Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj explains Śrīla Dās Goswāmī Prabhu’s connection with Śrī Guru.
Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj: [Translated from Bengali:] One question is that Dās Goswāmī Prabhu took initiation [from Yadu Nandan Āchārya] …
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: By the will of God it is transferred …
Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj: [Translated from Bengali:] Yes. He went and stayed with Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhu, and the hankering he had and showed for Rūpa Goswāmī he did not have for his own Gurudev. Why is this?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: That is a complicated case. You see, Dās Goswāmī has his first dīkṣā [initiation] from Yadu Nandan Āchārya, a gṛhastha, when he was a gṛhastha himself. This was first, but the Lord takes on different forms according to the change in the disciple to help him in different cases. Dās Goswāmī next went to Mahāprabhu, and then Mahāprabhu handed him over to Svarūp Dāmodar. We may take or say that Yadu Nandan Āchārya was an ordinary Śikṣā-guru, a vartma-pradarśak [shower of the path], the starter, the canvasser, something like a ṛtvik, a representative. He was not the Guru proper, but the Guru’s representative came as Yadu Nandan and helped Dās Goswāmī in the right way. Otherwise, he could not be have been attracted by the charming personality of Mahāprabhu. He then approached Mahāprabhu, and Mahāprabhu we may take as Rādhārāṇī, Kṛṣṇa in the garb of Rādhārāṇī. So, Rādhārāṇī then placed him in the charge of Svarūp Dāmodar, who is Lalitā Devī. Still, we trace that Dās Goswāmī’s tendency is always towards Mahāprabhu. Although Mahāprabhu deputed Svarūp Dāmodar for him, he again approached Mahāprabhu and said, “I can’t understand why You have taken me, snatched me here away from my family. Please give me some definite directions.” Then, Mahāprabhu told him something in a nutshell. “Do this and don’t do this.” And He told him, “What I don’t know, Svarūp Dāmodar knows for certain and elaborately. So, I have rightly deputed him to train you on My behalf.” Mahāprabhu again put Dās Goswāmī in the hands of Svarūp Dāmodar, and then of course, he went on with his bhajan in a very stern manner. Sixteen years after that, after the disappearance of Mahāprabhu, he decided to leave, “I would like to have a glimpse of Vṛndāvan, and then I would prefer to try to finish my life. There is no more prospect to be seen in my future life.” But when he came to Vṛndāvan, he said that he found Mahāprabhu there in Rūpa and Sanātan. And all his plans disappeared. He found, “Mahāprabhu is there!” Specially, he was attracted to to Śrī Rūpa. His internal connection of the most sympathetic chord he found with Rūpa. Thereby, we are taught that, passing through so many ups and downs in the life of a sādhaka, he at last comes to Śrī Rūpa, and there he thinks that he has reached the desired station.
What is the Rūpānuga sampradāya? Mahāprabhu named this Rūpānuga sampradāya. The first disciple of Mahāprabhu is Rūpa Goswāmī. Although Rūpa Goswāmī took formal initiation from Sanātan Goswāmī, Mahāprabhu met Rūpa first and Sanātan second. So, we say “Rūpa Sanātan” and not “Sanātan Rūpa”.
Student: Who was originally the elder out of the two brothers?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Sanātan. But we say “Rūpa Sanātan” because Rūpa received recognition from Mahāprabhu first and then Sanātan did. So, “Rūpa Sanātan”.
Now, what is the real meaning of Rūpanuga sampradāya? You are to hear it and mark it very attentively. Madhura-rasa is the total of all rasas and the most intense of all rasas. It is all-accommodating. Twenty-four hours engagement in service to Kṛṣṇa is only possible in madhura-rasa. There is the possibility of reaction, leisure, ālasyam, tiredness, in all other rasas, even vātsalya-rasa. Sometimes, a mother or father may think, “I am too tired. I shall do the arrangement a little later.” But in madhura-rasa, there is no ālasyam, reaction. Then, there is a difference between Rūpa, a mañjarī, and Lalitā, a sakhī. These are of course things of the very highest order. We do not have the audacity to enter into these subtle points. Still, only because this question has come to me about Raghunāth Dās, by divine arrangement, I am going to say what we understand: when Rādhā-Govinda are alone in union, the sakhīs of the higher order do not approach that place, but the mañjarīs can go. These junior sevikās can go to perform any service necessary there. Because of their lesser age, they are allowed, and the higher friends of Rādhārāṇī keep some respectable distance. So, when Rādhā-Govinda are alone in union, there the highest quality of rasa is to be found in Their līlā, and that is approachable by the juniors, the mañjarīs, and not the sakhīs. So, the highest attainment is to be located in Rūpa, the leader of that group, that junior group who has got the special advantage of special service in that stage. So, Rūpānuga. Wherever we are, we shall have to accept that that is the acme of our fulfilment, that point.
kabe śrī-chaitanya more karibena dayā
kabe āmi pāiba vaiṣṇava-pada-chāyā
[“When will Śrī Chaitanya bestow His grace on me? When will I reach the shade of the Vaiṣṇava’s feet?”]
First, we may be attracted by the highest peak of the Himalayas. Then, when approaching, we see that there are so many other beautiful peaks. So, we are attracted by Kṛṣṇa in general, then from Kṛṣṇa, we come to a proper Vaiṣṇava in a proper location according to the necessity of our innate nature. In this way, Dās Goswāmī came from Mahāprabhu to Svarūp Dāmodar, and then with the permission of Lalitā to Rūpa. This point is the place of our highest attainment, and that has been shown to us by the līlā of Dās Goswāmī Prabhu.
tvaṁ rūpa-mañjari sakhi prathitā pure ’smin
puṁsaḥ parasya vadanaṁ na hi paśyasīti
There are verses written by him, and he has been accepted as the Āchārya of prayojan-tattva, our highest necessity. That is in his hand, in Dās Goswāmī, the Prayojan-tattva-āchārya. But the whole thing must be approached with the mood of divinity, where there is the plane of dedication and nothing of enjoyment. The spirit of pleasure, enjoyment, must not enter there. That will keep us down in this plane of mundane relativity. Divinity to the extreme reaches its zenith there in Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī.
Spoken 14 August 1981.