The Line of Sri Rupa
Continued extract from Sri Guru and His Grace, Chapter Fourteen
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Then, there is another stage for which we should be prepared. Why should we try to enter into the camp of Radharani? Should we think that there, in that better atmosphere, we shall have Krishna's presence more confidentially? Should we think, "I will have contact with Krishna very intimately?" Should we want to enter into that camp? No - we want to avoid the connection of Krishna, but concentrate on the service of Radharani. Why? What more benefit is possible there in the service of Radharani? If we approach Krishna directly to give service to Him, we shall be losers. Radharani's service to Krishna is of the highest order in every way. If we devote our energy to help Radharani, our energy will be utilised in Her service. In this way, She will serve Krishna with Her service more enhanced. Then the reciprocation will pass to us through Her as our reward. That will be devotion of the highest type (mahabhava).
So, the general inclination of the sakhis, the confidential maidservants of Radharani, is not to come in direct connection with Krishna. They avoid that. But still, it is the benevolent and generous nature of Radharani to connect them with Krishna on some plea at some time or other. But their innate nature is always to avoid Krishna and concentrate on the service of Radharani. This is confirmed in the Chaitanya-charitamrta (Madhya 8. 209):
"By nature, Srimati Radharani is just like a creeper of love of Godhead, and the Gopis are the twigs, flowers and leaves of that creeper." Eternally the twigs, flowers and leaves sprout from the creeper of Srimati Radharani. She is the trunk, and they are branches. This is their relationship.
Yet still, there is another, higher thing. We are known as rupanugas, or the followers of Sri Rupa. Why? The service of Srimati Radharani eliminates everything, even Narayan, to go to Krishna. There is the Krishna of Dvaraka, the Krishna of Mathura, and the Krishna of Vrindavan. Then again in Vrindavan, where there is free mixing without hesitation in other camps, Radharani's camp is the highest. Eliminating all other camps, direct service to Radharani is considered to be the highest. Still, there is another point.
Srila Rupa Goswami - Sri Rupa Manjari
Who is Rupa? Rupa Manjari. Generally the hierarchy in the spiritual world is eternal. New recruits can occupy a particular rank of manjari, assistant, in madhura-rasa. And the leader of the manjaris is Sri Rupa Manjari. What is the special feature in the manjari camp which is not found among the sakhis, girlfriends of Krishna? First there is Radharani, then the camp of her right-hand personal attendant, Lalita. Then, under Lalita, there is Sri Rupa Manjari. What is the unique position of the followers of Sri Rupa? The new recruits can attain to that status. Now, the privilege of this manjari class we are to conceive most respectfully and attentively.
When Radha and Govinda are in secrecy, in a private place, the sakhis, who are well-versed in the art of that kind of play because they are a little grown-up, do not like to approach there to disturb their confidential mixing. If the more grown-up sakhis enter there, both Radha and Govinda will feel shy. So their presence may create some disturbance. But the younger girls can enter there, and then Radha and Govinda have no hesitation in free mixing. So in that highest stage of the mixing of Radha-Govinda, the free play of Radha-Govinda, these manjaris, the younger girls, can have admission. But the grown-up sakhis cannot have admission there. New recruits may come up to the manjari class. And the manjaris have that sort of special advantage under the leadership of Sri Rupa Manjari. So, they get the best advantage there. The most sacred type of pure service, which is not open even to the sakhis, is open to the manjaris. That is found in Radharani's camp. So, the position of the rupanugas, the followers of Sri Rupa, is the most profitable position. That has been given out by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. That has been shown by Him, and that is fixed as the highest limit of our fortune in Krishna's concern. This is unexpectable, undesignable and beyond hope, but our prospect lies there in that subtle camp of Sri Rupa Manjari, Rupa Goswami.
So, the camp, the sampradaya of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is known as the Rupanuga Sampradaya. There our fate and our fortune is located. Now we have to conduct ourself in such a way that naturally we can connect with that highest, purest spiritual conception from here. We must not allow ourselves to be satisfied with anything less than this highest ideal. That should be the highest goal of our life. And we must adjust our approach from our present position.
We are minors. Our father has left us with so many important documents about the properties we are to inherit. As minors, we should try to find out what properties belong to us in those documents. When we come of age, then we shall take possession of our rightful inheritance. The raganuga-sastra, the Scriptures of spontaneous devotional love, has been given to us, left to us, by our Guru, our guardian, our father. And as we grow more and more in the spiritual line, we will have to detect what is our prospect, what is our real wealth. We must recover that. We must have that. It is there in the document. It is ours. This is our position. We are minors, but we must become majors and demand the service meant for us by our guardians.
Devotee: We are putting in our claim with you. We think that in the absence of our father, the court has appointed a guardian, in order to keep us out of mischief and also to regulate our inheritance.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: This is not mine. This is the property of my Gurudev. And Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad gave you a clue. He has distributed the key widely, and given a clue: "With the key come and open the iron chest and find out what valuable ornaments and gems are within the chest." Of course, no one will understand us when we say such things. Who will come to appreciate? They'll say, "Oh, this is all the product of a disorganised brain. These people are trying to take electricity from the sky, leaving aside this concrete earth. They are like the chatak bird." Rupa Goswami says that there is a class of bird known as chatak, who never take a drop of water from the earth. Their nature is that whenever they want a drop of water, they always cast their eyes to the clouds. "One drop of pure water!" - that is their cry. And so they wait, with their beaks towards the sky, towards the clouds. And they never use any water from the earth. So, our line is like that. The spirit of that bird is described in the following way by Rupa Goswami:
A Drop of Your Grace
"You may punish me, O cloud, you may punish me. If a thunderbolt comes, I'll be nowhere. You can throw down thunder or you can give me water. But how much can I drink with my small beak? A flood of rain may come. O, Lord of the poor, Lord of the helpless, you can give me a drop of your devotion, or you may punish me like anything."
He is always praying for water. The cloud may satisfy him immediately or, by sending a thunderbolt, it may finish him and efface him from the earth. The bird has no other alternative by nature. So he says, "My position is also like that bird. O Krishna, You may finish me, destroy me, efface me from the world, or You may save me by only a drop of Your grace. I won't search after my satisfaction in the mud. That is finished. I will never go back to search my fortune in the earth, in the mundane. I am already fixed to do or die. Either I must receive a drop of Your grace, or You may finish me." In this way, Srila Rupa Goswami prays that Krishna's mercy will descend like rain from the clouds, and not only quench his thirst, but bathe him, satisfy his utmost hankering, and fulfil his innermost necessity. So, we should never search for our fortune in the mud. We must always look to the high sky and pray for Sri Guru and his grace.
Link: Chapter Twelve of Affectionate Guidance, 'Our Lord's Beloved Power,'
Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip
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