AcaryasMadhvas and Gaudiyas, by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati

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Madhvas and Gaudiyas, by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati

Postby Manonatha Dasa » Sunday 29 January 2017, 7:28

Madhvas and Gaudiyas


Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada

There is a tendency, especially in this country,
to approach the past history of a sect on the
basis of the prima-facie authenticity of the guruparampara
as preserved in the sect. We would
be more scientifically employed if we turned
our attention to obtaining greater information by
comparative study of the different records instead
of resorting to gratuitous assumptions against the
validity of the preceptorial lists.

For this very cogent reason we must accept as
historically valid the existing preceptorial list of the
Madhva Gaudiya Vaishnava sect till its authenticity in
any particular is conclusively impugned by specific
historical evidence. We have had no cause up till
now to doubt the truth of any portion of this list.
This list discloses the fact that the Supreme Lord Sri
Chaitanya accepted Sri Iswara Puri as his preceptor.
Sri Iswara Puri was a disciple of Sri Madhavendra
Puri. Sri Madhavendra Puri is a most renowned
vaishnava. He is, in fact, the great founder of the
society of transcendental lovers who adhere strictly
to their all-absorbing passion for the amorous
transcendental hero, Sri Krishna. This constitutes
a great development of the original doctrine of
Sri Madhvacharya. In spite of this peculiarity of
the teaching of Sri Madhavendra Puri, the list of
the former gurus shows that Sri Madhavendra is
descended from the line of Ananda Tirtha in the
ascetic order of the Madhva Vaishnavas. There is
really nothing against the genuineness of the list
of the gurus of the line of the Madhva Vaishnavas.
Some misguided critic may try to rashly propose
to disconnect Sri Madhavendra from the line of
the gurus of the Madhva Vaishnavas by asserting
that the Madhva sannyasis are known as ìTirthasî
and that no sannyasi of the title ìPuriî can have
admittance into their ecclesiastical order.

But the
solution of this apparent difficulty is offered by an
incident in the authentic career of the Supreme
Lord, Sri Krishna Chaitanya. He is stated to have
embraced the order of the Bharati sannyasis. But
he was also stated to be a disciple of Sri Iswara Puri.
This irregularity is to be ascribed to the practice of
attaching their surnames by the older associations.
The different guru-paramparas show the same
line. So we cannot discredit those records by
basing our arguments on assumptions and ordinary
argument from current practices.

Moreover, whenever there is any congregational
gathering of the different schools of vaishnavas, the
Gaudiya Vaishnavas, as a class, introduce themselves
as belonging to the line of Sri Madhvacharya. These
are hard and indisputable facts and cannot be
lightly explained away by inferences based solely
on certain practices of either sect.

If, however, the Gaudiya Vaishnavas actually
preferred to brand themselves as Madhva Gaudiyas
as a matter of history, inquirers would naturally
be anxious to know whether the servants of
the Gaudiya Vaishnavas subscribe in toto to
the professions and practices of the Madhvas
or whether they differ from the older school in
some other points. In case they have a distinctive
reference, an inquirer should naturally start to make
a list of the differences between the two schools.
This comparison should necessarily be made in
regard to their practical activity, social procedure,
philosophy, theology, and different performances;
in other words, the examination should embrace
both their exoteric and esoteric differences.

If we take up the practical activities of the Madhva
and the Gaudiya Vaishnavas for the purpose of such
comparison, we find that the former are severely
reserved in their propagatory methods, whereas the
latter are vigorous proselytizers. The Madhvas keep
up the old habits and ideas, whereas the Gaudiya
Vaishnavas have advanced towards and utilized
everything for facilitating the true cause of devotion.
The former are very fond of arcana according to the
pancaratrika system, whereas the latter, though not
different in their adoption of arcana, additionally
perform bhajana like the dasakuta section of the
Madhva community. The Gaudiya Vaishnavas give
more stress to bhajana whereas the vyasakuta
section of the Madhvas give stress to arcana. The
habits and customs of the Southern Indian vaishnavas
are different from those of Northern Indian Gaudiya
Vaishnavas, though both of them have a common
base and origin as their guiding principle.

Turning to their respective social procedures, we
find that there is one great point of resemblance.
According to the Madhva community, Brahmins
are alone considered to be eligible for the service
of God. Brahmins are thus in sole charge of the
religious institutions of the sect. They alone conduct
all public and private worship. This is also the
practice of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. But in this
matter also there is an important distinction between
the two. The point has already been referred to in
connection with propaganda and proselytization.

The Madhvas are not prepared to go outside the
pale of the caste Brahmins for imparting initiation
for worship. In this they are in one sense too
narrow in comparison with the method of the
Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Sri Chaitanya accepted all
who possessed the real inclination for leading the
exclusive spiritual life and bestowed on them even
the position and function of the acarya. Thakur
Haridas, the great acarya of the Gaudiya sect, was
a Mohammedan by parentage. Most of the Gaudiya
Vaishnava Gosvamis were not caste Brahmins.

In another respect, however, the Madhva practice
is more lax than the practice of the Gaudiya society.
No person is entitled in the Gaudiya community to
mantra-diksha unless he or she is prepared to submit
unconditionally to follow the instructions of the
acarya in every particular of actual conduct. By this
test, caste Brahmins are also liable to be ineligible for
the service of God in the Gaudiya community if they
are not prepared to give up their unscriptural mode of
life by submitting to the autocratic rule of the acarya.
Gaudiya Vaishnavas claim to follow the essence
of the scriptural varnasrama institution in the
organization of their spiritual society, whereas the
Madhvas follow the hereditary principle which is
seldom applicable in the present age when few
persons possess either the habit or the inclination
to follow the spirit of the sastric regulation. Judged
by the test of loyalty to the spirit of the scriptural
regulation, the Gaudiya community may justly
claim to be far more conservative in their social
practices than the Madhvas. ∑


ó From the article, ìA Word to our Madhwa - Vaishnava Brethrenî,
The Harmonist, Vol. XXXI, Issue No. 18, 14 May 1935.


Thanks to Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu
* Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)

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