Translation faults: Gurudeva said… what?

One of the main arguments of the madhurya-rati side is the insistence that they follow Gurudevas words, the underlying understanding is that the sakhya-rati side does not follow Gurudeva. They point this out with quotes like the one below from the site:


The mixed-rati side claims that Gurudevas words are open for interpretation where he never specifically states that Srila Prabhupada is a manjari, but instead focuses on the madhurya aspect of Srila Prabhupada.

So, whenever there’s a philosophical debate it becomes important that whatever translations of Gurudevas words are as close to the original message as possible. The madhurya rati side have brought forward especially one such quote which deviate a little bit from the audio. The deviations has been marked with uppercase letters.

Walking with a saint – 2008, page 238


Sayarsi dasa: One of my god-brothers named Maha-mantra, took sannyasa within Isckon society and is now living in New Vrindavan. He talks about and follows the path of sakhya rasa. He says that Srila Prabhupada is a priya-narma-sakha.

Is it possible for Srila Prabhupada to be a manjari and at the same time train his disciples who are in sakhya- rasa?

Srila Narayana Goswami Maharaja: All rasas- santa ,dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhurya are present in the gopi”s madhurya mood. The gopis can manifest santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya.

Sayarsi dasa: Is it okay for a particular disciple whose stayi-bhava maybe in sakhya-rasa to see Srila Prabhupada as a priya narma cowherd boy?

Srila Narayan Goswami Maharaja: SOMEONE CAN THINK LIKE THAT, IF HE DESIRES BUT he is quite wrong. Wrong and wrong and wrong. 

Brajanath dasa : That sannyasi quotes from Jaiva Dharma, where Vijay Kumar and Vrajanath see their guru in two different ways. One sees him as a manifestation of Subal as Priya-narma -sakha, and the other sees him as an intimate sakhi of Srimati Radhika.

Srila Narayana Goswami Maharaja: Actually, pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja has come in line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Rupa Goswami, so he must be like them. He has written this in his books”

Sripad Bhagavat Maharaja: He has written that “I am a servant of Srimati Radhika”

This is the translation from the audio itself, Houston morning walk 30th may 2008: 09.30 minutes in.:

Sayarsi dasa: One of my godbrothers have taken initiation within isckon society in New Vrindavin

Srila Narayana Maharaja: What name?

Devotees: Maha mantra dasa

Srila Narayana Maharaja: I know him very well.

Sayarsi dasa: He has been talking about preya rasa, cowherd boy fraternal relationship, he has been following this path and he has been saying that Srila Prabhupada is a priya-narma sakha. That can also be true if he is manjari, he can also train his disciples who is only in sakhya rasa?

Srila Narayana Maharaja: You should know that in gopis mood, all rasas are there. sakhya, dasya, vatsalya all are included. They can manifest sometimes santa rasa, dasya rasa, sakhya rasa, madhurya rasa. All.

Sayarsi dasa: But  for that particular disciple who may be sthayi bhava, may be sakhya rasa. Srila Prabhupada may be appearing to him like a cowherd boy, like a priya-narma sakha?

Madhava Maharaja: This is a conclusion of his mind.

Sripad Bhagavat Maharaja: This sanyassi is saying that Srila Prabhupada my Swami Maharaja in in sakhya rasa, he is a priya-nama-sakha. That is his conclusion. His idea.

Srila Narayana Maharaja: Oh, he is quite wrong. Wrong and wrong and wrong.


Sayarsi dasa: But if he, maha mantra maharaja is …

Srila Narayana Maharaja: Let him do, no harm.

Madhava Maharaja: But even if maha mantra maharaja himself, radha krishna, how he himself

Brajanath prabhu: He tries to explain like in Jaiva Dharma, Vijaya Kumara and Brajanath. One is  seeing him like Subala, like priya narma sakha, another like an intimate sakhi of Srimati Radhika.

Srila Narayana Maharaja: Anyone can be like that, no harm, but actually for Swamiji he was not in this.

Devotee: Manjari

Srila Narayana Maharaja: He has come in the line of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Rupa Gosvami, so he must be like them. Because he has written in his books.

Sripad Bhagavat Maharaja: I am the servant of Radhika. He has written like that. I am the servant of Radhika.

The first part of the added words is: “SOMEONE CAN THINK LIKE THAT, IF HE DESIRES BUT he is quite wrong. Wrong and wrong and wrong.”

If we hear the original audio, we see that what is wrong can be understood based upon the listener’s understanding. We can also understand that Gurudeva is saying that a priya narma sakha only have sakhya rasa to be wrong, that priya narma sakhas also have madhurya. So this quote can be understood both ways – as a validation for both the mixed rati and madhurya rati side. The change also makes the mood heavier, it really emphasizes what the madhurya rati side wants to be true.

If we deviate too much from the original message, we may come close to the quote: “If anyone thinks he can correct the writing or teachings of our Gurudeva”, however intentionally or unintentionally it’s done.

The madhurya rati side have linked to this qoute, sometimes with the last sentence added: “THANK YOU FOR READING SRILA GURUDEVA”S OWN WORDS!!!”

One of my favorite pages on Facebook is Gaudiya Vedanta Publications, and especially when they come with information on new publications. I think they are doing a good job. So please, try to stay close to Gurudevas own words. We now see how important this is whenever some philosophical debate arises.

yuga-dharma pravartāimu nāma-saṅkīrtana
cāri bhāva-bhakti diyā nācāmu bhuvana

I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age, nama-sankirtana. I shall distribute the four mellows of devotional service (dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya).

Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila 3.19

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