Overview of theories and claims: Rasa of Srila Prabhupada

There are several theories: cover, inclusion, multiplicity and vision. What the theories have in common is that they are theories from the madhurya-rati-side to explain why Srila Prabhupada was expressing sakhya-rati in the Jaladuta prayer (and elsewhere).

The saktyavesa (cover) theory actually comes from Srila Sridhara Maharaja, and Mukunda Prabhus contribution builds upon this. The theory propounds that Srila Prabhupada was empowered by Nityananda Prabhu. This empowerment  covered his natural (manjari) mood when he composed the Jaladuta Prayer so he could express sakhya rasa.

The inclusion theory comes from Gurudeva which says that Srila Prabhupada could express sakhya-rati because all five sthayi-ratis are included in madhurya-rati.

“On the platform of conjugal love, the devotee offers his body in the service of the Lord. Thus on this platform the transcendental qualities of all five rasas are present.”

CC Madha 19.232

The multiplicity theory is presented by Sripad Nemi Maharaja where he argues that an acarya can be in and manifest several rasas. He reasons that just as we see in Gaura-lila that several people were present in the body of for example Sri Ramananda Raya, the same might be true for Srila Prabhupada. A manjari inside Srila Prabhupada may then have related with Gurudeva, whereas a cowherd boy within him wrote the Jaladuta prayer and all the other things.

The vision theory argues that those who aspire for a certain rasa will see their guru accordingly. Here an example from Jaiva-dharma is quoted:  Babaji Maharaja appeared to Brajanath as “the personification of Subala”, and to Vijaya Kumar as “as the personification of Sri Lalita-devi.”

In the debate there have been made a multitude of different subjects:

Who is rupanuga?
The main contention in the debate have been who can be called rupanuga where there are different definitions of rupanuga.

Higher, lower and mixed rasa
There is a division of rasa for lila, and what mixing is there between the different rasa?

Preaching tactic
Did Gurudeva trick us when speaking about the rasa of Srila Prabhupada? The example case used is of Jiva Gosvami who only spoke about svakiya bhava.

Who said what?
There’s a multitude of statements from Sridhar Swami, Gour Govinda Maharaja, Bharati Maharaja used on both sides of the table.

The absolute vs relative view of Gurudevas words
Is there a difference between those supporting manjari versus sakhya bhava in how they intepret Gurudevas words?

Is there other lines in our Guru parampara? Especially, can our parampara only contain acaryas in madhurya rasa? Does jivas with other moods belongs in a different line?

The service of priya-narma sakhas (PNS)
What are they doing in Vraja? How intimate does PNS serve? Do they have madhurya mood and if so, how does it differ from manjari mood?

Relation between the different moods
Can acaryas with a non-madhurya rasa preach about madhurya-rasa?

What has Gurudeva actually said?
Does the editing of Syamarani didi and team change Gurudevas words and meaning? Is Gurudevas words open for interpretation? The usage of definitions: Manjari bahava, sakhi-rupena, gopi bhava, madhurya-rasa.

Summary of the debate
It’s possible to track some progression of understandings in this debate by both parties. The understanding of Gurudevas preaching tactic and the service of Priya narma sakhas, alternative understandings. What new understanding has become prevalent from this debate.


I have for the last few days read through all of the documents in the timeline to create this overview.

I want to go through all of these theories and claims from all sides of the debates. I want to show what both sides says and their siddhantic evidence for their claims.

I’m probably missing some points as well.

This post builds upon a comment by Syamananda Prabhu where he lists the different theories. He contributes so much information and help, that thanking him is almost getting old.

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