Srila Prabhupada – expert and exemplary Rupanuga

Learning from a textbook becomes easy when we have a teacher with us. It becomes more easier when we have a teacher who has both understanding and realization. We can get both the understanding and inspiration and guidance to apply that understanding in life. Srila Rupa Goswami originally delineated the philosophy of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Gaudiya Vaishnavas are denoted as Rupanugas. He mainly did it through Upadesamrta and Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu. Srila Prabhupada not only translated these most important scriptures but also demonstrated these teachings through his personal practice and outreach.

Srila Prabhupada expertly demonstrated the principle of yukta-vairagya given by Rupa Goswami. Prabhupada engaged everything in this world from drama to dictaphone and Rolls Royce to bullock cart in the service of Lord Krishna. He not only demonstrated the practical aspects of yukta-vairagya but also demonstrated the internal aspects of it – anasaktasya visayan. He was equipoised riding on a Rolls Royce and a bullock cart. He was equipoised using a bathroom made of gold and going out in the wild for answering nature’s call at New Vrindavan.

Srila Prabhupada expertly applied the principle of dadati pratigrhnati – the principle of six fold loving exchanges. He attracted the hippies in the west by offering the sumptuous and sanctified prasadam. In India, he tirelessly visited the houses of several life members accepting prasadam from them. He offered various spiritual gifts like transcendental literature, festivals to the pious Indians. He accepted their gifts in form of donations and support in various forms. This way Prabhupada engaged several Indians in Krishna’s service. Prabhupada held philosophical discussions with the intelligentsia – scientists, scholars and philosophers. Prabhupada tirelessly answered the queries of his thousands of disciples through letters and morning walks and conversations.

Srila Rupa Goswami made the philosophy of Krishna consciousness interesting and relevant to the then intelligentsia by presenting pastimes of Krishna using Rasa Shastra of Bharat Muni which was famous at that time. Srila Prabhupada following the footsteps of Rupa Goswami presented the philosophy of Krishna consciousness in a very appealing way to the modern intelligentsia an in a way that addresses the problems of modern world. He presented the concept of spiritual communism based on the principle of isavasyam idam sarvam which is a viable alternative to capitalism and communism. Prabhupada wrote the book – “Easy Journey to other planets” and gave a holistic, spiritual and healthy perspective to view space travel and advances of modern science in space exploration.

On the other hand, Srila Prabhupada expertly practiced the teachings of Srila Rupa Goswami in his personal spiritual life. Srila Prabhupada taught us how to deal with different levels of devotees as descried in 5th verse of Upadesamrta. Srila Prabhupada respected newcomers in Krishna consciousness and well-wishers. He appreciated whatever level of Krishna consciousness they have and expertly fanned it further. Prabhupada treated his senior disciples with respect and affection addressing them as ‘Prabhu’. Prabhupada also heard their lectures and presentations of Krishna consciousness. He considered their viewpoints while making managerial decisions. Prabhupada greatly honored his elevated godbrothers like Sridhar Maharaj and Akincana Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj. He had very intimate and deep exchanges with them.

Srila Prabhupada exemplified the spiritual vision required of a devotee as described in verse 6 of Upadesamrta. Prabhupada overlooked the spiritually degraded condition of the westerners and indiscriminately gave them opportunity to become Krishna conscious. Srila Prabhupada ignored the defects and deficiencies of his young and novice disciples and always encouraged them in their Krishna consciousness and appreciated their success in preaching. He treated them as his own sons and daughters showering great affection on them.

Srila Prabhupada deeply imbibed the mood described in verse 8 of Upadesamrta which is the essence of all instructions. Srila Prabhupada was constantly glorifying Krishna through kirtan, lecture, discussion and writing. He always cherished Vrindavan in the heart of his hearts. He was always conscious of his spiritual master. He was always feeling separation from the divine ambience of Vrindavan.

In this way, Srila Prabhupada exemplified and expertly applied and demonstrated to us the teachings and instructions of Srila Rupa Goswami which are life and soul of every Gaudiya Vaishnava,