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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Xerox suspension

I am sorry to announce that distribution of non-published (spiral-bound, photocopied) books will be suspended with immediate effect, for an indefinite period. My regular copyshop has hiked the prices considerably, they want to charge per 250-page box instead of per 2500 page-batch, a price hike of 50-60% into a much higher price scale, and the only other copyshop in town has given up after processing one single batch, their hardware has a problem with the paper. Those who visit Radhakund may get their copies from Yugalkishor Das. Remember: 1. The published books will remain available from me as always, and 2. The xerox books can still be obtained from me, but at much higher prices. This was beyond my control, apologies.


  1. Please accept my obeisances. Praises to the Vaisnavas.

    I had the opportunity to receive some of your translations last time in Vrindavan and found them very inspiring. I have some practical questions, outside of what I read in your translations, and didn't know where else to ask. If you could be so kind as to answer them and help I would be indebted.

    1. What is the difference from a Govardhana Sila as Giriraja and that of a Govardhana Sila as Giridhari? How is the identity different and mood of worship?

    2. At Radha Kunda I have seen some chanting gayatri with a cloth covered necklace on. What is inside the necklace and what is the significance of the articles inside, reason for wearing it and historical context of wearing it?

    3. For followers of the Goswami's does one worship outside of Manjari bhava? I have heard through many outside of ISKCON that followers of the Goswami's strictly aspire to be a Manjari and that the idea that one would aspire to be a cowheard boy, although "bonafide" in the spiritual nature of the jiva, is not something aspired for by the followers of the Goswmai's and Rupa Goswami. Can you shed some light?

    Thank you so much!

  2. Dear Anonymous, thank you for the inquiries.
    1. Mount Govardhan is both Krishna (Mahaprabhu told Raghunath Das Gosvami "ei sila krsnera kalevara") and haridasa Varya (the best of Hari's servants, as in SB 10.21.18), however the Shila is primarily worshipped as Krishna. The mood is one of sweet rustic simplicity. The worship is briefly explained by Sriman Mahaprabhu in Caitanya Caritamrita Antya lila chapter 6.
    2. It seems you must have seen someone doing that out in the open. Actually mantra japa should be done in private, not in public. The wreath they wear is called a panca mala and consists of five substances - herbs, strings or beads I am not sure. Some Vaishnavas believe that it enhances concentration. I have not received such a tool from my Guru, nor have I seen it mentioned in any Vaishnava shastra.
    3. Although Sriman Mahaprabhu came to distribute 4 rasas (cari bhava diya nacaimu tribhuvana), de facto only manjari bhava is bestowed by the Vaishnava Gurus, since it is clearly the summum bonum of the different rasas in relation to Krishna. That becomes abundantly clear from studying the prayers of Srila Rupa Gosvami (Stavamala), Srila Raghunath Das Gosvami (Stavavali) and Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati (Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi and Vrindavan Mahimamrita). Also one of the opening verses of Caitanya Caritamrita (verse 4), Srila Rupa Gosvami's anarpita carim cirat, makes it abundantly clear that Sriman Mahaprabhu did not come to bring cowherdboy bhava in particular, but gopi bhava in particular.
    Hope this helps.
    Jay Radhe

  3. What a pity that these books will be even more difficult to access now – it's been a threshold enough for people as it is. How about going e-books?


    On panca-mala:

  4. Thank you so much for the kind and detailed replies. I just want to make sure I got it right:

    1. Giridhari is Krishna himself while Giriraja is haridasa varya, or Govardhana (the best of Hari's servants)?

    2. Panca mala is a modern aid which isn't critical unless one is inspired to wear it or is advised by the Guru to wear it. Also note that when I saw the devotee wearing the necklace it wasn't "in the open" rather I just happened upon a devotee nestled in a solitary place along Radha Kunda and saw the necklace which I also saw in a roadside shop at Radha Kunda.

    3. Is there any dynamic whereas a Vaisnava Guru would give something other than Manjari bhava? What if the disciple is inclined towards something else? Are they misguided (mentally) or do they belong in a group outside? It seems that AC Bhaktivedanta Swami didn’t exclude such bhavas in his teachings and many say he was a cowheard boy himself. Is there any sense in saying someone who was a follower of Rupa Goswami could have been a Cowheard boy? I know you don’t want to enter into a controversy but I am confused so please don’t think I am asking you to comment on AC Bhaktivedanta Swami. I just heard it explained that there is so dynamic in which a bhava outside of Manjari bhava can fit into our line.

    Thank you so much!

  5. Dear Anon, yes that is just about right what you summarise there. As for the last question - the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu dutifully mentions all 5 rasas, even shanta rasa, but has a sequel called Ujjvala Nilamani which is about as large as the BRS itself, and deals exclusively with madhura rasa. So that goes to show how important it was to Rupa Gosvami, Sriman Mahaprabhu's foremost disciple. Furthermore, most of the other writings of the acaryas (the 6 Gosvamis, Narottama, Kaviraja, Visvanatha etc.) also focus on madhura rasa, and manjari bhava in particular. I think that is quite inescapable. The only precedent that exists for a Guru having sakhya bhava is Hridoy Caitanya, the Guru of Syamananda Prabhu, but that was not followed by Syamananda, who told his Guru that since he was a disciple of Gauridas Pandit, who is Subal in Krishna-lila, and who has access to Radha-Krishna's Kunja lila, he was also indirectly serving the gopis in their pastimes with Krishna. Sriman Mahaprabhu later appeared to Hridoy Caitanya in a dream to confirm that and Hridoy was compelled to accept that. In my own 24-25-year experience in the Indian raganuga society I have not met anyone who is bestowing sakhya bhava to his disciples or who is practising that himself.