Submitted by the Harikatha team
[The following is excerpts of a discourse, darsana and letter by Srila Gurudeva, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, wherein he discusses Ananta das Babaji. The darsana was slightly edited for reading clarity.]
A Darsana in Vrndavana, India: 1992
[Click here to hear the soundfile: Srila-bv-narayan-maharaja – Srila-bv-narayan-maharaja-on-ananta-dasa-babaji]
Syamarani dasi: He also wants to know what you think of Ananta das Pandita. The one at Radha Kunda.
Srila Gurudeva: Ananta dasa Pandita. I only know that there is an Ananta dasa Babaji. He lives in Radha Kunda and he has published some books. I know only this. What has your Prabhupada spoken about Ananta Dasa?
Syamarani dasi: I don’t know what he said about him. But he rejects saha…
Gurudeva: I know that Ananta dasa Babaji tells that Mayapura is not the real Mayapura. He says that Pracina Navadvipa (Old Navadvipa, Sriman Mahaprabhu’s birthplace) is on the western side of the Ganges; he says that is the real Mayapura. [Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, with the help of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, found and established Mahaprabhu’s birthplace on the eastern bank]. So you can understand what type of person he is. *[see endnote 1, from Navadvipa-dhama Parikrama book]
[Then, after a few words describing Ananta das Babaji’s physical appearance and apparel:] What does he want to know about him?
Syamarani dasi: He wants to know what you think of his lineage and publications. It seems you have answered.
Srila Gurudeva: There are so many things to say about him. I know that his intelligence is misguided. Even though he cannot understand whether Mayapura is here or there, he makes propaganda against Gaudiya Vaisnavas, like Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura and others. He is hankering for so many disciples and he preaches against Gaudiya Vaisnavism. If any ISKCON member goes to him, he will say, “Oh, come on come on, I will give you babaji vesa.” And if you go, he will give you babaji vesa. [With affectionate sarcasm] Do you want? I will recommend you.
If your Prabhupada were here, he would have fully…what is the word?
Syamarani dasi: Condemned him?
Srila Gurudeva: Condemned him. And then he would have done his sraddha ceremony. Do you know the meaning of Sradha ceremony?
Symarani dasi: The ceremony after death.
Gurudeva: Ah, yes. Your Prabhupada would surely have done this. What more can I say?
Vrndavana, India: October 27, 2007
[The class was originally given in Bengali. To hear the sound file, Srila-bv-narayan-maharaja – 2007027-gopinathbhavan-am-hidieng-damodarast-restored]
Bhakti is of two kinds: bhakti and bhakti-rasa. Unless we have reached suddha-sattva, if rati has not yet come, along with sthayi-bhava (the foundational ecstasy of one’s permanent relationship with Sri Krsna), krsna-priti (love for Krsna), alambana (the coming together of the subject and object of love), udipana (the stimulus for loving the object of love), asta-sattvika-bhava (the eight symptoms of transcendental ecstacy), and vyabhicari-bhava (the thirty-three transitory ecstasies that come and go like the waves of the ocean of love for Krsna), we cannot taste bhakti-rasa.* [see endnote 2]
Nowadays, in so many places, ‘gopi-bhava’ is being given to the people just by their saying, “I am a gopi.” However, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains that only when all our anarthas are removed will we be able to realize, inside our heart, our eternally perfect spiritual body. At that time we will be able to understand who we are. Only after that can we think about asta-kalya-lila (Sri Sri Radha-Krsna’s 24-hour daily pastimes) and gopi-bhava.
These persons are imagining gopi-bhava before all these stages manifest, and therefore they fall down from the right path. In Radha-Kunda, Vrndavana, and other places as well, the Babajis are giving this so-called gopi-bhava to whomsoever comes to them. This so-called gopi-bhava is given to even the most unqualified and foolish persons, who do not know even how to clean themselves after using the toilet.
The most unqualified and ignorant people, even from Gaudiyas, go to Ananta das Babaji Maharaja in Radha-Kunda. They at once take this so-called gopi-bhava and think that everything will be accomplished by this. But they do not know that 99% of all the people at Radha-Kunda have loose character. Therefore, we should be very careful about this matter.
According to the instructions of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and our guru-parampara, if we perform proper sadhana, then ruci will come, along with asakti (pure attachment for Krsna), rati (bhava-bhakti), and sthayi-bhava (foundational ecstacy). Only by this process will there be some progress in bhakti. Alambana and udipana will also come, and then sneha and mamata will manifest. By this bona fide process, you will be able to attract Krsna and have His darsana.
Thereafter, asta-sattvika-bhava (the eight-fold ecstatic symtoms), asru (tears), romanca (bodily hairs standing on end), and kampa (quivering), one by one, will all appear. It was only because all these symptoms appeared in Mother Yasoda that Krsna was able to relish vatsalya-rasa (parental love). Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura describes this process, and he teaches how we can all follow the same path. If we do not follow it, we will surely fall down.
Letter of 2008
[Srila Gurudeva was asked about Ananda das Babaji, and the following is his reply]
My dear disciples of Alachua,
My heartly blessings are for you. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga, all glories to Sri Sri Radha Vinode Bihariji.
In regard to your concerns that are shared by the devotees in Alachua, yes there is no need to go to the babajis. The fortunate living entity who has accepted a bona fide spiritual master in the line of Srila Rupa Gosvami has nothing to gain in Krsna consciousness by associating with the babajis. I have explained all the deviations of the babajis in Sri Prabhanda Pancakam. Please study this carefully with the devotees that have any doubts in this regard.
There are no special mantras to obtain from any babaji. [Regarding Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, Gaura-kisora dasa Babaji, and others and the paramahamsa babajis in Jaiva-dharma, the word ‘babaji’ does not refer to the sahajiya babajis. This address or title is part of the general custom within Vedic culture. ‘Baba’ refers to an elderly, senior person, and ‘ji’ is an address of affection and respect.]
But for those devotees who have not actually taken shelter at the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master and who are not interested to practice the process of bhajana as it has been presented by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, they must become bewildered, and as a result of this they will look for a shortcut to attain the desired goal of bhava-bhakti. Please don’t be bewildered, and help all by carefully studying my classes and Sri Prabanda Pancakam. I have said everything in this booklet. We have freely distributed thousands of copies in Vrndavana3 years ago and there has not been any reply up to this day from anyone. Not even one babaji has dared to reply.
I am very pleased to hear that you all are preaching strongly against this misconception. Please convey my heartily blessings to all the devotees in Alachua, especially to my dear darling daughter Anuradha and her lovely children.
Your ever well-wisher, Swami B.V. Narayan
[For more information on the difference between Gaudiya Vainavism and sahajiyaism, you can download a PDF of Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja’s books, “Discerning the True Sentiments of the Soul” (a collection of his lectures) and “Five Essential Essays” (“Prabanda Panchakam”) from www.purebhakti.com. You can purchase the books themselves from www.bhaktistore.com.]
[Endnote 1: The Geographical Location of Old Navadvipa – excerpts from “Sri Navadvipa-dhama Parikrama” by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
[There has been a century old controversy regarding the location of Old Navadvipa, Sriman Mahaprabhu’s birthplace. The information in this section comes from the book Citre-navadvipa by Sri Saradindu Narayana Raya (published by Sri Caitanya Matha, Mayapura). This information gives conclusive proof that Old Navadvipa was situated on the eastern bank of the Ganga. The English excerpts from the above-mentioned book have been quoted directly. – ed.]
By studying scriptures such as Urddhamnaya Maha-tantra, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and Bhakti-ratnakara it is clear that Old Navadvipa was situated on the Ganga’s (Bhagavati-Bhagirathi’s) eastern bank. The Urddhamnaya Maha-tantra states: “vartateha navadvipe nityadhamni mahesvari, bhagirathi tatepurve mayapurantu gokulam – O Mahesvari, Sri Navadvipa-dhama is eternal, and Mayapura, which is situated on the Bhagirathi’s eastern bank, is the same as Gokula.
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila 1.86) states: “... gaudadese purva-saile karila udaya – ... they arose on the eastern horizon in the land of Gauda.” And Adi-lila 13.97 states: “nadiya-udayagiri, purnacandra gaurahari, krpa kari’ ha-ila udaya – thus by His causeless mercy the full moon, Gaurahari, rose in the district of Nadiya, which is compared to Udayagiri, where the sun first becomes visible.”
Sri Navadvipa-parikrama by Srila Narahari Cakravarti states: sri-suradhunira purva-tire antardvipadika catustaya Sobhakare jahnavira pascikulete koladvipadika panca vikhyata jagate – Antardvipa and three other islands are situated in full splendour on the eastern bank of the Suradhuni (Ganga), and Koladvipa and four other famous islands are on the Jahnavi’s (Ganga’s) western bank.
In the 16th century, during the British Empire’s occupation of India, Sir William Hunter produced an authoritative historical and geographical record of India, focusing on many well known places in Bengal. In this record (Hunter’s Statistical Account, pg 142) he described the geographical position of Navadvipa Town: “It was on the east of the Bhagirathi and on the west of the Jalangi.” In other words, Navadvipa Town was situated on Bhagirathi’s eastern bank and Jalangi’s western bank.
From the explanations in the Nadiya Gazetteer one can understand that Navadvipa was the capital of the kings of the Sena dynasty: “Navadvipa is a very ancient city and is reported to have been founded in A.D. 1063 by one of the Sen kings of Bengal. In the Aini Akbari it is noted that in the time of Laksmana Sena, Nadia was the Capital of Bengal.”
In other words, Navadvipa is an ancient city, said to be founded in 1063 by a king of the Sena dynasty. Aini Akbari also mentions that Navadvipa was the capital of Bengal during the reign of Maharaja Sri Laksmana Sena.
In his Statistical Account (pg. 142) Sir William Hunter also has mentioned that Maharaja Laksmana Sena founded Nadiya in A.D. 1063. The following statement appeared in the Calcutta Review (pg. 398, 1946): “The earliest that we know of Nadia is that in 1203 it was the Capital of Bengal.”
In other words, our first information about Nadiya Town is that it was the capital of Bengal in 1203. In this way much proof supports the fact that old Nadiya, or old Navadvipa, was the capital of the kings of the Sena dynasty and was situated on the Ganga’s eastern bank.
Bhakti-ratnakara is an old and authoritative scripture which was composed by the well-known Srila Narahari Cakravarti Thakura. In its description of Navadvipa-dhama parikrama, Bhakti-ratnakara gives clear evidence to support that Antardvipa Mayapura, which was situated on the Ganga’s eastern bank, was the old Nadiya, or Navadvipa Town. Even today Chand Kazi’s samadhi, Sridhara-angana and other places are situated on the eastern bank. When Srinivasa Acarya and Sri Narottama Thakura performed parikrama with ISana Thakura, they visited Jagannatha-bhavana and the nearby Barakona-ghata, Ganga-nagara and so forth, and without crossing the Ganga, they went to Chand Kazi’s samadhi, Sridhara-angana, Simuliya and other places.]
In 1684 William Hayes, an agent of the East India Company, wrote in his diary about Richard Temple’s old map, which also shows that Navadvipa Town was situated on Bhagirathi’s eastern bank.
In 1572, Kavi-karnapura wrote his famous play Sri Caitanya-candrodaya. From the geographical description given there it is clear that the old Navadvipa, or Nadiya Town, was situated on the Ganga’s eastern bank and that Kuliya-grama was situated on the western bank.
Sri Vrndavana dasa Thakura compiled Sri Caitanya-bhagavata just a few years after the disappearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. From the descriptions in this book one can get to know the geographical location of Navadvipa and nearby places. Everyone accepts that the samadhi of Chand Kazi, who was a contemporary of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, is situated in Vamana-pukura (also known as Brahmana-pukura and Brahmana-puskarini). According to Sri Caitanya-bhagavata’s narration of Chand Kazi’s defeat, Sriman Mahaprabhu took a large sankirtana party to Chand Kazi’s residence, but there is no mention that they crossed the Ganga.
From the above-mentioned proofs it is clear that the place indicated by Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Sri Mayapura-dhama is the actual place of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Antardvipa Mayapura
Sri Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s eternal intimate associate, is revered as the Seventh Gosvami who again inaugurated the flow of the Bhagirathi of bhakti. He appeared in this world to manifest Mahaprabhu’s holy name (gaura-nama), His innermost desire (gaura-kama) and His holy abode (gaura-dhama). Like Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana, he wanted to reside in Vraja and perform bhajana there. On his way to Vraja-mandala he came to a deity of Lord Siva, Mahadeva Sri Tadakesvara, a short distance from Kolkata. That night Sri Mahadeva appeared to him in a dream and requested him to reveal Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s appearance-place. He also told him to remain in Gauda-mandala and perform bhajana. Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura placed Sri Tadakesvara’s instruction upon his head and returned to Sridhama Navadvipa. There, in Godrumadvipa, he constructed a small hut and began performing bhajana, eager to find Sriman Mahaprabhu’s appearance-place. He wrote in his autobiography:
“I was very anxious to find Sriman Mahaprabhu’s appearance-place. I went to Navadvipa (the present Navadvipa Town) and with much endeavour made some investigation, but was unable to find any trace of it. Thus I became very unhappy. Nowadays the people of Navadvipa are only busy filling their bellies. They know nothing about Sriman Mahaprabhu’s pastime-places, nor do they endeavour to learn about them. One day after twilight, at ten o’clock, Kamala and I, together with one clerk, were standing on the roof of the Rani Dharmasala looking about. It was very dark and the sky was filled with clouds. Then, across the Ganga towards the north I saw an effulgent mansion. I asked Kamala, ‘Did you see something?’ He answered, ‘I became awestruck to see an effulgent mansion on the other side of the Ganga towards the north.’ In the morning I again went to the roof of the Rani Dharmasala and attentively looked towards that place. I was unable to see the effulgent mansion, but I could see a palm tree there. When I inquired from others about that place, they said it was called Ballala-dighi and that one can still see many traces of King Laksmana Sena’s old fort there. The coming Monday I went to Krsna-nagara and the following Saturday I went straight from there to Ballala-dighi. That night I beheld a wondrous sight. Sriman Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Sri Advaita Acarya, Sri Gadadhara and the other devotees were completely absorbed in chanting and dancing ecstatically. Everyone’s eyes were filled with tears. The tumultuous sound of “Hari Bol!” and the sound of mrdangas and kartalas maddened the devotees. After sometime that sight disappeared from my eyes.
“The next day I walked to those places to take darsana of them and asked the elderly locals about them. They told me that this was Sriman Mahaprabhu’s birthplace. I visited all the small villages mentioned in Bhakti-ratnakara as well as those mentioned in Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura’s Sri Caitanya-bhagavata. Thereafter I sat in Krsna-nagara and compiled the book Sri Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya and sent it to be printed in Kolkata. I told Sri Dvarika Babu, an engineer from Krsna-nagara, about my findings. He could understand everything I said and on the strength of his intelligence he produced a map of Sri Navadvipa-mandala. I wandered throughout Navadvipa-dhama and wrote the Dhama-mahatmya, because at that time I could do nothing else.”
In Godruma, 1893, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura performed a great harinama-sankirtana festival under the auspices of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja. At that time Sri Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja went with many Vaisnavas to take darsana of Sri Mayapura. Overwhelmed by ecstatic sentiments, he himself pointed out Mahaprabhu’s birthplace, the lost Yogapitha-Mayapura. The 144-year-old Babaji Maharaja became overwhelmed with ecstasy and jumped into the air, crying out, “This is the birthplace of Gauracandra, our very life and soul!” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, many famous writers of Bengal, many high-posted government officers, editors of famous magazines and others witnessed the event. Amongst them was Sri Syamalala Gosvami, the great and erudite Vaisnava. Also present were Sri Sasibhusana Gosvami, Sri Radhikanatha Gosvami, Sri Vipina Bihari Gosvami, Sri Raya Vanamali, Sri Raya Bahadura, Sri Sisira Kumara Ghosa, Sri Dvarikanatha Sarakara and Sri Naphara Kumara. Some huts were eventually made here and the temple construction began. Gradually, faithful devotees from the various states of India came here to take darsana and now, crowds of people come from all over the world to this holy place.]
An excerpt from Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu, Verse 14, Sri Bindu-vikasini-vrtti:
When krsna-rati, or in other words the sthayibhava (the permanent emotion of the heart in one of the five primary relationships of santa, dasya, sakhya, and so on), becomes exceedingly tasty for the devotee by virtue of the elements known as vibhava, anubhava, sattvika-bhava, and vyabhicari-bhava, induced through the medium of sravana (hearing), kirtana (chanting), and so on, it is called bhakti-rasa. In other words, when the sthayibhava or krsna-rati mixes with vibhava, anubhava, sattvika-bhava, and vyabhicari-bhava and becomes fit to be tasted in the heart of the devotee, it is called bhakti-rasa.
Components of bhakti-rasa
Sthayibhava – The permanent sentiment in one of the five primary relationships of santa (passive adoration), dasya (servitude), sakhya (friendship), vatsalya (parental affection), or madhurya (amorous), which is known as mukhya-rati. This also refers to the dominant sentiment in the seven secondary mellows (gauna-rati) of laughter, wonder, chivalry, compassion, anger, fear, and disgust.
Anubhava – Visible actions that illustrate the spiritual emotions situated within the heart (dancing, singing, and so on).
Sattvika-bhava – Eight symptoms of spiritual ecstasy arising exclusively from visuddha-sattva, or in other words, when the heart is overwhelmed by emotions in connection with mukhya-rati or gauna-rati.
Vyabhicari-bhava – Thirty-three internal spiritual emotions, which emerge from the nectarean ocean of the sthayibhava, cause it to swell, and then merge back into that ocean.
Vibhava – That in which rati is tasted and the cause by which rati is tasted are called vibhava. Vibhava is of two varieties: (1) alambana (the support or repository of rati) and (2) uddipana (that which stimulates or excites rati).
An excerpt from Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja’s purport to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 23.51:
In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (2.1.14), vibhava is described as follows:
tatra jseya vibhavas tu raty-asvadana-hetavah
te dvidhalambana eke tathaivoddipanah pare
The cause bringing about the tasting of love for Krsna is called vibhava. Vibhava is divided into two categories: alambana (support) and uddipana (awakening).
In the Agni Purana it is stated:
vibhavyate hi raty-adir yatra yena vibhavyate
vibhavo nama sa dvedhalambanoddipanatmakah
That which causes love for Krsna to appear is called vibhava. That has two divisions – alambana (in which love appears) and uddipana (by which love appears).
In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (2.1.16), the following is stated about alambana:
krsnas ca krsna-bhaktas ca budhair alambana matah
raty-ader visayatvena tathadharatayapi ca
The object of love is Krsna, and the container of that love is the devotee of Krsna. Learned scholars call them alambana – the foundations.
Similarly, uddipana is described as follows:
uddipanas tu te prokta bhavam uddipayanti ye
te tu sri-krsna-candrasya gunas cestah prasadhanam
Those things which awaken ecstatic love are called uddipana. Mainly this awakening is made possible by the qualities and activities of Krsna, as well as by His mode of decoration and the way His hair is arranged (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 2.1.301).
Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (2.1.302) also gives the following further examples of uddipana:
Krsna’s smile, the fragrance of His transcendental body, His flute, bugle, ankle bells and conch-shell, the marks on His feet, His place of residence, His favorite plant [tulasi], His devotees, and the observance of fasts and vows connected to His devotion all awaken the symptoms of ecstatic love. ]