Srila Prabhupada and Lord Nityananda’s Mercy

My dear Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept my prostrated obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet. All
glories to Your Divine Grace, the embodiment of unlimited mercy.

Knowledgeable devotees agree that you were a saktyavesa-avatara, an
empowered incarnation, and you have indicated as much yourself. Sri
Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 2.13-14) states, “To deliver people in regions
throughout the universe who could not meet Him, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
personally entered the bodies of pure devotees. Thus He empowered living
beings [His pure devotees] by manifesting in them so much of His own
devotion that people in all other countries became devotees by seeing them.”

And in your purport you explain, “As stated in the Caitanya-caritamrta
(Antya 7.11):

kali-kalera dharma–krsna-nama-sankirtana
krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana

Unless one is empowered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu, one cannot spread the holy names of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra
throughout the world. Persons who do so are empowered. Therefore they are
sometimes called avesa-avataras, or empowered incarnations, for they are
endowed with the power of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”

Your learned godbrother Sripada B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja also
accepted that you were a saktyavesa-avatara, and he opined specifically by
whose shakti you were empowered–Sri Nityananda Prabhu’s.

Lord Nityananda is renowned for delivering Jagai and Madhai. As described
briefly in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 17.17), abe nistarila prabhu
jagai-madhai: “Then the Lord delivered the two brothers Jagai and Madhai.”
In your purport, you write, “Jagai and Madhai were two brothers born in
Navadvipa in a respectable brahmana family who later became addicted to all
kinds of sinful activities. By the order of Lord Caitanya, both Nityananda
Prabhu and Haridasa Thakura used to preach the cult of Krsna consciousness
door to door. In the course of such preaching they found Jagai and Madhai,
two maddened drunken brothers, who, upon seeing them, began to chase them.
The next day, Madhai struck Nityananda Prabhu on the head with a piece of
earthen pot, thus drawing blood. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard of this,
He immediately came to the spot, ready to punish both brothers, but when the
all-merciful Lord Gauranga saw Jagai’s repentant behavior, He immediately
embraced him. By seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face and
embracing Him, both the sinful brothers were at once cleansed. Thus they
received initiation into the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra from the
Lord and were delivered.”

But as you wrote about yourself in your purport to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta,
Madhya 16.55:

“If one is true to Gaura-Nitai’s service in the disciplic succession, he can
even exceed Nityananda Prabhu’s service. This is the process of disciplic
succession. Nityananda Prabhu delivered Jagai and Madhai, but a servant of
Nityananda Prabhu, by His grace, can deliver many thousands of Jagais and
Madhais. That is the special benediction of the disciplic succession. One
who is situated in the disciplic succession can be understood by the result
of his activities.”

Srila Prabhupada, you took up the same mood of approaching anyone and
everyone–pious or sinful, qualified or unqualified–without discrimination.
As Nityananda Prabhu said, in Kali-yuga practically everyone will be like
Jagai and Madhai. That may be more apparent in America and Europe than in
India–though I did hear a talk in which you were discussing how demonic
Western civilization is and how the leaders, and pretty much everyone, are
demons, but then added, “Actually in my country also, 80 percent are
demons.” But still, what you encountered in 1965 when you came to America
was something that people now, especially people in India, can’t even

Krsna-candra Prabhu (Hrishikesh Mafatlal), from Mumbai, used to say that
people cannot imagine who you approached when you came to America. He
recommended that everyone see the early DVDs of you, first at 26 Second
Avenue in New York, then at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Most of us
can’t believe, can’t imagine, the type of people you were approaching. And
they didn’t always receive you or treat you well.

I hope all your followers have read Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta; everyone
should read it as well as see the DVD series Following Srila Prabhupada.
There was one incident when you were living in New York, in a loft in the
Bowery, which was the most degraded part of the city, its skid row,
inhabited mostly by drunks. But even they had a little respect. They would
be sprawled out on the sidewalk and on the stairs leading up to your
apartment, but somehow they sensed that you were a saintly person and would
try to move over and make room for you to pass.

You were staying with a young man who seemed interested. In fact, you
thought, “I’ll train him as a Vaishnava.” But one day the young man went
crazy, probably from taking LSD–the 1960s’ equivalent of the strong wine
that Jagai and Madhai were drinking five hundred years ago. He went crazy
and wanted to attack you. And he was ready to kill you, just as Madhai was
ready to kill Nityananda Prabhu. You bolted out of the room and ran down the
stairs like Lord Nityananda being chased by Jagai and Madhai.

It is quite a history–what you endured for the sake of delivering the mercy
of Gaura-Nitai is inconceivable. On the boat to America you suffered two
heart attacks, and even in America you had a lot of physical problems. But
you endured everything–all these attacks of maya–for the sake of
delivering Gaura-Nitai’s mercy to us. And what Nityananda Prabhu wanted in
India you have fulfilled outside India. What Nityananda Prabhu wanted was
fulfilled in Bengal, but through you it’s been fulfilled throughout the
world. So you really are the embodiment of the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu.
There’s no one else in the history of our sampradaya, no one after
Nityananda Prabhu, who has taken up that mood of approaching anyone and
everyone without discrimination, without considering who is qualified and
who is not.

And you delivered the same message: chant Krishna’s name, worship Krishna,
follow Krishna’s instructions–but not in so many words, because the people
you were approaching didn’t even know who Krishna was. When Nityananda
approached people in Navadvipa and told them, “Chant Krishna’s name, worship
Krishna, follow Krishna’s instructions,” they knew who Krishna was and they
knew what He was saying, but in America and Europe nobody knew who Krishna
was. So “Just chant Krishna’s name, worship Krishna” had to be explained in
detail in books, and thus you wrote so many books to explain who is Krishna,
what is Krishna’s name, what are Krishna’s instructions, how to chant
Krishna’s name, how to worship Krishna, why we should surrender to Krishna
and follow Krishna’s instructions–the same message that Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu asked Nityananda Prabhu to deliver to everyone, but in an
expanded form, because the people you were approaching had no idea of
Krishna’s identity or instructions.

When we go out with your books, it is like when Mahaprabhu sent Nityananda
and Haridasa to approach people with that message. Sometimes devotees are
not well received, but even Nityananda and Haridasa were not always well
received. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would have nocturnal kirtans in Srivasa
Thakura’s house, and if anyone was proud they were not allowed to enter.
Only humble, pure devotees were allowed. So all these proud people in
Navadvipa were upset and angry that they weren’t allowed to join the kirtan,
and when Nityananda and Haridasa came to their homes, they were angry with
them–“Oh, you’ve come from that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Srivasa
Thakura”–and the people spread so many rumors about them: “They are
thieves. They come to your door and say to chant Krishna’s name and worship
Krishna, but really what they’re doing is looking in your house to see what
you have so that they can come back at night and steal it.” The people
spread a lot of false propaganda. So we have to accept that, expect it and
accept it, without being deterred. It didn’t stop Nityananda Prabhu, and it
didn’t stop you, and it shouldn’t stop any of us.

So, your movement is the continuation of Nityananda Prabhu’s mission, and
you really had that mood. When one of your early disciples came to India and
the Calcutta temple president phoned you in Bombay to tell you that the
devotee was smoking ganja, marijuana, and asked what to do, you told your
secretary, Tamal Krishna Goswami, to relay your response: “Tell him that if
he doesn’t stop smoking ganja I will reject him.” Afterwards, Tamal Krishna
Goswami asked you, “Is it true that if he doesn’t stop smoking ganja you
will reject him?” And you said, “No–I cannot reject anyone.” Tamal Krishna
Goswami asked, “But don’t you have to draw the line somewhere?” And you
replied, “The mercy of Lord Nityananda has no limit.” So, that was your
mood; you were in the mood of Nityananda Prabhu.

We are the recipients of Gaura-Nitai’s mercy through you. By your mercy, we
are chanting Krishna’s name and worshipping Krishna, accepting Krishna as
the goal of our lives. And it is also by your mercy and order that we preach
the same message to others. We can speak to our capacity, and we can give
people your books, which convey the same message of Mahaprabhu. We just
elaborate on it and present it in a way that people without any background
in Vedic knowledge can understand.

So, on this most sacred and blessed occasion, we can pray to you and
Nityananda Prabhu to inspire and empower us with this mood of humble
persuasion. When Nitai approached people, after giving them instruction He
would say, “If you accept this instruction, I will consider you more dear to
Me than My own life.” And if someone did not accept the sacred instruction,
He would prostrate Himself at their feet and beg them to take it. He is Lord
Balarama, the first of all of Krishna’s expansions; He is the origin of
Maha-sankarsana, who is in turn the origin of Maha-vishnu, Karanodakasayi
Vishnu, by whose breathing countless universes are generated from the pores
of His body. And then a portion of that Maha-vishnu is Garbhodakasayi
Vishnu, and He enters into every universe and gives birth to Brahma and
engineers the creation of every universe. And Ksirodakasayi Vishnu is the
Supersoul in everyone’s heart. Nityananda is that original Supreme Person,
and He is rolling in the dust at people’s feet and begging them, “Just chant
Hare Krishna.”

I saw that mood in you. You often tutored us in it, but I saw it personally.
When we first went to Bombay, there was a program on the terrace of the
house where we were staying–Seksaria Bhavan, on Marine Drive. It was very
nice, very glamorous, near the sea, and our host, Kailash Seksaria, had
invited all the elite, affluent aristocratic people he knew in Bombay. And
you, with the same humility as Nityananda Prabhu, implored them, “I am
taking the straw in my mouth and begging you, please chant Hare
Krishna”–just like Nityananda Prabhu.

You often quoted a verse by Prabodhananda Sarasvati about how we should
approach people the way Nityananda Prabhu approached people. The verse is,
dante nidhaya trnakam padayor nipatya: “I take a straw in my mouth . . .”
(it is a sign of utter humility) “and I bow at your feet.” Krtva ca
kaku-satam etad aham bravimi. “And I flatter you a hundred times.” He
sadhavah: “O great learned sadhu.” Sakalam eva vihaya durad: “Whatever you
have learned, you keep it far away from you.” And gauranga-candra-carane
kurutanuragam: “Just accept the mercy of Lord Gauranga, just surrender to
Lord Gauranga, become attached to Lord Gauranga’s lotus feet.” And you did
it yourself.

In that humble mood, Nityananda was begging for people to take the holy
name–falling at their feet, rolling in the dust, and begging them. And
that, in essence, is what you did with us. None of us would be here today if
you hadn’t done what you did.

In Bombay, an Indian gentleman came to you, pleading, “Please save me;
please save me. Only you can save me. Please save me.” And you replied, “I
cannot save you; you have to save yourself. But I can give you the process
by which you can save yourself.”

So, Srila Prabhupada, you have given us the process by which we can, with
your mercy, save ourselves, and on this auspicious occasion we resolve to
follow the process in greater earnestness.

In one brief statement you encapsulated our entire procedure: “To approach
Radha and Krishna, you need the mercy of Lord Chaitanya. To get the mercy of
Lord Chaitanya, you need the mercy of Lord Nityananda. And to get the mercy
of Lord Nityananda, you have to approach people like Jagai and Madhai.” So,
if we ever feel, “Oh, I’m too high, I’m too holy, I can’t approach these
people,” we should think of that instruction and your own example and
Nityananda Prabhu’s example and really pray, beg, to be humble instruments
of your love and mercy and compassion. And as your guru maharaja told you,
that will be good for us and good for the people who hear us.

In a talk in Bombay you said, “Our Krishna consciousness movement is trying
to make fools and rascals and sinful men wise. And actually it is happening.
Papi tapi yata chila, hariname uddharila, tara saksi jagai madhai. You want
evidence? Look at Jagai and Madhai. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu delivered two
sinful brothers named Jagai and Madhai. Now you can see how strong is
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement. Many thousands of Jagais and Madhais are
being delivered. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement is greater than Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally delivered Jagai and Madhai, but
now, by His movement, thousands of Jagais and Madhais are being delivered.
This is the practical evidence. If you take advantage of it, you will be
glorified, and we shall be glorified. This is our process.”

Srila Prabhupada, despite your merciful association and instructions, I am
still possessed of some qualities of Jagai and Madhai. So, on this
auspicious occasion, please purify me and reform me.

sri-guru karuna-sindhu, adhama janara bandhu,
lokanath lokera jivana
ha ha prabhu koro doya, deho more pada-chaya
ebe yasa ghusuk tribhuvana

“O spiritual master, O ocean of mercy and friend of the fallen! O universal
teacher and life of all people! Alas, alas, O master, please be merciful
unto us and give us the shade of your lotus feet. May your glories now be
proclaimed throughout the three worlds.”

Hare Krishna.

Your aspiring, eternal, hopeful servant,

Giriraj Swami