Dhanurdhara Swami’s response to “Sakhyam’s Razor”
Published on June 9th, 2009 | by Harmonist staff22
by Dhanurdhara Swami
Vrndaranya asked me to respond to her article. To honor my doubts about the relevance of these discussions, I will be brief and mainly focus on an issue I feel is relevant, namely, when and where it is proper for dialogues like this to take place – one of the main contentions of my paper, and one that Vrndaranya failed to address.
I read and responded to Babhru’s article in the spirit of vada (seeking truth). Throughout my paper I thus acknowledged the strength of his arguments and lauded the substantial evidence he had collected. I then added my opinion that the issue could also be looked at in other ways. Finally, I pointed out a few cases where I thought his evidence was forced, like when he connected Srila Prabhupada’s strong preaching spirit to sakhya-rasa.
Requested by her guru to write something, Vrndaranya did not see merit in anything I wrote. Of course, it may be possible that I failed to make any relevant points – I’ll leave it to objective readers to decide. But her somewhat confrontational stance makes me wonder if she somehow missed my point altogether. So please let me state my modest claims again:
1) Although Babhru made a strong case for Srila Prabhupada being in sakhya-rasa, his attempts to show that there were no other possible options were weak.
2) It’s important to consider where philosophical discussions such as this one should take place.
To keep my paper brief, I will limit my response to one example, where “Sakhyam’s Razor” shreds only a straw man and not my actual argument. There is little need to get into more. Although I gave many reasons to support my case, to address only one now will be sufficient. I also think it will be edifying to correct Vrndaranya’s misapplication of Ockham’s razor as well as her narrow interpretation of Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja’s famous adage that we should not shy away from discussing siddhanta.
Before continuing, I stand corrected that Babhru never said that madhurya-rasa was only found outside Srila Prabhupada’s mission. He argued that the details of manjari-bhava were gleaned from outside his mission, as far as he knows. I am still uncertain as to the truth of his claim. I wrote Babhru for clarification, and await his reply.
Now, to again state the point of my argument about discerning Srila Prabhupada’s inner life: I argued that it is reasonable to look at this issue in other ways. Babhru, or at least Vrndaranya representing Babhru, argued that it is not. To contest their claim, I quoted Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s direct statement conceding the possibility of Srila Prabhupada’s inner life being in madhurya-rasa, although the evidence, in his opinion, points to sakhya-rasa. Vrndaranya argues that by using Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s quote I am actually supporting Srila Prabhupada in sakhya-rasa. But her reasoning misses my point. I was making the point that Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s statement supports the possibility that one can see the issue in other ways. Directly, clearly, and irrefutably the quote does that.
I also see a problem in Vrndaranya’s selective use of Ockham’s razor in that she does not apply it to her own arguments, which are often certainly not “the simplest explanations of phenomena.” For example, her explanations of how Srila Prabhupada’s expressions of madhurya-rasa actually point to priyanarma are tedious and unnecessarily complicated. A similar problem is found in her attempt to discount as evidence his clear cut and simple statement “that somehow or other he was now engaged in that [Radha’s] service” by giving undue importance to the phrase “somehow or other.” Prabhupada often used such phrases in ordinary conversation, and they are hardly indicators of deep theological significance. To juggle such a phrase’s meaning is unwarranted convolution.1
Again, I am not trying to prove that Srila Prabhupada can only be in madhurya-rasa. Rather, I argued that although Babhru presented a well-reasoned case for Srila Prabhupada in sakhya-rasa, there are good reasons to think he could be in some other mood. Therefore I personally feel that it is best to allow advanced devotees to follow their own spiritual conscience when making the determination.
Beyond just these few clarifications in reference to “Sakhyam’s Razor,” I don’t feel it necessary to say much more on this issue. I am confident in my accommodating conclusion and also satisfied to let thoughtful readers come to their own conclusions after reading Babhru’s paper, my paper, “Sakhyam’s Razor,” and any forthcoming response from Babhru.
The second main point in my paper is that we must consider where such siddhantantic discussions are most profitably held. I alluded to the following considerations:
1) the place (public or private)
2) the audience (its qualification and the relevance of the discussion for any particular group)
3) people’s sentiments (how the spiritual master can reveal himself to the disciple in different ways)
I then gave reasons why I thought some of these conditions apply to this topic, especially stressing the fact that there are contending groups serving under various advanced Vaisnavas who have been inspired by Srila Prabhupada in different ways. I was not arguing for censorship but for sensitivity.
Vrndaranya ignored these considerations and instead cited Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja’s well-known quote that we should never shy away from discussing siddhanta. Of course, this is true, but that doesn’t resolve the question of where and with whom such discussions should be held. Was Krishnadasa Kaviraja thinking of the Internet when he made his pronouncement?
By quoting Kaviraja Gosvami in response to my proposition that one should carefully consider the best way to hold dialogues such as these, Vrndaranya appears to endorse the following principle: “There are no conditions on where and with whom siddhanta should be discussed.”
I thus think that the proper way for any dialogue on this topic to continue is to first establish a principle to guide the discussion. Is the principle that there are no conditions on the “wheres” and “with whoms” in the discussion of siddhanta, or should a discussion like this one be held more exclusively? If more exclusively, then what should be considered and how will it best apply to the present discussion? Now, that’s a relevant topic for open dialogue.
- Of course, Vrndaranya may argue that she is applying the principle to the totality of evidence. If that’s the case, then she should have the confidence to take contrary evidence seriously and not explain it away. Her hermeneutical strategy is reminiscent of Sankaracarya, who only graced with the status of highest truth Upanashadic statements with which he agreed and who relegated those with which he disagreed to a lower status. The principle of Ockham’s razor is to posit the explanation for the data in the simplest way, and not to disavow data that is contrary. [↩]
“Of course, this is true, but that doesn’t resolve the question of where and with whom such discussions should be held. Was Krishnadasa Kaviraja thinking of the Internet when he made his pronouncement?”
I disagree with Maharaja’s line of reasoning here. Obviously, there was no Internet at the time of KDK yet by putting his pronouncement in a book it was tantamount to putting it out on the Internet today. KDK intentions and purpose is the same although his medium was obviously different.
To add to my previous comment although KDK message would not have reached as many people as fast as the Internet in his day it was certainly substantial as books have very long shelf lives. Centuries later his words are being discussed on the Internet.
I agree with DDS’s opinion about not discussing this topic with general audience. But it is boring and taxing to belabor the point that Narayana maharaja’s opinion has already been public for a long time and this article was mainly to balance the skewed view in the public.
Why then do you not think it is not appropriate for public consumption? Several reasons as to why some think it is appropriate have been posted in the comments section of Vridaranya’s article. Do you disagree with them, and if so why?
I personally think that it is hard for people without deep spiritual experience and for those who are new to spiritual life and entrapped by the three modes of material nature to not get bewildered by arguments between advanced devotees on this topic. And I am not convinced of the power of logic in settling the matter for people who have made up their mind especially in spiritual life where people follow their gurus opinions completely. Just my thoughts. I don’t have specific sastric quotes to back my thoughts but I could think of couple of things. In the B.G itself confidential nature of particular knowledge is spoken about. Similarly it is an offence even to instruct a faithless person on the glories of the holy name.
I disagree with DDS’s way of using Sankaracarya’s example to discredit Vrindaranya. Every philosophy based on the Vedas weighs different quotes according to the goal they have in mind. And GV is no different. To many people outside GV it is a stretch how GV concepts are proven using vedas and evidence to the contrary is rejected. For example, GV favors S.B over other evidence. So there is nothing new in what Vrindaranya has done.
Its possible for Prabhupada (or anyone, for that matter) to have more than one spiritual identity. However, I think the real issue lies in the surprising fact that he did not tell his disciples what he was or what he aspired to, which is par for the course with Gaudiya Vaishnava gurus. Why he refrained from making that clear to his disciples is beyond me, but obviously it has become an issue.
But, if you keep in mind that more than one identity can be attained, then it doesn’t have to be an issue. However, I still do not understand how a disciple can perform bhajan without knowing at least this basic information about his or her guru. Rather than conversing about “is he this or is he that”, I think the real issue is “how can I do bhajan?”
dasi writes, “Its possible for Prabhupada (or anyone, for that matter) to have more than one spiritual identity.”
I would be very interested in seeing the pramana which dasi feels supports her statement. What I address in my booklet is readily accessible external evidence for Srila Prabhupada’s sthayi-bhava. Of the five varieties of bhava that combine to constitute rasa—vibhava, anubhava, sattvika-bhava, vyabhicari-bhava, and sthayi-bhava—sthayi-bhava is what Srila Prabhupada characterizes as “continuous ecstacy.” It refers to one of the five direct moods of service to Krishna. By “continuous” he means it is the one thing that does not change according to circumstances. So a devotee’s sthayi-bhava is either one of passive appreciation, servitude, friendly love, parental love, or conjugal love. I wonder if dasi can show me evidence from Bhaktirasamrita-sindhu that indicates one may be in friendly love and conjugal love at the same time. Of course, this can easily be resolved by examining the four main groups of friends: sakhas, priya sakhas, suhrit sakhas, and priyanarma sakhas. The sakhas’ love is influenced by a mood of servitorship. They are the younger boys in the group. The priya sakhas’ love is kevala, pure, not tinged by the influence of other sthayi-bhavas. They are Krishna’s equals in age, strength, etc. The suhrit sakhas’ friendly love is influenced by vatalya bhava. They are older boys, led by Balarama, and their nature is to feel protective of Krishna. And the priyanarma sakhas’ love, as I point out in my booklet, is very much influenced by an appreciation for the way the younger gopis and manjaris love Krishna. They are his most intimate friends and are instrumental in different ways in his pursuing his affairs with the girls of Vrindavana.
dasi also writes, “However, I think the real issue lies in the surprising fact that he did not tell his disciples what he was or what he aspired to, which is par for the course with Gaudiya Vaishnava gurus. Why he refrained from making that clear to his disciples is beyond me, but obviously it has become an issue.” Although there’s a little confusion in the pronoun reference in this sentence, it appears she means it is “par for the course” for a Gaudiya vaisnava guru to tell his or her disciples just what his or her spiritual identity is. This may be commonly practiced among some groups of Gaudiya vaishnavas. This is not the case, however, in the line coming from Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. We learn from those acharyas that these things are revealed by the holy name in the course of our progressive sadhana.
dasi further writes, “However, I still do not understand how a disciple can perform bhajan without knowing at least this basic information about his or her guru. Rather than conversing about ‘is he this or is he that,’ I think the real issue is ‘how can I do bhajan?’” In fact, bhajan is facilitated more by the sadhaka’s surrender than by any information he or she may glean about anyone else’s internal identity.
As I alluded to above, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura tells us that the details necessary for bhajan are revealed by the holy names as we progress in our dedication to service: “When the name is even slightly revealed, it shows me my own spiritual form and characteristics. It steals my mind and takes it to Krishna’s side. When the name is fully revealed, it takes me directly to Vraja, where it shows me my personal role in the eternal pastimes.”
The real issue, then, as I have stated many places, is “How can I progress in sad-anga saranagati?”
“However, I still do not understand how a disciple can perform bhajan without knowing at least this basic information about his or her guru. Rather than conversing about “is he this or is he that”, I think the real issue is ‘how can I do bhajan?'”
I have already addressed this question here where you asked it earlier. But here is a question to you that may help answer it in another way. How did Gopa Kumara of Brihat-bhagavatamrita do bhajana and attain his gopa svarupa without being told this basic information?
I like this cool comment…..It is like a breeze of fresh air to me: How can i do bhajan and How did Gopa Kumara of Brihat-bhagavatamrita do bhajana and attain his gopa svarupa without being told this basic information?
“I was making the point that Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s statement supports the possibility that one can see the issue in other ways. Directly, clearly, and irrefutably the quote does that.”
This statement which Srila Sridhara Maharaja made was a concession. Considering the context of the statement and the fact that recent contemplation of the time and circumstance of the writing of theJaladuta poem, seems to nullify the concession. It would seem then that this would be a very weak point to base one’s evidence that one can see the issue in other ways.
“For example, her explanations of how Srila Prabhupada’s expressions of madhurya-rasa actually point to priyanarma are tedious and unnecessarily complicated.”
I don’t agree with this at all. The explanations of priyanarma provide clarity to the discussion. How else could one harmonize the many statements within the totality of evidence? Certainly not by analyzing SP’s poem as his aspiring for gopi-bhava. It has been analyzed quite extensively on quite a few posts now that SP’s expressed sentiments are not consistent with the sentiment of one aspiring for manjari-bhava. Unless some other evidence is brought to the forefront to prove otherwise, what other sentiment can it be expressing but priyanarma and still dignify SP’s correct and realized knowledge of rasa and tattva?
Maharaja is reading a straw man argument in Vrindaranya’s article that is not there. I can see how he made this mistake. If anyone re-reads the section he takes issue with they will see it as well. He writes that he gave many reasons in support of his position but that it will be sufficient to discuss only one now. Again, look carefully at the one he has chosen to address and it’s clear that he has misunderstood the point Vrindaranya made. So it may not be sufficient for him to address only one point.
The following sentences in Maharaja’s article are truly loaded with negative implications and positioning.
“To keep my paper brief, I will limit my response to one example, where “Sakhyam’s Razor” shreds only a straw man and not my actual argument. There is little need to get into more. Although I gave many reasons to support my case, to address only one now will be sufficient.”
As one senior Godbrother wrote to me concerning the above,
“His making the one thing he responds to a sort of symbol for an innumerable list of faults he can’t take time to address is a rhetorical device. I don’t think it serves him well.”
I feel the vada Maharaja writes about is conspicuous by its absence in this article. Anyway I have my foot on the break here. So I will leave it at that.
I found this response to be pretty disappointing in its lack of substance. Maharaja failed to directly address the refutations Vrindaranya made and instead focussed on peripheral issues. She clearly demonstrated that Maharaja’s contention that it is reasonable to look at the evidence in other ways was a forced interpretation.
I think Maharaja’s concerns about discussing this issue in public are a bit late in coming since he is the one who posted his original reply to Babhru’s article on his blog. He could easily have chosen to send his response to Babhru privately. Once entering the public domain it’s totally unreasonable to think that it should not be discussed.
I still owe Dhanurdhara Maharaja a response. That I haven’t organized the time to compose it yet may serve as a lesson in keeping our lives simple, so we may focus our attention more sharply on those things that advance our surrender. I admit that, especially in light of our long association, postponing my response must seem discourteous to many. I intend no disrespect, either to Dhanurdhara Swami or his argument.
In the meantime, I want to reply very briefly to his restatement of the claims he made in his review. Here he writes,
With regard to the first claim, I feel my own claims were somewhat more modest than Maharaja makes them out to be. Rather than attempting to show there are no other possible explanations, I argue that the preponderance of the external evidence to which we have access seems to indicate a particular affinity in Srila Prabhupada’s character. I don’t claim other explanations are impossible; I do argue that the attempts to screw other explanations out of the evidence we have are, as Vrindaranya says, unnecessarily convoluted. To make more of my own claim than I intend seems to create a straw-man version, although I doubt that’s Maharaja’s intention.
Regarding his second claim, as I explain in the booklet, I have never discussed such things with more than a handful of devotees with whom I have quite confidential relationships. However, certain parties’ claims that Srila Prabhupada’s relationship with Krishna must be in madhurya bhava moved me to bring the body of evidence I’ve found to the forefront. In fact, it is their insistence that any explanation other than their own is impossible that is primarily responsible for my writing “O My Friend!”
There is more to say, and I am working on that, although rather carefully.
If our Srila Prabhupada is a shaka, our disciplic succession would be like this?
Srila Rupa Goswami is Rupa Manjari
Srila Sanatana Goswami is Lavanga Manjari
Srila Gopala Bhatta Goswami is Guna Manjari
Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami is Rasa Manjari
Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami is Rati Manjari
Srila Jiva Goswami is Vilasa Manjari
Srila Lokanatha Goswami is Manjulali Manjari
Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami is Kasturi Manjari
Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura is Champaka Manjari
Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura is Vinoda-Vallari Manjari
Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji is Rasika Manjari
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is Kamala Manjari
Srila Gaurakishora Dasa Babaji is Guna Manjari
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur is Nayana-mani Manjari
Srila B. Prajñana Kesava Goswami Maharaj is Vinoda Manjari
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada IS A SHAKA (A COWBOY between manjaris?)
Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaj is Ramana Manjari.
You left out Nityananda Prabhu and Baladeva Vidyabhusana. And there are many other prasadas in sakhya rasa who started lineages you have neglected to mention. For example, all of the Dvadasa Gopalas started Gaudiya lineages. In fact they were the first to start initiating under the guidance of Nitai. Do you think their influence within the sampradaya just evaporated? Evidence from the lotus mouth of Srila Prabhupada speaking about himself says it did not. And he was born in a sakhya rasa Vaisnava family tied to the Dvadasa Gopala Uddharana Datta Thakura. The Thakura’s community received a special blessing from Nitai. Thus very strong evidence for a sakhya rasa bhakti samskara is present in the life of Srila Prabhuapda.
But furthermore, comments like this that are not so well thought out and ignore the all of the many points raised in the series of articles this one is connected with do not add much to the discussion.
Here us a direct excerpt from the book Acharya Kesari Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Goswami, His life and teachings… Pg. 308
ALL GAUDIYA VAISNAVAS ARE RUPANUGA ON THE BASIS OF BHAGAVATA-PARAMPARA ONLY!
Each and every Gaudiya Vaisnava is PROUD to call himself ‘rupanuga’. But let us consider this point: How many disciples did Sri Rupa Gosvami initiate by the Pancaratrika method? The fact is that Sri Jiva Gosvami is his one and only diksa disciple, and he himself is not actually a diksa disciple of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So on what basis do members of the Gaudiya Vaisnava community accept Sri Rupa Gosvami as their Guru? How is it possible to be a follower of Sri Rupa Gosvami and at the same time be a follower of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu? Even Sri Sanatana Gosvami, who is the siksa-guru of Sri Rupa Gosvami, has no second thoughts about calling himself rupanuga. The basis of all these examples is one- bhagavat parampara. It is only on the basis of Bhagavat-parampara that Sri Rupa Gosvami is the disciple of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and that the Gaudiya Vaisnava community considers, Sri Rupa Gosvami to be THEIR guru!
Who is the Pancaratrika-diksa-guru of Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraj Gosvami? We cannot say, because he has not mentioned the name of his Pancaratrika-diksa-guru in any of his literatures, but he has named his siksa-gurus in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Adi Lila 1.37
“these six gurus (the Six Gosvamis of Vrndavana) are my siksa gurus and I offer countless obeisances at their lotus feet.”
At the end of each chapter of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta he had written
Sri-rupa-raghunatha-pade yara asa
Caitanya Caritamrta kahe krsna dasa
In these statements he has accepted Sri Rupa Gosvami and Sri Raghunatha Das Gosvami as his main Siksa-gurus. Thus he has also accepted them as gurus on the basis of Bhagavat-parampara.
From these facts it becomes thoroughly obvious that Bhagavat-parampara, which includes Pancaratrika parampara, always shines forth brilliantly. What can we say, then, about those who ignore these facts, about those who cast aspersions on the guru-pranali of Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, and about those who doubt that they are rupanuga Vaisnavas? Such people are certainly staunch opponents of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and secret agents of Kali!
Thus whatever opinion my most worshipful Srila Gurudeva has written on the subject of the guru-pranali of Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana, and also in regards to Pancaratrika-guru-parampara and Bhagavat-parampara, is both fully in agreement with the established conclusions of the scriptures (sastra-siddhanta).
I am not sure what point you are trying to make by citing this. I guess you want to say that “our” guru parampara begins with Rupa Goswami and thus you feel justified in excluding Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu among others and specifically any influence of sakhya rasa. But Gaura and Nitai are he samasti gurus of the entire Gaudiya sampradaya. They cannot be excluded. Nityananda Prabhu started the sampradaya and his influence of sakhya-bhava is present within it. Thus sometimes it makes its appearance on down the line. I don’t think you can argue that away, especially when there is so much other evidence to support this. For example, others that are in sakhya rasa and of course the personal testimony of Prabhupada concerning his own affinity for sakhya rasa and the concurring opinion of his siksa guru.
My point in raising the name of Baladeva Vidyabhusana is that you left him our because you don’t know if he is in manjari-bhava. And although you may not be aware of it, others have reasoned that he is in sakhya rasa, although not conclusively. For example, he is identified by BHaktivinode Thakura with Gopinatha Acarya, who is also identified with Brahma by Kavi Karnapura. Brahma in turn asks for sakhya rasa at the time of his initiation:
yāvat sakhā sakhyur iveśa the kṛtaḥ
“O Lord! You have treated me as a friend treats a friend, by touching me with your hand, though I am just a shadow of a servant! May I attain bhakti with a feeling of friendship!
And let me offer one correction: At the end of Cc Krsnadasa Kaviraja glorifies the Goswamis, as he does throughout the text, but therein he distinguishes Raghunatha dasa Goswami as his guru:
śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya, śrī-yuta nityānanda
śrī-svarūpa, śrī-rūpa, śrī-sanātana
śrī-guru śrī-raghunātha, śrī-jīva-caraṇa
nija-śire dhari’ ei sabāra caraṇa
yāhā haite haya saba vāñchita-pūraṇa
“So that my desires may be fulfilled, I place the lotus feet of these personalities on my head: Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, with Lord Nityānanda, Advaita Ācārya and Their devotees, as well as Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, who is my spiritual master, and Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī.”
And incidentally, the diksa line of Raghunatha dasa stems from Dhanajaya Pandita, one of the dvadasa Gopalaa in sakhya rasa.
Finally, the term “rupanuga” has a narrow and broad interpretation. All Gaudiyas follow Bhaktirasmrta-sindhu and in this sense follow Rupa Goswami. And this is how Prabhupad always used the term, as opposed to using in to refer more narrowly only to those following the bhava of Rupa manjari.
Excerpts from Rupanuga Sampradaya by Srila Sridhar Maharaja:
“Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Our Guru Maharaj (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura), he was always Rupanuga, Rupanuga, Rupanuga. Raganuga, and then Rupanuga, particular. Generally Raganuga, and then particularly Rupanuga.
That is our paricara, identification, our nature. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says,”I run to get admission under the management, administration of Rupa Goswami.” Who runs? He who has got such aspiration. He runs to become enlisted in the group of Sri Rupa, who has got such sort of prospect.”
“Devotee: Is it possible to have two rasas in the spiritual world?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: It is not seen generally. The permission is possible. In the first stage, it may not be detected and this is a great problem to us, and a great guidance to us. Anyhow, we have come to a group which is exclusively the group of madhurya rasa. The guru-parampara you see, not of vatsalya rasa, but to madhurya rasa. Or the mantram, leading to madhurya rasa. Madhurya rasa is all-accommodating rasa, and that was mainly given by Mahaprabhu, and also Rupa, so Mahaprabhu, and also Rupanuga Sampradaya had the mantram, what we get, all rasa combined, and to help that rasa, the service of that rasa, other paraphernalia has been created.
Adi rasa, and mukhya rasa. Two paricaya: denominations of the work of rasa. They are identical. Adirasa means that is the most original rasa – madhurya rasa. And mukhya rasa, the principle rasa is madhurya rasa. And the zenith of all rasa is found there. Our guru parampara is all in all madhurya rasa, and the mantras that are given to us are all in madhurya rasa, so that is the real work. Anarpita ciram cirat karunaya vartina kalau – Mahaprabhu came to give what was not previously given. That Radha Govinda, they came to jointly give the type of divine love to the public. “If you have such a qualification you can come up to this, the highest quarter.” That was the necessity of Sri Gauranga, to distribute that. All others are subservient, helping that rasa of Krsna. So, in our childhood, when not sufficiently developed, we may run here and there, but ultimately, we shall mostly go there.”
The Rupanuga Sampradaya, in full, is to madhurya rasa!
Excerpts from “Sri Guru and His Grace”:
“Devotee: Maharaj, it has been clear now, in a way, that Prabhupada (Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj) was in the sakhya rasa?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: At least temporarily he has showed like that. What he has expressed there in that journey there, it is almost clear that he liked that sort of lila best, but it may be, it might have been suppressed purposely; it also cannot be denied, maybe. That is one thing. There may be such a possibility, and he has given, he has said that Radharani was his gurudeva. His gurudeva was Radharani, but he himself was thinking that perhaps madhurya rasa should not be distributed in the first instalment. That might have been his view.
Because his preaching was mostly helped by Nityananda Prabhu, Baladeva, so influenced by their tendency, their mood, he might have for the time being had that footing. And another thing: there is another sign that he showed affinity for sakhya rasa. In Vrndavana, he has installed Baladeva, Krsna Balarama, and Nitai Gaura. Sakhya rasa preference. That also may be with the previous idea: that generally, by the influence of Nityananda, Nityananda and Baladeva has helped me to preach the lila of Krsna in such a broad way, so in gratitude, he might have place that vigraha.”
“….So Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had laid stress amongst the Westerners on devotion to Nityananda. First, we must get His mercy. And then, afterwards, we can get the mercy of Radha-Krishna. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu means Radha-Krishna (sri krsna chaitanya radha-krsna nahe anya). First achieve the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu, and then Gauranga Mahaprabhu, and then Sri Radha Govinda. In these three stages, we must raise ourselves up.” (“Sri Guru and His Grace” – ‘The Original Guru’)
“Devotee: Should the disciple conceive of his gurudeva as an uttama-adhikari situated on the topmost level of devotional service?
Srila Sridhara Maharaj: Yes, and not only should he see his gurudeva as an uttama-adhikari, a devotee of the highest order, but he will even see gurudeva as the special delegation of the Lord Himself, or of His supreme potency. In the madhurya-rasa, he will ultimately see his gurudeva as Radharani’s delegation, Sri Rupa Manjari.
In this way, there are different visions of our spiritual master. Our vision of our spiritual master varies according to our gradual progress in Krishna consciousness. In the primary stage of devotional service, the order is given to the disciple to see the guru as Krishna Himself (saksad dharitvena samasta sastra).
Yes, most readers are very familiar with the material you have posted. No one is contesting the point hat the Guadiya sampradaya is madhurya centered and that the term rupanuga has the kind of narrow but full interpretation you cite. But this has already been addressed and it is thus already clear that this fact about the sampradaya does not perclude any of its members or acaryas bing in sakhya rasa, especially when that sakhya rasa is mixed with madhurya, as in Prabhupada’s case.
Regarding the opinion of SSM you cite, this is not his personal opinion. It is a position that he suggested for others who wanted to see Prabhupada in madhurya rasa. And there is precedent for this. In his Ujjvala-nilamani tika Sri Jiva Goswami writes,
“I have written according my personal position (on the topic of parakiya/svakiya), but in some places I have written to appease those of another opinion. Those views that are consistent throughout are my views and the rest represent the opinion of others.”
This is exactly what SSM has done. He has consistently stated his own position—that Prabhuapda is in sakhya rasa—but in some places he has spoken to appease others who like to think he is in madhurya rasa. The history to his discourse bears this out, as does a thorough acquaintance with his words on this subject. So the question is, does parakiya exist in the nitya lila (JG); is Prabhupada in sakhya rasa (SM)? And the answer is affirmative in both cases. The opinion that there is no parakiya in Goloka and the opinion that Prabhupada is in madhurya rasa, these opinions are not those of Jiva Goswami or Srila Sridhara Deva Goswami respectively.
And for the sake of clarity, here is the personal opinion of Sridhara Deva Goswami:
Tamal Krsna Maharaja: We had some questions to ask you.
Sridhara Maharaja: Yes.
Sannyasi: The first question is: What happens to the spiritual master after he leaves this world?
Sridhara Maharaja: It is like a theosophical question. I think he [Srila Prabhupada] has given the hint in his own “autobiography.” When he was going to America, on the journey he expressed his feeling to play with Krishna in sakhya-rasa [friendship].
kata bane chutachuti bane khai lutaputi sei din kabe habe mor
“Running and frolicking in the many forests of Vraja I will roll on the ground in spiritual ecstacy. O when will that day be mine.”
When he was passing through the Atlantic he gave vent to these feelings, the salient points in his Vraja-lila. It struck me like that. In Vrindavan sakhya-rasa.
Sridhara Maharaja: It is clearly expressed in these sayings there in the Atlantic. Have you got a copy of that? He discovered the unmanifest, aprakat pastimes in Vrindavan and here he established Krishna-Balaram and Gaur-Nitai. That is indicative of sakhya-rasa. From this we can conclude that he is in sakhya-rasa and he has entered into those pastimes. It is my understanding about his present position he has expressed himself there, his eternal position and the acme of his aspiration has been explicit there.
There is still yet another very important point.
Srila Prabhupada, upon arriving in the West, needed to cut down the jungles of Mayavadism and impersonalism. He also wanted to establish that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, the commentary he used was by sri gaudiya-vedantacarya Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana and not of sri-gaudiya-vaishnava-acarya Sri Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. At the end of his preface to the Bhagavad Gita, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura comments, “…The commentary, written by Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu, which also follows the teaching of Sriman Mahaprabhu, consists mainly of philosophical conceptions. Srila Cakravarti Thakura’s commentary, however, is full of both philosophical conceptions and the mellow of pure love (priti-rasa).”
You speculate here as to why Prabhupada dedicated his Gita commentary to BVB. But I tend to agree with this assessment, while acknowledging that there may be more to it.And of course the two commentaries are different in the way BVT describes them. But this in itself has no hearing on whether PRabhuapda is in sakhya rasa.
The most straightforward approach to coming to a conclusion on this subject is to look at what Prabhupada himself has said. That trumps any other opinion. If your guru said he was in manjari bhava, how much of an ear would you have for someone (whomever) saying otherwise? In this case Prabhupada repeatedly stated he was in sakhya rasa and he aspired to enter the lila in this bhava in his private moments recorded in his written prayer aboard the Jaladutta. Case closed!