Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj succinctly summarises the fundamental levels of gradation in the Gaudiya sampradaya’s siddhanta in his 1956 Vyasa Puja offering for Bhagavan Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur.
On Srila Prabhupad’s Eighty-Second Appearance Day
Translated from the original Bengali article
published in Sri Gaudiya Darshan,
Volume 1, Issue 8, Sunday, 11 March 1956.
“All endeavours in this world are worthless and unhelpful”—to make such a conclusion is to support or endorse sayujya-mukti [dissolution into the Absolute]. By immediately accepting this conception as correct, all worship, celebration, and joyful movement become meaningless. With the bold declaration, “Everything is illusory or a function of ignorance”, Sri Shankaracharya made this conception even more clear. Now, if we can truly realise the distinction between abstract meditation and a life of service to the Lord, then we will be able to appreciate the words of Sri Gaudiya Math’s Acharya. The Supreme Lord is not part of this world. Rather, all universes exist within a part of Him. Still, by His inconceivable power, He lives like us, or comes near us, to accept our service. The attempt of a tiny soul to measure His power is simply a laughing matter. It is for this reason that Sri Chaitanaydev advised souls to practise jnana-shunya-bhakti [‘knowledge’-free devotion]. Otherwise, souls, proud of their knowledge, go to measure the Infinite, become bewildered, are deprived of the opportunity and means for a tasteful life, and end up feeling compelled to lead a useless life pursuing the dissolution of the self in sayujya-mukti. Sri Chaitanyadev advised that the only way it is possible for a finite being to maintain its individuality and move with the Infinite is to practise loving service (prema-seva) that is free from exploitation and renunciation (karma and jnan). There is no comparison anywhere to the Vraja-gopis’ loving service. Uddhava and the Lord’s other great devotees profusely praise the Vraja-gopis’ fortune. Furthermore, amongst the gopis, Sri Radhika’s acts of love are unparalleled. If one can accept servitude to Her, then one will taste and feel the joy of intimate service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krishnachandra. This is the ultimate aim—in brief it is the culmination of Sri Gaudiya Math’s message and acquisition. Making this statement in simple language is a matter of discontent for many. Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Vyasadev’s final instructions, and its Acharya, Lord Sri Chaitanyadev, however, are the original proponents and promoters of this conception. On his eighty-second appearance day, I pray to become, birth and after birth, a speck of dust at the lotus feet of the best of the Acharyas, who endeavoured by all means throughout his life to teach everyone these nectarean precepts and induced blind and unwilling souls like myself to drink just a little bit of such nectar.
adadanas trinam dantair idam yache punah punah
srimat prabhu-padambhoja-dhulih syam janma-janmani*
“Taking a blade of grass between my teeth, I pray again and again, “May I be a particle of dust at Srila Prabhupad’s lotus feet birth after birth.”
—Tridandi-bhiksu Sri Bhakti Raksak Sridhar
Editor’s Note: This verse is an amended form of Srila Das Goswami Prabhu’s prayer to Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu. Rupa has intentionally been changed to Prabhu to indicate the author’s aspiration to serve Srila Prabhupad and Srila Prabhupad’s position as the modern representative of Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu.