In honour of Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu’s disappearance day, we are presenting an excerpt from a lecture Srila Sridhar Maharaj gave on this occasion.
Student: Maharaj, Rupa Goswami was the Acharya of sambandha-jnan or abhidheya?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: He was the Acharya of abhidheya. Sanatan Goswami is the Acharya of sambandha-jnan, and Raghunath Das Goswami is the Acharya of prayojan. Abhidheya—how we can reach the highest goal, the means to the end—was mainly given by Rupa Goswami. What is that end? That was given by Das Goswami. What is the purpose of our life and our relation with the environment? That was given mainly by Sanatan Goswami. …
Parakiya has been dealt with mostly by Rupa Goswami. Sanatan Goswami dealt with scriptural, law-abiding devotion, and a tinge of anuraga, free love. Rupa Goswami showed and proved that pure, free love is the only way to attain the Absolute in its highest position.
vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād
vṛndāraṇyam udāra-pāṇi-ramaṇāt tatrāpi govarddhanaḥ
rādhā-kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula-pateḥ premāmṛtāplāvanāt
kuryād asya virājato giri-taṭe sevāṁ vivekī na kaḥ
(Sri Upadeshamritam: 9)
“Superior to Vaikuntha is Mathura, where Krishna took birth. Superior to Mathura is Vrindavan, where Krishna performed His Rasa-lila. Superior to Vrindavan is Govardhan, where Krishna plays with Sri Radhika confidentially. And superior to Govardhan is Radha Kunda, which Krishna floods with the ultimate nectar of divine love. Which realised soul will not serve Radha Kunda beside Govardhan Hill?”
In Christianity we are given the Fatherhood of Godhead, but here we are given not only Sonhood of Godhead but His fullness: the Consorthood of Godhead. We are to realise this.
Parents are a particular kind of servant. Filial affection is really service. We can’t ignore this, nor is there need to do so. The Lord must be in the centre, not on the circumference. “He is the Creator. He is the Father. He is above all, up on a perch.” No. He is in the centre. He is always in the centre, and our central thought is in what is called here lust. The centre of our being is love and affection; not in knowledge or power. He must have His central position in the domain of love. From there He controls everything. The controlling of the whole must be from the domain of love, not from power or knowledge. We are to realise that. If we can do so, then we will understand the wealth given to us by Gaudiya Math, Mahaprabhu, and Bhagavatam.
We are to understand that jnan and karma, knowledge and power, are of lower importance. They are a cover of real life; they are not part of real life. Love is our real life; jnan and karma must be subservient to love and beauty. This is the situation of Reality. We are to understand that. Then we will understand what devotion is. Otherwise, we will become a sahajiya, an imitationist—we will simply go on with the fashion of wearing tilak and the garb of a Vaishnava. If at heart we can realise the position of real love, then the faculty of knowledge will be seen as a luxury, a fashion.
It is impossible actually. A finite being can never measure the Infinite. Jnan is sheer folly. It is a ludicrous thing. You, a finite being, want to hold the Infinite in your fist? It is a ludicrous attempt. And karma is our enemy. Any karma we perform digs our grave. The energy with which we serve here digs our grave. It is not connected with the Absolute. Only sharanagati, the method of free love, by which the Infinite will become inclined to come down to us, is a realistic attempt for our development. All else is absurd and injurious—a madman’s gesticulation.