Deviant Vaisnava Sects Part Three: Gauranaga Nagaris – Rasabhasa bhaktas

“From the life of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, an intelligent person engaged in pure devotional service can understand that He always felt separation from Krsna within Himself.  In that separation He sometimes felt that He had found Krsna and was enjoying the meeting.  The significance of this separation and meeting is very specific.  If someone tries to understand the exalted position of Lord Caitanya without knowing this, he is sure to misunderstand it.  One must first become fully self realized.  Otherwise he may misidentify the Lord as nagara, or the enjoyer of the damsels of Vraja, thus committing the mistake of rasabhasa, or overlapping understanding.”

(CC Adi 4.106, Purport)

The gauranga-nagaris are quite prominent in Bengal and Bangladesh.  Outwardly, they appear as regular Bengali Vaisnavas, but there is a subtle sahajiya contamination in their conception of Lord Caitanya’s mood of devotion.  Thus their position is strongly refuted by the acaryas of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya, even though other aspects of this sect may seem praise­worthy: like staunch Vaisnavas, they wear tilaka and neck beads, are good kirtana performers and strictly abstain from flesh and fish.

In his Purport to Bhag.4.23.31, Srila Prabhupada focuses on the sahajiya contamination that the gauranga-nagaris represent:

“Sometimes the sahajiya class of devotees are interested only in Krsna’s personal pastimes to the exclusion of the activities of the devotees.”

But such an attitude can only baffle the attempt to com­prehend the person and activities of Sri Caitanya Mahapabhu, for CC Adi 1.14 states:


bhaktavataram bhaktakhyam

namami bhakti-saktikam

“I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Krsna, who is non-different from His features as a devotee, devotional incarna­tion, devotional manifestation, pure devotee and devotional energy.”

The gauranga-nagaris are not interested in Lord Caitanya as a devotee, or in His five features as the Sri Panca-Tattva.  They desire to relate to Lord Caitanya as Krsna Himself, particularly as lampat (yatha tathava vidhadhatu lampato: “He is a debauchee, so it is His nature to do as He likes”).  They style Him as nagara, and themselves as nagari.

The gauranga-nagari doctrine is very briefly and yet very completely explained by Srila Prabhupada in several purports of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.  A few relevant quotes are as follows.

“…the gaura-nagaris, who place Lord Caitanya in the position of enjoyer and themselves as His enjoyed, are not approved by Lord Caitanya or by Lord Caitanya’s followers. Instead of being blessed, the foolish imitators are left com­pletely apart.  Their concoctions are against the principles of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.  The doctrine of transcendental enjoyment by Krsna cannot be mixed up with the doctrine of

transcendental feeling of separation from Krsna in the role of Radharani.”

(CC Adi 4.41, Purport) 

“Doctrines like those of the nadiya nagaris, a class of so called devotees, are never presented by authorized persons like Svarupa Damodara or the six Gosvamis.  The ideas of the nadiya-nagaris are simply mental concoction, and they are completely on the mental platform.”

(CC Adi 4.107, Purport)

“…a so called party of devotees named nadiya nagari has sprung up and introduced the worship of Visnupriya.  This certainly indicates ignorance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes.  In the opinion of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, such worship is a product of the imagination.”

(CC Antya 14.7, Purport)

Refuting the Gauranga-nagari Doctrine

In  CC Adi 1.5, Lord Caitanya is described as radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalita, “adorned with the mood and luster of Srimati Rad­harani.”  Nowhere in any revealed scripture is He said to be krsna-bhava-dyuti-suvalita, “adorned with the mood and luster of Sri Krsna,” which would support the gauranga-nagari conception.

Spokesmen of this apasampradaya not only say that Lord Caitanya exhibited Krsna’s enjoying mood, they claim further that Visnupriya devi, the Lord’s second wife, is Srimati Radharani, and that her close female friends are gopis.  

But as Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura makes clear in ”Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Visnupriya devi is actually Bhu-sakti, a form of Laksmi.  The wives, mothers and daughters of Lord Gauranga’s associates in Nadia attend Visnupriya in her bathing and dressing exactly as the maidservants of Lakmiji serve Her in Vaikuntha-dhama.  Their mood is different from the mood of the damsels of Vrndavana.

Sri Caitanya Bhagavata is also very clear about Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s extreme gravity in His dealings with women even with His own wives, what to speak of other women.  He never so much as looked at the village girls of Nadia, let alone smile or talk to them.  But in the tradition of the sahajiyas, the gauranga-nagaris have invented offensive myths about Lord Caitanya’s supposed love affairs with a mistress named Kancana and other fictional consorts.  These stories should never be heard.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura appreciated the manifestation of Krsna’s mood in Lord Caitanya ”in His dealings with Sri Gadadhara Prabhu.  Sri Gadadhara was so meek and submissive that the Lord sometimes remarked to His confidential associates, “Gadadhara is My consort in the spiritual world.”  Indeed, Gadadhara Prabhu’s spiritual emotions for Lord Caitanya are described as suddha gadha bhava rukmini-devira (“pure, deep ecstatic love in the mood of Rukmini-devi”) in Antya 7.144 of ”Sri Caitanya caritamrta.  Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura thus worshiped Sri Sri Gaura-Gadadhara Deities in his bhajana.  Here is an example of an internal flavor of attraction in an advanced devotee for a confidential feature of Lord Caitanya’s pastimes.  But this is not a subject matter for preaching.  Lord Caitanya’s preaching pastimes are relished in Sri Sri Gaura Nitai worship, as seen in ISKCON temples around the world.  This mode of Deity worship is performed to inspire the public at large to engage in harer-nama-sankirtana.  But in any case, the worship of Sri Gaura Gadadhara by the pure devotee has nothing to do with the rasabhasa of the gauranga nagaris.

 As Srila Prabhupada states above, the gauranga-nagaris are on the mental platform.  Their so called mood of devotion is really just eroticism, a creation of their impure minds.  Their wrong meditation upon Lord Caitanya simply arouses their lust, and they foolishly take that lust to be spiritual ecstasy.

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