Chakra Discussions

Great Souls Sometimes Re-appear

by Vishoka das

Posted August 22, 2004

Can devotees appear, disappear and then re-appear? Well, in a way, all souls are re-appearing again and again by the process of reincarnation. This report is very different from that, it's about the re-appearance of great saints who once walked this earth, and who are not obliged or forced to reincarnate into a material body again, but sometimes re-appear in their devotee form. It's about life after the disappearance of the soul from a material body, and the difference between great acharyas and ordinary souls in this regard. It is about how and why great acharyas appear, and after disappearance, they sometimes they give special re-appearances, and are always giving mercy to the conditioned souls. Evidence is taken from the VedaBase.

Appearance and disappearance are the same

Srila Prabhupada- "So there are two phases, prakata and aprakata, appearance and disappearance. So we have nothing to lament on account of disappearance because Krsna and Krsna's devotee... Not only devotees, even the nondevotees, nobody disappears." Srila Bhaktisiddhanta's Disappearance Day - LA, Dec 13/73

For the devotee of Krishna, appearance and disappearance is the same thing. Every soul is eternal, but the great devotees are sat-cid-ananda before, during, and after their earthy pastimes. They are full of knowledge and bliss before they appear, they have the same consciousness while in an earthy body, and after they leave that body, they are still in prema consciousness. Ordinary souls are in ignorance before and after the occupancy of a material body, but this is not the case for Vaisnavas. Most of us don't know where we were before birth, and don't know what exactly will happen after death. But for the acharya, and the faithful devotee, death is like easily walking through a door into Vaikuntha.

Srila Prabhupada and the previous acharyas are always approachable by sincere souls-

Srila Prabhupada- "Vaisnava is always thinking himself helpless, helpless. And begging help from the previous acarya." Bhagavad-gita 1.20 and- "The whole process is that we should always pray for the mercy of the superior acaryas and keep company with pure devotees. Then it will be easier for us to advance in Krsna consciousness and receive the mercy of Lord Caitanya and Lord Krsna." purport of song by Narottama dasa Thakura

Here, we see that Srila Prabhupada advises us to pray to the "superior acharyas" and beg for their help, or mercy. Praying for help from personalities who previously walked on this planet assumes that they are there within the range of our petition, they can hear us, they can reciprocate to our requests, and help us and bless us. Such personalities are great acharyas, and they are still living gurus, whether in material bodies, or out of material bodies. They are still on this planet, as seen in the next quote.

Even though great acharyas disappear, sometimes they give special re-appearance in personal forms-

O.B.L. Kapoor: "Prabhupada used to practice sadhana there. Even after their disappearance, the siddha (perfected) souls have a double personality, so to say. In one form they live in Golok Vrindavan, celestial Vrindavan. In another form they live in this world, in the form they used to live before as a sadhaka. Sometimes they also give darsan to their disciples. Nobody has gone anywhere else. Everybody is here. All the great souls are still here. If your heart is pure, you can have their darsan. Nobody has gone anywhere, everybody is here. It has been recorded that Jiva and Rupa Goswamis have given darsan to several devotees." Ref. VedaBase = Prabhupada at Radha-Damodara 11

Here is it said, "Nobody has gone anywhere." This is the statement of O.B.L. Kapoor, Srila Prabhupada's godbrother, a long time Brijabasi. All the great acharyas are still here, still today, in Vrndavan India. It stands to reason, that since Lord Krishna is still here in His supreme abode, the earthy abode of Vrndavan, which is non-different from the original Goloka, then all His confidential associates are also with Him. Lord Krishna is never alone, He is always in the company of His eternal confidantes. Srila Prabhupada is still there too, with his Lord Krishna and Srila Rupa Gosvami and all the great acharyas. They are all in their sadhaka forms, in their beautiful forms as they appeared as devotees here on this earth. If we had a pure heart, then we could see them, (of course, nobody would believe us.) I once saw a painting of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Rupa Gosvami here in a room of our temple here in New Vrindavan, which depicted a transcendental meeting of our Srila Prabhupada and Srila Rupa Gosvami, and here are some accounts, which verify this transcendental meeting.

Great acharyas appear to Srila Prabhupada, in dream and in vision-

Gopal Ghosh: "That is where Prabhupada got the idea for ISKCON. It is where Prabhupada did his own personal bhajan. and there many times he told me that Rupa and Jiva Goswamis appeared to him in dreams. PRD 11: "My Eternal Residence" * * * A disciple and former personal servant of Srila Prabhupada said that Srila Rupa Gosvami once appeared to Srila Prabhupada while he was staying at the Radha-Damodara temple in Vrndavana. Before coming to America in 1965, Srila Prabhupada lived here as a renounced sannyasi chanting Hari Nama, praying to Radha-Damodara and the Gosvamis, and translating the Srimad Bhagavatam into English. One day while honoring maha-prasadam, Srila Prabhupada was looking out of the window at the samadhi of Sri Rupa Gosvami. Suddenly, Sri Rupa Gosvami appeared before Srila Prabhupada and spoke these most encouraging words:

"Maharaja, don't worry about anything. Go ahead and travel to the West and preach. Just preach the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the chanting of Hare Krishna. You'll be successful. I guarantee because I will be right with you all the time." GVSV: Darsana Stories

So we see that Jiva and Rupa Gosvamis have given darshan to several devotees, and Rupa Gosvami gave his personal darshan to Srila Prabhupada, and conferred upon him spoken words of blessings and assurance of success in his mission. Srila Prabhupada didn't mention this to us, but Lord Krishna arranged that this be told, in order to glorify His devotee, Srila Prabhupada. We can be assured from Srila Prabhupada's recommendation above, that if we sincerely pray to the previous acharyas, then they will surely hear and bless us. We have heard accounts of many devotees, old and young, who've had Srila Prabhupada's darshan in either dream or visions.

One of the most famous and amazing re-appearance darshans of past acharyas, ever recorded in the written documents of Vaisnava history, was at the Kheturi festival organized by Narottam Das Thakur, in the early 1500's-

This is accepted by Gaudiya Vaishnavas as an objective fact for a number of reasons, not least of which may be the miraculous occurrence that has been documented by all biographers of the period: Mahaprabhu and all His associates, many of whom had left the mortal world more than fifty years earlier, personally appeared at the Kheturi festival and danced at the height of Narottam's blessed kirtan. Thousands of attending devotees bore witness to this sacred event. The author of Bhakti-ratnakara incredulously asks, "Who can describe the incomparable happiness of the devotees when in the midst of the kirtan the munificent Shri Chaitanya and His associates descended for the pleasure of His devotees? Like a flash of lightning in the middle of a mass of beautiful clouds, Shri Chaitanya Himself appeared within the multitude of His followers." According to the Prema-vilas, Mahaprabhu appeared with Nityananda Prabhu, Shri Adwaita, Gadadhar, Shrivas Thakur, Haridas Thakur, Swarup Damodar, Rupa-Sanatan, and many others. Who, indeed, can imagine the heightened bhava as Jahnava saw her departed husband in the midst of the kirtan? Who can imagine the feeling of Adwaita Acharya's sons when they saw their father singing and dancing as if he were a young man? How did Shrivas Thakur's brothers stop themselves from crying when they saw Shrivas himself dancing in front of Mahaprabhu, just as they remembered him? In fact, they could not control themselves and were carried away by the ecstasy of being reunited with the Lord and His associates. By experiencing Vipralambha-bhava (intense separation) they were all to experience sambhoga, or divine union. Ref. VedaBase, VS The Lord Descends

Why and how the great acharyas are sent directly from the spiritual world

Gaudiya Vaisnavas therefore worship Srila Gurudeva (the spiritual master) in the light of his being the servitor of the Personality of Godhead. In all the ancient literatures of devotional service and in the more recent songs of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and other unalloyed Vaisnavas, the spiritual master is always considered either one of the confidential associates of Srimati Radharani or a manifested representation of Srila Nityananda Prabhu. Adi 1.47P

And prominent acharyas are manjaris-

In their pure spiritual forms as maidservant manjaris, the six Goswamis plus Lokanatha and Krishna das Kaviraj Goswamis comprise the inner circle of manjaris. Since Lord Chaitanya's time, all the Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas, in their spiritual manjari forms, serve Lalita, Visakha, and Radha-Shyamasundar under the direction of Sri Rupa Manjari (Rupa Goswami). The spiritual forms of the prominent Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas are listed here: 1. Rupa Goswami - Rupa Manjari, 2. Jiva Goswami - Vilas Manjari, 3. Sanatana Goswami - Labanga Manjari, 4. Raghunatha das Goswami - Rati, Rasa Manjari, 5. Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami - Raga Manjari, 6. Gopala Bhatta Goswami - Guna, Ananga Manjari, 7. Krishna das Kaviraj - Kasturi Manjari 8. Lokanath Goswami - Manjulali Manjari, 9. Narottama das Thakur - Camak Manjari, 10. Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur - Vinoda Manjari, 11. Jagannath das Babaji - Rasika Manjari, 12. Bhaktivinoda Thakur -Kamala Manjari, 13. Gaurakisor das Babaji - Guna Manjari, 14. Bhaktisiddhanta - Nayana Manjari.

In the Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Srila Prabhupada describes the manjaris:

"It is very difficult to express the manjaris' dealings with Krishna because they have no desire to mix with Krishna or enjoy Him personally. Rather, they are always ready to help Radharani associate with Krishna. Their affection for Krishna and Radharani is so pure that they are simply satisfied when Radha and Krishna are together. Indeed their transcendental pleasure is in seeing Radha and Krishna united. The actual form of Radharani is just like a creeper embracing the tree of Krishna, and the damsels of Vraja, the associates of Radharani, are just like the leaves and flowers of that creeper." (TLC p. 331)

At the present time, the spiritual form of Srila Prabhupada is unknown, but from his activities, writings, and lectures we can understand that he is a very dear and confidential associate of Sri Rupa Goswami. Ref. VedaBase = PRD 6: Sannyasa Years at Radha-Damodara

We do not know for certain what Srila Prabhupada's eternal spiritual identity is, but we can know for certain that Srila Prabhupada is a confidential associate of Srila Rupa Gosvami, and serves him in a similar way like the other prominent acharyas, who are manjaris. Srila Prabhupada said in later years that he "received great inspiration from Rupa Goswami, and that the plans for the Krishna consciousness movement were formulated during his years at Radha-Damodara." He gave us a hint of his Swarupa identity with Lord Krishna in his poem "Prayer to the Lotus Feet of Lord Krishna," written on board the Jaladuta when he crossed the ocean "O dear friend, in Your company I will experience great joy once again. In the early morning I will wander about the cowherd pastures and fields. Running and frolicking in the many forests of Vraja, I will roll on the ground in spiritual ecstasy. Oh when will that day be mine?" JD 8.1: Prayer unto the Lotus Feet of Krsna

Lord Krishna sends His representative from the spiritual world-

Krsna is the father of all living entities. He is not happy that all these souls in the material world are rotting like hogs. Therefore He sends His representatives. In the case of Lord Jesus Christ, Krsna sent His son. Lord Jesus claimed to be the son of God. Everyone is a son of God, but this son was an especially favorite son, and he was sent to a particular place to reclaim the conditioned souls back home, back to Godhead. Ref. VedaBase = SC 10: The Next Life: It's Up to Us.

Srila Prabhupada confirms that Lord Krishna personally sends His special and confidential servants to this material world to reclaim the conditioned souls and bring them back to Godhead. Most all of the great acharyas in our parampara are eternal associates of Lord Krishna, personally sent to this earth by Him, as seen in the above information that the recent acharyas are maidservant manjaris to the six Gosvamis and Krishna dasa Kaviraja in their original manjari forms, under the direction of Sri Rupa Manjari.

Lord Caitanya sends his great devotee, Srila Prabhupada-

Lochan Das Thakur, in his Chaitanya Mangal, predicted that a sena-pati, or a "great general," would come and accomplish this mission. This was Srila Prabhupada. Also, Bhaktivinode Thakur, in an article entitled "Nityananda Suryodoy," which was published in the 1800s, in his Sajjana-toshani magazine -- he predicted that soon a time is coming when the chanting of Krishna's name will be heard in England, France, Russia, Germany, and America. Srila Prabhupada brought this to fruition. There is also one document from the fifteenth century. It is called the Bhagavat Mahatmya. In this book, Narada, the great sage, has a conversation with bhakti personified. In the course of this conversation, bhakti says, idam sthanam parityajya videsham gamyate maya. Literally, this means: "I will leave this country, India, and go abroad!" The same text informs us that this personified bhakti will go to South India and then leave to go abroad after staying in Vrindavan. This is exactly what Prabhupada did. Ref. VedaBase = OS 6: Chapter Six

Here we have sastra authority that Srila Prabhupada was directly sent to this world by Lord Caitanya, and Srila Prabhupada was Lord Caitanya's sena-pati great general. Srila Prabhupada told his disciples, "never was there a time when I did not know Krishna."

A disciple writes-

You yourself once declared to some disciples, "never was there a time when I did not know Krsna." Who can estimate your glories, and what fool would dare to compare himself to you? You have descended to fulfill the prophecy of Lord Caitanya that this chanting of Hare Krsna would resound in every town and village in the world. You have delivered to this world in its darkest hour over fifty large books on the science of God, which are the framework for ISKCON and the law books for mankind for the next ten thousand years. Ref. VedaBase = Vyasa puja 1984, Vancouver

We should press upon all new devotees the extreme importance of never entertaining the thought that the great acharyas in our parampara are like ordinary human beings. Such an offensive mentality is described as naraka, or hellish. And we should never even slightly think that Srila Prabhupada was just another guru, but we should be firm in conviction, from sastra, that he is the sena-pati great general of Lord Caitanya's sankirtan movement, sent by Lord Caitanya Himself, that he is jagat guru of the world, and he was sent to the western world by bhakti personified, as said in the Bhagavat Mahatmya. It is the duty of all devotees who follow in Srila Prabhupada's legacy to inform everyone of Srila Prabhupada's exalted status of founder-acharya and Lord Caitanya's sena-pati great general guru for everyone in his movement.

Vishoka Dasa