Reading works of the previous acaryas

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In the past, as we were young and inexperienced, we questioned whether we should also write and read the books of the great acaryas, such as Sanatana Gosvami or Rupa Gosvami. It was said that we only had to read the Srila Prabhupada books. Obviously and fortunately, we have matured and this has changed, but that concept has remained in my mind for decades. Below we can read what Srila Prabhupada really wanted.

 

Within the past five hundred years, many erudite scholars and acaryas like Jiva Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, Visvanatha Chakravarti, VallabhAcarya, and many other distinguished scholars even after the time of Lord Chaitanya made elaborate commentaries on the Bhagavatam, and the serious student would do well to attempt to go through them to better relish the transcendental messages.[1]

 

A sincere devotee must, therefore, be prepared to hear the Vedic literature like the Upanisads, Vedanta and other literatures left by previous authorities or Gosvamis for the benefit of his progress. Without hearing such literatures, one cannot make actual progress.

And without hearing and following the instructions, the show of devotional service becomes worthless and therefore a sort of disturbance in the path of devotional service. Unless, therefore, devotional service is established on the principles of sruti, smrti, purana or pañcaratra authorities, the make-show of devotional service should at once be rejected. An unauthorized devotee should never be recognized as a pure devotee. By assimilation of such messages from the Vedic literatures, one can see the all-pervading localized aspect of the Personality of Godhead within his own self constantly. This is called samadhi.[2]

 

Those in the most exalted position of devotional service and ecstasy can live with Krishna always by remembering his pastimes. Srila Viswanath Chakravarti Thakur has given us a transcendental literary work entitled Krishna-bhavanamrta, which is full of Krishna’s pastimes. Exalted devotees can remain absorbed in Krishna-thought by reading such books. Any book of Krishna-lila, even this book, Krishna, or our Teachings of Lord Caitanya, is actually solace for devotees feeling separation from Krishna.[3]

 

False devotees think that studying books of the previous acaryas is unadvisable, like studying dry empiric philosophies. But Srila Jiva Gosvami, following the previous acaryas, has inculcated the conclusions of the scriptures in the six theses called the Sat-sandarbhas. False devotees who have very little knowledge of such conclusions fail to achieve pure devotion for want of zeal in accepting the favorable directions for devotional service given by self-realized devotees. Such false devotees are like impersonalists, who also consider devotional service no better than ordinary fruitive actions.”[4]

 

Sri Sanatana Gosvami Prabhu, the teacher of the science of devotional service, wrote several books, of which the Brhad-bhagavatamrta is very famous. Anyone who wants to know about the subject matter of devotees, devotional service and Krishna, must read this book. Sanatan Gosvami also wrote a special commentary on the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam known as the Dasama-tippani, which is so excellent that by reading it one can understand very deeply the pastimes of Krishna in his exchanges of loving activities. Another famous book by Sanatan Gosvami is the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, which states the rules and regulations for all divisions of vaisnavas, namely, vaisnava householders, vaisnava brahmacaris, vaisnava vanaprasthas and vaisnava sannyasis. This book was especially written, however, for vaisnava householders.

… Srila Rupa Gosvami is described as the bhakti-rasacarya, or one who knows the essence of devotional service. His famous book Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu is the science of devotional service, and by reading this book one can understand the meaning of devotional service. Another of his famous books is the Ujjvala-nilamani. In this book he elaborately explains the loving affairs and transcendental activities of Lord Krishna and Radharani.[5]

Actually going to Vrindavana involves taking shelter of the Six Gosvamis by reading Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Vidagdha-madhava, Lalita-madhava and the other books that they have given. In this way one can understand the transcendental loving affairs between Radha and Krishna.[6]

 

Sri Krishna-vijaya is a book of poems considered to be the best poetry book written in Bengal. … It is very valuable for those who are interested in advancing in Krishna consciousness.

… The book Sri Krishna-vijaya was highly praised by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and it is very valuable for all vaisnavas.[7]

[1] Purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.11.

[2] Purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.12.

[3] Krishna Book, page 367.

[4] Purport to Caitanya Caritamrita Adi-lila 2.117.

[5] Purport to Caitanya Caritamrita Adi-lila 5.203.

[6] Purport to Caitanya Caritamrita Adi-lila 8.31.

[7] Purport to Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya-lila 15.99.

 

This is a section of the book “On a Silver Platter”.

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