Is there only one way to follow Srila Prabhupada?

ASK BVKS | October 20, 2016 |

English; Gauragrama, Telangana, India

Question:

Is there only one way to follow Srila Prabhupada?

ANSWER by HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami: 

Sridham Shyam Prabhu wrote an article which brought my attention to, in which he states that, as he understands, there are not many ways of following Śrīla Prabhupāda but there is one way to follow.

Now...in one sense it’s true. The proper way to follow Śrīla Prabhupāda is with all sincerity aspiring for pure devotional service, and following his instructions. On the other hand there is no stereotype, and Śrīla Prabhupāda gave different instructions to different devotees.

Sometimes on the same subject. For instance within his books, and repeatedly elsewhere, Śrīla Prabhupāda said that sannyāsi should be very strict in the matter of associating with women, which anyone in India up to the present day can understand, unless they are a follower of Osho, who are not much liked by Indian public.

Up to the present day the Indian public don’t like. They don’t mind to be cheated by swamis and sannyāsis, and spiritually, but they don’t like if they mix up with women...up to the present day. This Asaram Bapu Swami was finished not because of the murder cases in his āśram, but it came out about his womanizing. He is not actually a sannyāsi, but he is a holly man (supposed to be) and his illicit mixing with women is not at all appreciated. In South India this Paramahaṁsa Nityānanda was finished when it came about his womanizing, which in the West no one cares at all, but in India...

I’m just coming to the point now...

EXAMPLES
There is one Back to Godhead magazine published in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s presence, in which Sudama Swami...On the order of Śrīla Prabhupāda he led up the Vaikuṇṭha players, a drama troupe which had dance, and which was very much appreciated by Śrīla Prabhupāda, giving the teachings of Kṛṣṇa consciousness in drama form. And in that group there were women, which Śrīla Prabhupāda allow, but did not want in India. But, in the West he allowed it. Different culture. Sudama said to Śrīla Prabhupāda:“...all these women dancing...“, and Śrīla Prabhupāda said „That is your sannyās!“.

It’s right there in Back to Godhead magazine, so, he gave different...
Also, in two days in Vṛndāvan, to one sannyāsi Śrīla Prabhupāda told: „You leave Vṛndāvan! Don’t spend more than three days at any place. Sannyāsi should always be moving.“ The next day, to another sannyāsi he said: „Stay here, manage this project and never leave!“ So, to one he said „Sannyāsi always travels“, and to the other one sannyāsi „Stay here!“.

DIFFERENT EMPHASIS IN DEVOTIONAL SERVICE
So, there may be apparent contradictions. It’s not actually a contradiction, it’s specialized instruction according to service. So, one way to follow...Yes, we should know Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions and follow them, but we should know there is variety within that also. And, we see very exalted followers of Śrīla Prabhupāda who were...they are quite different in their emphasis in devotional service.
Two of most prominent preachers of Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the modern world, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples in the Western world, one is Vaisesika Dasa Prabhu who is a grihasta. Well, he is well known, of course. He very much promotes the distribution of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books. That’s his main focus.
Indradyumna Swami has been a sannyāsi for many years and he also promotes book distribution but within the ambit of his festive programs, which are his main preaching. Doing festivals with hāriṇams, and dances, lots of kīrtan and whole package.
So, their approach, or their life focus in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s service is very different. They are not doing exactly the same thing, but they are both undoubtedly pleasant to Śrīla Prabhupāda, and following him very much.

CONCLUSION
So, one way to follow Śrīla Prabhupāda...In one sense yes, but there may be others, there have to be, actually specializations. Different devotees have different approaches. So, what is the correct stand on this issue? 
I prefer not to take milk from „blood cows“, or sometimes devotees call it „blood milk“ because the cows are killed, but I’m not on a campaign against devotees who take that, because Śrīla Prabhupāda’s said we could take it. On the other hand, he also said we should establish our own farm communities.
So, that should be bonum.

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Question: 1) My question is that why god Krishna is coupled with Radharani in every temple and in every poster. What about his wives Rukmini and Satyabhama. Did Krishna loves only Radharani? What is that reason if my question is wrong? Please pardon me. 2) Why is it that only Lord Krishna in a deity form is worshiped with Srimati Radharani? Lord Balaram an immediated expansion of Lord Krishna, is not with a deity form with his wife in spiritual world?… Expand>

Question:

1. My question is that why god Krishna is coupled with Radharani in every temple and in every poster. What about his wives Rukmini and Satyabhama. Did Krishna loves only Radharani? What is that reason if my question is wrong? Please pardon me.

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāsa Swami:

Well, what about his: “In every temple in every poster Kṛṣṇa is coupled with Rādhārāṇī.” Would be nice if it was. I guess in ISKCON it’s like that, pretty much. What about His wives Rukmiṇī and Satyabhāmā? Well, what about the other wives too? Like Kalindi, Bhadra, Satyā, Mitravinda; there are so many other wives. Rohiṇī. Nāgnajitī is Satyā; it’s another name. I said, didn’t I? Satyā. So, Jāmbavatī; now we got almost all of them. Who was there, Madri? I think that’s pretty much it now. So yeah, and then Rohiṇī, I said is… There are 16,108, so there are eight famous ones. So Rohiṇī is the foremost of the other 16,100. So does Kṛṣṇa only love Rādhārāṇī? Well, it’s point to consider that we in our temples, we have Deities of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, not much of Rukmiṇī and Satyabhāmā. In ISKCON Chennai the Deities are there Kṛṣṇa-Rukmiṇī-Satyabhāmā, because someone donated them at some point. Although when the main temple’s open, they’re going to install Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. We do have Rukmiṇī-Dvārakādhīśa in Los Angeles, but Kṛṣṇa’s laying a flute; and Prabhupāda used to refer to them as Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. 

Yeah, it’s an interesting point that we have Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in every temple. We do have Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in every temple, but at the same time we say that to be very careful in approaching Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Don’t just jump in. So on the one hand, for the public and temples are especially meant for neophytes, so we’re told… The people, they like to come to the temple. They see Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. But on the other hand, we say not to inquire too deeply into these matters, because to understand the actual answer to this requires more than a Bhakti-śāstrīdegree. You have to go up to Bhakti Sārvabhauma, or [you] have to come up to the level of Caitanya Mahāprabhu practically to understand this. So, it’s a very intimate subject. In short we can say that Rukmiṇī, Satyabhāmā, all the queens, all the Lakṣmīs, Sītā – they’re all expansions of Rādhārāṇī. Rādhārāṇī is the ādi-śakti. She’s the original source of all the forms. So, just as Kṛṣṇa’s the source of all Narayana forms, so Rādhā’s the source of all Lakṣmī forms. So when we worship Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, actually we are worshiping also Rukmiṇī and Kṛṣṇa and Satyabhāmā. Rādhārāṇī is all those persons. 

There’s much more to be said about this, but from the way question’s asked, I can understand that to discuss in detail won’t be understood. It’s like someone who’s just a child and just beginning to learn 1+1=2 and they see in some textbook some integral calculus calculations and they hear the word integral calculus and they ask the teacher: “Can you explain integral calculus to us?” So they may have heard the word and they have some vague idea – maybe not even that – but it’s not possible for the teacher to explain that at the student’s present level of understanding. So just very basically we can say that Rādhā is the original form of all the śaktis. But to understand in detail – it’s not that it cannot be understood, but one has to go through various levels of understanding. It’s not that one can immediately come to the highest understanding. 

Question 2. Why is it that only Lord Krishna in a deity form is worshiped with Srimati Radharani? Lord Balaram an immediated expansion of Lord Krishna, is not with a deity form with his wife in spiritual world?

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāsa Swami:

Yeah, Balarāma has His wives, two wives – Revatī and Vāruṇī. And there are temples of Balarāma with Revatī in Vraja, in the Vraja area. But where we worship Balarāma in ISKCON, we mostly worship Him with Jagannatha and Subhadra, who are traditional forms worshiped in this way; and also Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma. To worship Balarāma separately with His wife, that is a special bhava which a few devotees have. Just like some people worship Sītā-Rāma, so some people worship Revatī-Balarāma. Vāruṇī we don’t hear much of.

So again it’s people asking a question which is… Very intricate and esoteric matters which… Unless we first of all understand Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then to understand His intimate personal dealings won’t be possible for us.

(On the photo: Deity of Lord Balarama with His wives Revati and Varuni, Tota Gopinatha temple, Jagannatha Puri, Orissa) 

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