Book excerpts Acarya Kesari Protest against Sri Radha-Govindanatha’s Vaisnava-darsana

Protest against Sri Radha-Govindanatha’s Vaisnava-darsana

Acarya kesari om visnupada astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja strongly protested against the book Acintya-bhedabheda-vada published by Bagbazar Gaudiya Mission in Kolkata. All learned and respectable persons in the society were familiar with Acarya Kesari’s protest. Sriyuta Radha-Govindanatha had composed a large book, Vaisnava-darsana, which is based on Acintya-bhedabheda-vada, the ideas of both books being one and the same. Srila Acarya Kesari protested against Vaisnava-darsana in the Sri Gaudiya-patrika (4th issue, 11th year, pgs 159–160). “The pure Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya, as followed and preached by Sriman Mahaprabhu, is within the Madhva sampradaya. In my essay Acintya-bhedabheda (published in Gaudiya-patrika, 9th and 10th years), I have presented elaborate evidence protesting against the book Acintya-bhedabheda-vada by Sri Vidyavinoda. In the same essay I have also voiced my objections to Natha Mahasaya’s book Vaisnava-darsana. The readers will understand my protest by reading this essay. Nowadays different assemblies are protesting against Sri Radha-Govindanatha as a result of this essay being published. I hope that all the religious bodies in India will speak out against this book.”

Srila Gurudeva wrote further on this subject matter. “We are happy to note that renowned gosvamis and babaji maharajas, etc., belonging to ordinary Vaisnava groups from Radha-kunda, Vrndavana, Govardhana, Mathura and other places have unanimously and vehemently protested against Sri Radha-Govindanatha’s book, Vaisnava-darsana. On 22 April 1959, in Sri Amiya Nimai Gauranga temple in Vrndavana, a huge assembly was arranged in which this book was evaluated. We are presenting a few points of our conclusions to the readers.

“First of all, the Gaudiya Vaisnavas in this assembly pointed out that Sri Natha Mahasaya is not initiated into any Vaisnava sampradaya. Moreover, Gaudiya Vaisnavas have since Sriman Mahaprabhu’s time considered themselves as belonging to the Madhva Gaudiyas or the Sri Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya. The chairman of the assembly affirmed, with the consent of all the members present, that all Gaudiya Vaisnavas belong to the Sri Madhvacarya sampradaya. Natha Mahasaya, however, rejects this conception. This shows how ignorant he is of the philosophical tradition. Vaisnavas should not waste their time studying any book that attempts to contradict this truth.

“Secondly, the chairman affirmed that Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, the protector of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya, is greatly revered by Gaudiya Vaisnavas. He is a genuine sevaka-acarya of Sriman Mahaprabhu and is acclaimed the topmost philosophical scholar in the Sri Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya. There is not even a shadow of doubt in this regard. Natha Mahasaya does not accept Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana as an acarya of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya, and is therefore a great offender at Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s lotus feet.

“The chairman’s third point is that the views expressed by Natha Mahasaya in connection with acintya-bhedabheda-vada are irrelevant. Consequently, if pure Vaisnavas hear from or read his large book Vaisnava-darsana, it will lead to their total destruction. That is to say, they will fall forever from the realm of authentic Gaudiya Vaisnavism. This assembly determined, following the previous mahajanas, that the Gaudiya Vaisnava community is accepted as a legitimate part of the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya and that Natha Mahasaya’s Vaisnava-darsana is worthless, and should be shunned by Sri Gaudiya Vaisnavas.”

Srila Acaryadeva in Assam

On 21 May 1959, paramaradhya Srila Acaryadeva travelled from Sri Dhama Navadvipa to Sri Goloka-ganja Gaudiya Matha in Assam, after receiving an urgent letter from Sri Paramananda dasa Adhikari (Sri Palasa Candraghuha) of Dhubadi. The train was delayed for nearly twelve hours due to an accident at Katihara Junction. Having heard the news of Sri Acaryadeva’s arrival by telegram, the residents of the matha welcomed him at Goloka-ganja railway station and respectfully accompanied him to the matha in the midst of sankirtana with mrdanga and karatalas. At the matha, the renounced and householder devotees performed Sri Acaryadeva’s puja and arati, and had darsana of the exquisitely beautiful deities of Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga Radha-Vinoda-bihariji. They praised the devotee who had donated the deities, saying, “The unparalleled, transcendental beauty of these deities is not to be found anywhere else in Assam.”

Sri Acaryadeva addressed the assembled devotees saying, “One should not take darsana of the deities with the eyes. Proper darsana is through the ears. This is because darsana through the eyes is material and full of faults, so there is always the possibility of delusion. There is much less possibility of error and delusion in darsana through the ears, by hearing. That is why the mantra is given through the ears at the time of diksa. Sri gurudeva gives divya-jnana, transcendental knowledge, through the ears. All our senses are instruments for our gratification, and our eyes enable us to enjoy beauty. However, darsana of the deities is not meant to satisfy our sense of vision, but rather to remove to a far distant place our greed to enjoy with the eyes. Instead of thinking ‘I am very blissfully having darsana of the deities’, we should think, ‘The deities will give me a merciful glance.’ It is with this attitude that we will achieve our supreme welfare. Bhagavan and His deity form are not objects of sense perception. We cannot accept Them through any of our senses, because whatever we accept through our senses is all material and intended for our enjoyment. But Sri Bhagavan actually is the only enjoyer; we are all meant to be enjoyed by Him. That means that we are not the seer, but rather the one who is seen.”

Srila Acaryadeva then explained this subject in a way that was easier to understand. “Suppose there is a ripe mango in front of us. The eyes can see it, the skin can touch it, the nose can smell it and the tongue can taste it, but the ears have no connection with these four senses. Whatever subject matter the ears comprehend is completely beyond the perception of the remaining four knowledge-acquiring senses ( jnanendriyas). In other words, in regard to that subject matter, these four senses are helpless and have no connection with it. The ears comprehend words with which the other senses have no connection. That is why the sad-guru gives transcendental sound vibration, sabda-brahma, in the ear of the bona fide disciple, sat-sisya. Before giving sabda-brahma, gurudeva purifies the disciple with hari-katha. Then he gives sabda-brahma in the form of sri harinama and the diksa-mantras. You should try to realize this essential truth. This is why, amongst all the senses, the ear is the most beneficial for us.” The whole audience was fascinated to hear Srila Gurudeva’s new and unprecedented view, and they unanimously agreed that they had never heard such a beautiful siddhanta before.

Sri Acaryadeva stayed at Goloka-ganja Matha for three days, and then went to Dhubadi town with his associates, at Sri Paramananda dasa Adhikari’s request. Sri Paramananda Prabhu’s wife, Tarini-devi, had left this world some time before. Srila Acaryadeva now supervised her sraddha-samskara according to the satvata vaisnava-smrti, Sat-kriya-sara-dipika. Sri Sanat Kumara Bhakti-sastri Bhagavat-bhusana performed the priestly duties at this sraddha ceremony, following Srila Gurudeva’s order. Afterwards everyone was served maha-prasada.

The honourable Paramananda Prabhu (Palasa Babu) was very impressed with Srila Gurudeva’s preaching, and repeatedly requested Srila Gurudeva to establish a bhakti preaching centre in Dhubadi. For this purpose he offered his house in the district of Vidyapada in Dhubadi town, and also gave some money. He formally registered the centre in Sri Acaryadeva’s name on 29 May 1959.

After this, Srila Acaryadeva travelled with his associates to Amayapura by bus via Rangiya. There he visited the homes of Sri Krsna Govinda dasa Adhikari, Sriyuta Pranesvara dasa Adhikari (Saudagara Prabhu) and Vanesvara dasa Adhikari. After preaching suddha-bhakti there he returned to Sri Uddharana Gaudiya Matha, Chunchura.

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