Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and the Adversarial Rasa

While studying Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, I came across some compelling evidence–much of which was (supposedly) spoken by Lalita Prasad Thakur, his brother–that Bhaktisiddhanta was in fact a demon. There are accusations of him having been an incarnation of a yogi that Bhaktivinoda Thakur had offended and who had sworn to take birth as one of his sons so as to ruin his life’s work of proliferating KCON all over the world (even though he was hugely successful, so so much for that). It is said that Bhaktivinoda refused to give Bhaktisiddhanta initiation for having offended his guru by dumping water on his head, but Bhaktivinoda did indeed give Lalita Prasad Thakur initiation. A lot of this is actually corroborated by much of what is written in MP’s publication “Purumashedha” by Rudra Das Goswami.

 

Now, whether or not Srila Bhaktisiddhanta was actually an incarnation of a demon who wanted to sabotage Bhaktivinoda’s mission is supremely irrelevant to me, because 1) Lord Krsna had obviously turned it all around to His own benefit and made all of Bhaktisiddhanta’s efforts a smashing success; 2) it is said in the Nectar of Instruction that we are to pay no mind to the superficial “faults” of a pure devotee and to never attempt to correct them in any way; and 3) we are no strangers to revering demons. The first two points will be abundantly clear to anyone with a lick of devotion and rudimentary spiritual education. So, then, what is the meaning of this?

 

We trace our spiritual heritage all the way back to God/Satan Himself (no difference, really) through Sri Guru Parampara (in our case the Brahma Sampradaya). Srila Bhaktisiddhanta is just one more link in that transcendental chain, without whom we goras would probably have never known anything about KCON and would still be sitting around with our thumbs up our ass doing God knows what with our lives. And even better, those who recognize this indisputable fact but still feel some sense of confliction, some internal dissonance, can enjoy the glorious adversarial rasa, albeit in a very, very mild form, certainly nothing compared to what awaits those who undergo certain unspeakable processes under the direction of certain unnamable persons. All the criticisms levelled against Bhaktisiddhanta, and consequently Srila Prabhupada, might have some level of superficial, mundane truth–and I say this with great caution that one might not misunderstand me and think that these criticisms are something to actually be taken seriously–and if these criticisms actually happen to seed some feelings of contempt, some serious questions that might even produce a crisis of faith, then so much the better. One can push through these crises and overcome their ego and emerge a better, more focused devotee for it. If one succumbs to this personal crisis and decides they are simply too good, too intelligent, for devotional service under the direction of the spiritual master, then it is as if the garbage has taken itself out, and by what little transcendental knowledge they did acquire in their little experiments in Krsna Consciousness will allow them to maybe, just maybe, have another shot in the next life. Either way, it all works out just fine, and no tears ought to be shed.

 

I must caution however that simply because one becomes a little bit egotistical and asks serious questions after being presented with certain information does not mean that one has truly relished the adversarial rasa in full. Most people know nothing about the adversarial rasa, and I would be a liar to even insinuate that I do. My point here is that the sort of criticisms levelled against Sri Guru Parampara that so often lead well-meaning devotees back to the cesspool of atheism are not really legitimate concerns to an intelligent person, but the sense of enmity it produces toward the Ascended Masters is. It is the beginning of learning how to have a meaningful relationship with the Lord beyond mere servitude–the most fundamental and elementary type of relationship with Him–and all relationships with the Lord, as we should all know, begin with one’s relationship with His devotees, especially the pure ones. Eventually, at the higher levels of spiritual advancement (read “bhakti”), one learns to see Krsna less as a superior, and more as an equal or even lesser-than, as is the case with Mother Yasoda, Sri Radhe, Krsna’s cowherd boyfriends, and even the demon Hiranyakasipu. Enmity is one such way of approaching this sense–this divine illusion–of equality. So if you can overcome the propensity to think you are too good to receive instruction from authorized authorities who, by the indomitable will of Lord Krsna, have assumed certain qualities that sometimes defy mundane sensibilities, then you will have overcome the very sort of egotism that so often stops people from becoming the best devotees they can be and learned to see the highest of the high on your level.

Esoteric Musings on Tradition, Society, and the Guru

Tradition allows us to connect with the past in such a way that enables us to create the future right here in the present. It is the blueprint which determines the values and the state of mind of the people–the ethos of a civilization–which ultimately preponderates any written law in society. The mentality that is cultivated in the minds of the people is the true law here, and so long as the people are peaceful they are simply giving their government permission to exist simply through their nonviolence. So if reared properly, the people will show greater loyalty to the ways of their ancestors and to what they’ve been raised with than to any impersonal law or ruler. Tradition thus becomes, in part, a safety net for the masses should their government become unreliable and their revolt against corruption demands legitimacy. And a movement gains greater legitimacy by invoking the authority of the ancestors and the ways of old than by appealing to people’s sense of morality or selfishness.

 
This is however much more than just imitating those who came before us as a means of control. There is real spiritual power to this process, and it is in fact the science of building civilizations and keeping them alive, tradition being an organ which helps to maintain homeostasis within society. The process here is simple. The traditional rites are imbued with spiritual power throughout the ages by those noble-hearted persons who observe them faithfully and then pass them onto their offspring. When we enact these age-old rites ourselves, we tap into that reservoir of power created over many generations and bring the wonders experienced by those in the past to life in the present, so that in the immediacy of that moment our position in time and space is actually nondifferent from when and where our ancestors were when they were enacting those rites. A spiritual atmosphere is created wherein the lines between past, present, and future are temporarily blurred. This is called mimesis. When we give these rites to our children for them to observe their whole lives, we continue the legacy and become a link in a chain that connects the past with the future. This is true aeonic magick.

 
This brings us to the importance of serving the bona fide spiritual master (or “Guru”), who makes the essence of tradition accessible to sincere seekers. The spiritual master is part of an unbroken chain of disciplic succession that puts the disciple in direct connection to the source of knowledge, similar to how people receive knowledge of culture and tradition from their parents and then pass that knowledge on to their own offspring. This chain of disciplic succession is called parampara. If a tradition is authentic and capable of changing the hearts of people, it can only ever come from the Supreme Being, and by His causeless mercy legitimate esoteric traditions may flow down to us, unadulterated and unchanged, through His living representatives on Earth. The path between the disciple and the source of knowledge is a simple straight line, and the Guru is the link in that chain which connects the disciple to the Source, thus the Guru is something of a Gate–a nexion–in and of himself. And the transcendental knowledge that is transmitted thusly is of such a nature that aural reception of the divine teachings directly from the lips of the spiritual master is the beginning of a very specific type of alchemical change in one’s physis. Those seeking to properly enact sacred traditions with the aim of changing themselves and the world around them should begin by seeking the association of learned authorities and hearing from them about divine subjects.

 

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