The principal personality amongst Śrī Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, Śrī Śrī Dāmodara Svarūpa Gosvāmī, has stated that Śrī Caitanyadeva is the Supreme Godhead (svayam–bhagavata-vastu) full of six opulences. This Caitanyadeva’s bodily effulgence is the impersonal Brahman and the indwelling Supersoul – who eternally remains manifest as the three-fold Puruṣāvatāras, Kāraṇārnavaśāyī, Garbhadakaśāyī, Kṣīrodakaśāyī that create the temporary universe and manifest the eternal Vaikuṇṭha – is a partial manifestation of the opulence of Śrī Caitanyadeva.
Śrī Svarūpa Gosvāmī has also said that Śrī Rādhikā is Kṛṣṇa’s hlādinī potency, the transformation of His love (praṇaya-vikāra). Previously, Kṛṣṇa and Rādhikā were one and accepting two forms, they displayed Their eternal pastimes in this material world. Presently, in gaura-līlā, the two separate forms of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa have united. With the inner mood of Śrī Rādhikā and decorated with Her external bodily lustre, the transcendental original Godhead (svayam-rūpa) Vrajendra-nanadana, with the mood of taking refuge of divine love (āśraya-jātīya), has manifested His own eternal gaura-līlā.
Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī has said that Śrī Kṛṣṇa-candra has appeared in this material world accepting the name ‘Kṛṣṇa Caitanya’ in order to display His eternal form of Śrī Gaura and to display the pastime of distributing kṛṣṇa-prema.
Pure devotees such as Śrīvāsa have said that Śrī Gaurāṅga is the principal Nārāyaṇa who is situated in Mahā-Vaikuṇṭha. Śrī Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura, Śrī Locana Dāsa Ṭhākura etc. have described Him as viṣṇu-tattva – Nārāyaṇa Himself or as the Puruṣāvataras etc.
Intimate associates such as Śrī Gadādhara have said that Śrī Gaurhari is the very life and wealth of the residents of Vraja. Again, those devotees belonging to the school of devotion mixed with fruitive actions and speculative knowledge (karma-jñāna-miśra), such as Nābhadāsa, consider Him as non-different from the plenary portion of Nārāyaṇa. The non-devotee schools of thought have not hesitated to refer to Śrī Gaurāṅga as a powerful religious preacher who was a human being. Those groups who are opposed to devotion slight Him in various ways, considering Him to be an ordinary man.
Depending on one’s qualification in regards to taste and experience, one is able to perceive the characteristics of Śrī Gaurāṅga through that particular angle of vision, and in that way one defines Śrī Gaura and serves Him in that mood. At present, the māyāvādīs say that since Śrī Gaurāṅga is the Supreme Truth (para-tattva) then He can be seen wherever one wishes and one can say whatever one wishes about Him – there is no necessity of presenting any sectarian viewpoint, nor is there any necessity to create any kind of restrictions relating to Him. This means that a person taking liquor or gañjā will consider Śrī Gaurāṅga as his intoxicant, a debauchee will consider Śrī Gaura as the very ideal of debauchery, those householders attached to their homes will consider Gaura as a householder who was addicted to the pleasures of household life, a beggar will consider Gaura as as instrument for making money, politicians and social reformers will consider Gaura as a business opportunity, just as someone may use a śāligrāma for cracking peanuts! Whatever one follows in order to obtain a result, the māyāvādī and the pseudo-devotee have no objection to it.
But Śrī Gaurāṅga has shown the significance of His name as the most magnanimous ocean of mercy (mahā-vadanāya dayā-nidhi) in order to frustrate māyāvāda. The māyāvādī and the devotee of Gaura are, by nature, completely different subjects. The māyāvādī is egotistical, selfish, devoid of any mood of spiritual surrender and is a beggar pleading for his own prestige. A devotee is not like that. Since the māyāvādī’s attributes are pride and prestige, a māyāvādī thinks that a devotee must have those characteristics also. The māyāvādī is an impersonalist, hence he does not accept the eternal individual existence of either the devotee or the Supreme Lord. He believes that whether it be Gaura or Kṛṣṇa, the Lord’s personal existence is simply a creation by māyā, therefore when Māyā is annihilated, then with the absence of māyā He eternally exists only as the impersonal Brahman. It is only through the māyā of Brahman that Bhagavān and the jīvas etc. attain the materially conditioned state or the liberated state in the material realm. The spiritual Vaikuṇṭha does not exist.
Basically, the māyāvādī, under the influence of his own defects such as bhrama, pramāda, vipralipsā and karaṇāpāṭava, does not believe in the eternal name, qualities, form and pastimes of the Supreme Lord and His devotees. Those that consider pure devotion and devotional characteristics to be momentary and perishable, those who deem them to be temporary, and who regard the eternal devotees and Supreme Lord to be equal, illusory, mortal elements are known as māyāvādīs. Those that come under the influence of māyāvāda are the Bāulas, Neḍās, Sāṅi, Darvesas, Cūḍādhārīs, Gaurāṅga-nāgarīs, as well as those devotees of Gaura who believe in Theosophy, and the attached householders who consider by their cunning intelligence that service to ‘Gṛhī-Gaurāṅga’ is a convenient opportunity to attain domestic bliss and fulfilment. Furthermore, they begin to quarrel with the devotees as to why such activities cannot be considered to be gaura-bhajana.
But if someone amongst them, by good fortune, attains a little pure devotion arising from within, then they can easily leave aside the materialistic conceptions of the māyāvādīs. The fundamental principle of Śrī Gaura is eternal and His pastimes can only be understood by His own associates who have the necessary qualifications. Due to their defects of bhrama, pramāda etc, it is the māyāvādī’s dharma to pervert those pastimes and to try and make them the subject for those who are overly attached to mundane family life.
That jīva who, after taking shelter of māyāvāda, calls himself a gaura-bhakta like the Bāulas and Sāṅi, and neglecting hari-bhajana, eats eggs, fish and meat and starts analysing caitanya-tattva from the platform of his deluded intelligence, is eventually considered to be abominable from the spiritual standpoint and turns into an entangled householder and is known by the title of Bāula etc. Similarly, if sections such as the Neḍā, Bāula, Sāṅi etc. leave aside their individual mental speculation and subtle misconceptions, and take to the chanting of the holy name without offences, then their offences to the Vaiṣṇavas can be nullified and they become eligible to enter into understanding gaura-tattva. Otherwise, in an efforts to carve an idol of Gaurāṅga, they will mistake Him to be something else. Considering oneself independent and leaving the shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas is certainly a path in the wrong direction. At the time when Kṛṣṇa entered the arena of Kaṁsa, different onlookers observed the same Kṛṣṇa in different moods, but the original form of Kṛṣṇa (svayam-rūpa) is only visible to the eternal devotees who are under the shelter of Gopī-jana-vallabha (the lover of the gopis of Vṛndāvana), who is their only object of worship. The salvationists, non-devotees and māyāvādī’s endeavours for self-improvement are on the temporary platform, but the eternal endeavours of the devotee are exclusively executed as devotional service. Māyā resides only where there is no kṛṣṇa-bhakti. The very place where there is Māyā, there will be pride. They think, “I understand so much”, “I am very expert in understanding things” etc. The false sāttvika-bhāva of the māyāvādī sampradāya is saturated by evil. With tears in their eyes, by sobbing, by the novel rhymes of the Sakhī-bhekīs, and by loudly shouting, they perform malicious bhajana. The worship of the form of Gaura created by their imagination is certainly not the same object that is worshipped by the devotees. The māyāvādī, with his mundane vision, installs Gaurāṅga and considers Him to be made from mundane elements, and by declaring, “My Gaurāṅga” etc. he preaches his own concocted philosophy in the name of Gaurāṅga. The devotee community never accepts these various sections of māyāvādīs within any iṣṭagoṣṭhī in any way, nor do the devotees give them their association in order to try and convince them. The unfortunate māyāvādī, being deprived of the association of devotees, fails to understand the words spoken by the devotees and considers the devotee to be a babbler like himself. But who is ultimately cheated by this? The devotee, by rejecting the bad association of the māyāvādī and by dint of serving Hari, has reached the highest position. The māyāvādī, along with a few more backwards materialists, thinks that he has preached gaura-bhakti (albeit mixed with māyāvāda). In reality, it is like stealing iron from a blacksmith and they are simply creating an unsubstantial, materialistic, greedy sampradāya. Comparatively, if one follows the path shown by the Rūpānugas and mentally leaves the association of uselessly argumentative, atheistic māyāvādīs, then hari-bhajana becomes easy.
Kṛṣṇa is one thing, Śrī Gaurāṅga is one thing. When one establishes Them through his imagination as something else other than they really are, one gets derailed and becomes a false devotee and a materialist. The supreme truth of Gaura has been established and written about by the Gosvāmīs for those devotees who are their followers. Those māyāvādīs that neglect their writings, spend their time creating their own imaginative philosophies and claim that it is the siddhānta of the Gosvāmī śāstras. They further create other abominable illusory concoctions such as ‘Gṛhī-Gaurāṅga’ (Gaurāṅga as a householder), ‘Nyāsī Gaurāṅga’ (Gaurāṅga as a sannyāsī) etc. and thus they attain no good result except for becoming afflicted by enviousness.
The māyāvādīs should certainly know that the supreme truth of Gaura is eternal, He is not an object belonging to the manifested world formed by māyā. Innumerable crores of māyāvādīs with the weapons of their transient imaginations can try to attack Śrī Gaurāṅga, but they can never change His eternal form to gratify and please their own senses. That object which can be transformed never becomes the object of worship for the Rūpānugas and it is never the Supreme Object that is Gaura. The consciousness of a jīva, drowned by the filth of māyāvāda, cannot pervert Gaura’s name, quality or activities in any way; but the māyāvādī who prides himself as being a follower of Gaura becomes a member of the Gaurāṅga-nāgarī camp and his efforts are similar to those of Rāvaṇa capturing Māyā-Sītā. The transcendental subject matter of Gaura is something that can never be accepted by māyāvādīs. But it also an eternal truth that māyāvādīs will never be able to conceal Gaura and pure devotion. For the last four hundred years, māyāvādīs have tried in various ways to force Gaura to enter their own illusory domains, and at the same time Śrī Gaura Bhagavan is also sending His own pure devotees to the material world in order to frustrate the endeavours of the māyāvādīs. There is an eternal struggle between the non-eternal māyāvādīs and Gaura. The result of this war is the rise of pure kṛṣṇa-prema in the uncontaminated land that is the heart of the jīva, or the swelling of māyāvāda poison in the impure soil of the jīva’s consciousness. Instead we suggest that one should give up the mentality of a termite and with a sincere heart read the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu and the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. In that way, one will realise the eternal purpose of life and one will understand who is Śrī Gaura and who are His intimate associates. And if one rejects this, and declares that opportunistic gṛha-vrata-dharma is actually transcendental gaura-bhakti, then the end result will be that the eternal pure devotees will renounce your association, considering you to be a māyāvādī who is merely deceiving his own self.
Māyāvādīs continuously state that they cannot understand the words of pure devotees. They go against tradition and, mixing everything up, they establish that perceiving sweet and bitter, dishonesty and honesty, idleness and enthusiasm, getting beaten and getting sweets are all the same thing and this is the gaura-bhakti found in this sinful world. Only the mouth of a māyāvādī can make such ‘beautiful’ statements about gaura-bhakti!
The māyāvādī wants to understand everything through his meagre material intelligence. He thinks that he will understand Gaura and gaura-bhakti through his enjoyment-seeking material intelligence and then he will become a preacher of a materialistic religion. If one’s behaviour is not permeated with a serving temperament, one cannot preach. Your conduct shows a strong tendency towards exploiting māyā and this tendency remains firmly within your heart, yet it is proclaimed that the great ship of devotion has already reached the port of your mouth!
“Initially I will not perform any bhajana. I’m not willing to leave the five places that Parikṣit Mahārāja told Kali to exert his influence over. The world considers me as a real Gṛha-Baula. They call me a devotee, they call me a philosopher and I am puffed up with the ego of a fame-seeking māyāvādī. In this world I am well-versed in the ritual of the gṛhamedhi-yajña (sacrifice to achieve home comforts)” – this is an unhealthy desire for one who wishes to be known as a devotee of Gaura.
If one analyses this subject, then the investigator should not be prejudiced by māyāvādī ideas – rather, one must certainly have a service-inclination towards it. Just as a Kazi, because he belongs to a different religion, is incapable of deciding the dates of Hindu festivals due to his lack of knowledge in śāstra, just as a barren woman is incapable of giving birth to a son, just as one cannot eat sweets with his eyes, similarly being under the influence of mundane faith and unknowingly accepting the essence of māyāvāda, it is futile to try to understand spiritual subject matters concerning Gaura. Try to understand that your very existence is to be totally subservient to the Rūpānugas, who are pure devotees of Gaura – then you will see that all the darkness and fog of illusion has vanished like a momentary storm and the eyes of divine love have blossomed. Rejecting this advice, one may go to heaven or to hell, but you will only learn enmity towards the Vaiṣṇavas and will be cast far away from Śrī Gaurāṅga. Once one is fixed in understanding the nature of Gaura, then his heart will be touched by all these things and he will be inspired to know where the transcendental abode is and one can determine whose abode it is; one will believe the words of the pure devotees and understand what the atheistic māyāvādīs say about Gaura.
If one continues performing frivolous activities like the professional Gṛhī-Bāula Sahajiyās, whimsically wandering here and there in this material world, then the pride and stone-heartedness that arises out of the material bodies of common men will shut the already closed eyes of the māyāvādī for a second time!
Bāulas – An apa-sampradāya that claim to be followers of Śrī Caitanya. They are minstrels that sing concocted songs about Kṛṣṇa and mix Vaiṣṇavism with Islam. There are two types of Bāula – the Vairāgi-Bāula (renunciant) and the Gṛhī-Bāula (householder).
Bhrama, pramāda, vipralipsā and karaṇāpāṭava – The four human defects of making mistakes, being in illusion, cheating and having flawed senses.
Cūḍādhārīs – A groups of so-called devotees who dress as Kṛṣṇa and try to imitate His pastimes with the gopīs.
Darveśas – A cult that mixes Vaiṣṇavism with Sufi mysticism.
Gaurāṅga-nagārīs – A Bengali cult that reject the position of Lord Caitanya as the universal teacher, accepting Him as one the enjoyer of the company of women in Nadīyā.
Gṛhī-Bāula – a Bāula who is a householder.
Gṛhī-Gaurāṅga – The worship of Mahāprabhu as a gṛhastha by attached householders.
Gṛha-vrata-dharma – The selfish activities of attached householders.
Neḍās – A cult that mixes Vaiṣṇavism with Buddhism and is ultimately impersonal.
Saṅīs – A so-called renunciant that follows no rules.
Theosoph – A impersonal doctrine concocted by Madame Blavatsky in 1875.
Sakhī-bhekīs – An unauthorised cult whose male members dress up as gopīs, hoping to attract the transcendental senses of Kṛṣṇa.
Sahajiyā – A so-called follower of Lord Caitanya who is imitates the high feelings of divine love felt by real devotees.