to mold one’s life is to follow in the footsteps of the authorized personalities like those mentioned herein by Pṛthu Mahārāja, beginning with Svāyambhuva Manu. The safest path in life is to follow such great personalities, especially those mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The mahājanas, or great personalities, are Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Nārada Muni, Manu, the Kumāras, Prahlāda Mahārāja, Bali Mahārāja, Yamarāja, Bhīṣma, Janaka, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Kapila Muni.
“Birth after birth I desire to serve the lotus feet of the ācāryas and live in a society of devotees.” A spiritual atmosphere can be maintained only by living in a society of devotees and by serving the orders of the ācāryas. The spiritual master is the best brāhmaṇa. At present, in the age of Kali, it is very difficult to render service to the brāhmaṇa-kula, or the brāhmaṇa class. The difficulty, according to the Varāha Purāṇa, is that demons, taking advantage of Kali-yuga, have taken birth in brāhmaṇa families. Rākṣasāḥ kalim āśritya jāyante brahma-yoniṣu (Varāha Purāṇa). In other words, in this age there are many so-called caste brāhmaṇas and caste Gosvāmīs who, taking advantage of the śāstra and of the innocence of people in general, claim to be brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas by hereditary right. One will not derive any benefit by rendering service to such false brāhmaṇa-kulas. One must therefore take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master and his associates and should also render service to them, for such activity will greatly help the neophyte in attaining full satisfaction. This has been very clearly explained by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura in his explanation of the verse vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana (Bg. 2.41). By actually following the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga as recommended by Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, one can very quickly come to the transcendental platform of liberation, as explained in this verse (atyanta-śamam).
When saintly persons go from door to door to see those who are too much materially engaged, it is to be understood that they do not go to ask anything for their personal benefit. It is a fact that saintly persons go to materialists just to give real information of the auspicious. Mahārāja Pṛthu was assured of this fact; therefore instead of wasting time by asking the Kumāras about their welfare, he preferred to inquire from them whether he could soon be relieved from the dangerous position of materialistic existence. This was not, however, a question personally for Pṛthu Mahārāja. It was raised to teach the common man that whenever one meets a great saintly person, one should immediately surrender unto him and inquire about relief from the material pains of existence. Therefore Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says, saṁsāra-viṣānale, divāniśi hiyā jvale, juḍāite nā kainu upāya: “we are always suffering from material pangs, and our hearts are burning, but we cannot find any way out of it.” The materialistic person can also be called a tapasvī, which means someone who is always suffering from material pains. One can get rid of all these material pains only when he takes shelter of the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. This is also explained by Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura: golokera prema-dhana, harināma-saṅkīrtana, rati nā janmila kene tāya. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura regretted that he did not pursue his attraction for the transcendental vibration of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. The conclusion is that all persons in this material world are suffering from material pains, and if one wants to get rid of them, he must associate with saintly persons, pure devotees of the Lord, and chant the mahā-mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. That is the only auspicious way for materialistic persons.
karuṇā karaha ei–bāra
narottama-dāsa kaya, nā ṭheliha rāṅgā–pāya,
tomā vine ke āche āmāra
Lord Brahmā recognized the brahminical qualifications of Bṛhaspati, who was the spiritual master of the demigods because of his awareness of the Supreme Brahman. Bṛhaspati was very much in control of his senses and mind, and therefore he was a most qualified brāhmaṇa. Lord Brahmā chastised the demigods for not properly respecting this brāhmaṇa, who was their guru. Lord Brahmā wanted to impress upon the demigods that one’s guru should not be disrespected under any circumstances. When Bṛhaspati entered the assembly of the demigods, they and their king, Indra, took him for granted. Since he came every day, they thought, they did not need to show him special respect. As it is said, familiarity breeds contempt. Being very much displeased, Bṛhaspati immediately left Indra’s palace. Thus all the demigods, headed by Indra, became offenders at the lotus feet of Bṛhaspati, and Lord Brahmā, being aware of this, condemned their neglect. In a song we sing every day, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says, cakṣu-dāna dila yei, janme janme prabhu sei: the guru gives spiritual insight to the disciple, and therefore the guru should be considered his master, life after life. Under no circumstances should the guru be disrespected, but the demigods, being puffed up by their material possessions, were disrespectful to their guru. Therefore Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.17.27) advises, ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān nāvamanyeta karhicit/ na martya-buddhyāsūyeta: the ācārya should always be offered respectful obeisances; one should never envy the ācārya, considering him an ordinary human being.
One cannot attain the goal of life without the mercy of Balarāma. Śrī Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura therefore says, nitāiyera karuṇā habe, vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇa pābe: when one receives the mercy of Balarāma, Nityānanda, one can attain the lotus feet of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa very easily.
The real Vedic philosophy is acintya-bhedābheda-tattva, which establishes everything to be simultaneously one with and different from the Personality of Godhead. Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī confirms that this is the real position of a bona fide spiritual master and says that one should always think of the spiritual master in terms of his intimate relationship with Mukunda (Śrī Kṛṣṇa). Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, in his Bhakti-sandarbha (213), has clearly defined that a pure devotee’s observation of the spiritual master and Lord Śiva as one with the Personality of Godhead exists in terms of their being very dear to the Lord, not identical with Him in all respects. Following in the footsteps of Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, later ācāryas like Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura have confirmed the same truths. In his prayers to the spiritual master, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura confirms that all the revealed scriptures accept the spiritual master to be identical with the Personality of Godhead because he is a very dear and confidential servant of the Lord. Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas therefore worship Śrīla Gurudeva (the spiritual master) in the light of his being the servitor of the Personality of Godhead. In all the ancient scriptures of devotional service and in the more recent songs of Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and other unalloyed Vaiṣṇavas, the spiritual master is always considered either one of the confidential associates of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī or a manifested representation of Śrīla Nityānanda Prabhu.
A class of so-called devotees known as sahajiyās try to imitate the Lord’s pastimes, although they have no understanding of the amorous love in His expansions of pleasure potency. Their superficial imitation can create havoc on the path for the advancement of one’s spiritual relationship with the Lord. Material sexual indulgence can never be equated with spiritual love, which is in unadulterated goodness. The activities of the sahajiyās simply lower one deeper into the material contamination of the senses and mind. Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental pastimes display eternal servitorship to Adhokṣaja, the Supreme Lord, who is beyond all conception through material senses. Materialistic conditioned souls do not understand the transcendental exchanges of love, but they like to indulge in sense gratification in the name of devotional service. The activities of the Supreme Lord can never be understood by irresponsible persons who think the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa to be ordinary affairs. The rāsa dance is arranged by Kṛṣṇa’s internal potency yogamāyā, and it is beyond the grasp of the materially affected person. Trying to throw mud into transcendence with their perversity, the sahajiyās misinterpret the sayings tat-paratvena nirmalam and tat-paro bhavet. By misinterpreting tādrśīḥ krīḍāḥ, they want to indulge in sex while pretending to imitate Lord Kṛṣṇa. But one must actually understand the imports of the words through the intelligence of the authorized gosvāmīs. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, in his prayers to the Gosvāmīs, has explained his inability to understand such spiritual affairs.
The principles of the paramparā system were strictly honored in previous ages-Satya-yuga, Tretā-yuga and Dvāpara-yuga-but in the present age, Kali-yuga, people neglect the importance of this system of śrauta-paramparā, or receiving knowledge by disciplic succession. In this age, people are prepared to argue that they can understand that which is beyond their limited knowledge and perception through so-called scientific observations and experiments, not knowing that actual truth comes down to man from authorities. This argumentative attitude is against the Vedic principles, and it is very difficult for one who adopts it to understand that the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is as good as Kṛṣṇa Himself. Since Kṛṣṇa and His holy name are identical, the holy name is eternally pure and beyond material contamination. It is the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a transcendental vibration. The holy name is completely different from material sound, as confirmed by Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura: golokera prema-dhana, hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana. The transcendental vibration of hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana is imported from the spiritual world. Thus although materialists who are addicted to experimental knowledge and the so-called “scientific method” cannot place their faith in the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, it is a fact that simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra offenselessly one can be freed from all subtle and gross material conditions. The spiritual world is called Vaikuṇṭha, which means “without anxiety.” In the material world everything is full of anxiety (kuṇṭha), whereas in the spiritual world (Vaikuṇṭha) everything is free from anxiety. Therefore those who are afflicted by a combination of anxieties cannot understand the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, which is free from all anxiety. In the present age the vibration of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra is the only process that is in a transcendental position, beyond material contamination. Since the holy name can deliver a conditioned soul, it is explained here to be sarva-mantra-sāra, the essence of all Vedic hymns.
Cirañjīva and Sulocana were both residents of Śrīkhaṇḍa, where their descendants are still living. Of Cirañjīva’s two sons, the elder, Rāmacandra Kavirāja, was a disciple of Śrīnivāsācārya and an intimate associate of Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura. The younger son was Govinda dāsa Kavirāja, the famous Vaiṣṇava poet. Cirañjīva’s wife was Sunandā, and his father-in-law was Dāmodara Sena Kavirāja. Cirañjīva previously lived on the bank of the Ganges River in the village of Kumāranagara. The Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, verse 207, states that he was formerly Candrikā in Vṛndāvana.
Śrī Rāmacandra Kavirāja, the son of Khaṇḍavāsī Cirañjīva and Sunanda, was a disciple of Śrīnivāsa Ācārya and the most intimate friend of Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, who prayed several times for his association. His youngest brother was Govinda Kavirāja. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī very much appreciated Śrī Rāmacandra Kavirāja’s great devotion to Lord Kṛṣṇa and therefore gave him the title Kavirāja. Śrī Rāmacandra Kavirāja, who was perpetually disinterested in family life, greatly assisted in the preaching work of Śrīnivāsa Ācārya and Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura. He resided at first in Śrīkhaṇḍa but later in the village of Kumāra-nagara on the bank of the Ganges.
Our position of not allowing worship of the many hundreds of demigods is confirmed by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu even in His childhood. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has sung in this connection
anya devāśraya nāi, tomāre kahinu bhāi,
ei bhakti parama karaṇa
“To become a staunch, pure devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead without deviation [ananya–bhāk], one should not divert his attention to the worship of the demigods. Such control is a symptom of pure devotional service.”
There are many sahajiyās who decry the activities of the six Gosvāmīs-Śrīla Rūpa, Sanātana, Raghunātha dāsa, Bhaṭṭa Raghunātha, Jīva and Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmīs-who are the personal associates of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and who enlightened society by writing books on devotional service. Similarly, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura and other great ācāryas like Madhvācārya, Rāmānujācārya and others accepted many thousands of disciples to induce them to render devotional service. However, there is a class of sahajiyās who think that these activities are opposed to the principles of devotional service. Indeed, they consider such activities simply another phase of materialism. Thus opposing the principles of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they commit offenses at His lotus feet. They should better consider His instructions and, instead of seeking to be considered humble and meek, should refrain from criticizing the followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu who engage in preaching. To protect His preachers, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has given much clear advice in these verses of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
A devotee is always thinking of how better to serve Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and how to broadcast His name, fame and qualities throughout the world. One who is nitya-siddha has no business other than broadcasting the glories of the Lord all over the world according to his ability. Such people are already associates of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says, nitya-siddha kari’ māne. One should not think that because Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was personally present five hundred years ago, only His associates were liberated. Rather, Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says that anyone is a nitya-siddha if he acts on behalf of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by spreading the glories of the holy name of the Lord. We should respect those devotees preaching the glories of the Lord as nitya-siddha and should not consider them conditioned.
An advanced devotee situated on the platform of spontaneity is already very expert in śāstric instruction, logic and argument. When he comes to the point of eternal love for Kṛṣṇa, no one can deviate him from that position, neither by argument nor by śāstric evidence. An advanced devotee has realized his eternal relationship with the Lord, and consequently he does not accept the logic and arguments of others. Such an advanced devotee has nothing to do with the sahajiyās, who manufacture their own way and commit sins by indulging in illicit sex, intoxication and gambling, if not meat-eating. Sometimes the sahajiyās imitate advanced devotees and live in their own whimsical way, avoiding the principles set down in the revealed scriptures. Unless one follows the six Gosvāmīs-Śrī Rūpa, Sanātana, Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa, Śrī Jīva, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa and Raghunātha dāsa-one cannot be a bona fide spontaneous lover of Kṛṣṇa. In this connection, Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says: rūpa-raghunātha-pade haibe ākuti kabe hāma bujhaba se yugala pirīti. The sahajiyās‘ understanding of the love affairs between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is not bona fide because they do not follow the principles laid down by the six Gosvāmīs. Their illicit connection and their imitation of the dress of Rūpa Gosvāmī as well as their avoidance of the prescribed methods of revealed scriptures will lead them to the lowest regions of hell. These imitative sahajiyās are cheated and unfortunate. They are not equal to advanced devotees (paramahaṁsas). Debauchees and paramahaṁsas are not on the same level.
Unless one is qualified with all these attributes, he cannot be accepted as a brāhmaṇa. It is not a question of simply taking birth in a brāhmaṇa family. In this regard, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura remarks that Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura and Śyāmānanda Gosvāmī, although not born in brāhmaṇa families, are accepted as bona fide spiritual masters because they were brāhmaṇas by qualification. Personalities like Śrī Gaṅgā-nārāyaṇa, Rāmakṛṣṇa and many others, who were actually born in brāhmaṇa families, accepted Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura and Śyāmānanda Gosvāmī as their spiritual masters.
Whatever position one may have, if he is fully conversant with the science of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can become a bona fide spiritual master, initiator or teacher of the science. In other words, one can become a bona fide spiritual master if he has sufficient knowledge of the science of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The position does not depend on a particular position in society or on birth. This is the conclusion of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and it is in accordance with the Vedic injunctions. On the strength of this conclusion, Lord Caitanya, previously known as Viśvambhara, accepted a spiritual master, Īśvara Purī, who was a sannyāsī. Similarly, Lord Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrī Advaita Ācārya also accepted another sannyāsī as their spiritual master, Mādhavendra Purī. This Mādhavendra Purī is also known as Lakṣmīpati Tīrtha. Similarly, another great ācārya, Śrī Rasikānanda, accepted Śrī Śyāmānanda as his spiritual master, although he was not born of a brāhmaṇa family. So also Gaṅgānārāyaṇa Cakravartī accepted Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura as spiritual master. In ancient days there was even a hunter named Dharma, who became a spiritual master for many people. There are clear instructions in Mahābhārata and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.11.32) stating that a person-be he brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya or śūdra-should be accepted by his personal qualifications and not by birth.
Srila Prabhupāda: Lokanātha lokera jīvana. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura’s guru’s name was Lokanātha Gosvāmī. You have seen, those who have gone to Vṛndāvana. There is Lokanatha Gosvāmī’s tomb. So, then?