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Tulasi Dasa's Essay

3944 words - 16 pages

Dear Bhakti-vaidurya Madhava Maharaja,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga. I have received your letter dated June 21, 1996. Because I am presently on tour, I was delayed in responding to your letter. Please forgive me for this.

I have read your letter, and in this regard I want to say that you should not take My response as that of an opponent, but rather as that of a friend. For about fifty-five years I have had the good fortune to associate with very learned disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada who are deeply conversant with all the conclusions of sastra. As a result, I had the opportunity to hear form and serve ...view middle of the document...

All the four Vaisnava Sampradayas are worthy of our respect. His name, Tulasi dasa, is a Vaisnava name and he wore the vertical (urddhva-pundra) Vaisnava tilaka. He also wore tulasi mala around his neck and was initiated into the sri-rama-mantra, which is a mantra for obtaining perfection. His guru was siddha Narahari (Nrsimha deva) dasa. His worshipful Deities were Sri Sita-Ramacandra, who are incarnations of Sri Radha-Krsna. In his numerous books he often glorified Vrajendranandana Krsna. He explained the prominent glories of sri-nama, especially for the age of Kali. He translated the Sanskrit slokas of the Vedas, Upanisads, Puranas, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and especially the Ramayana, into Hindi poetical verse. He has written on the importance of saranagati, and he accepted bhagavad-prema as the highest goal and object for the jivas. He accepted the nine forms of bhakti described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. He accepted the jivas to be the separated parts-and-parcels of the Lord, as has been explained in the Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. He also accepted the doctrine of acintya bheda-abheda or, in other words, the simultaneous oneness and difference which exists between the omnipotent Lord and His potency (sakti-saktiman). He completely disregarded sayujya-mukti and the other forms of liberation. Throughout his writings he refuted the theory of mayavada. Therefore, he has not expressed mayavada conclusions in any of his writings.

It is incorrect to think that Sriman Madhvacarya has accepted only the Valmiki Ramayana as authoritative. In his commentary on a statement from the Skanda Purana he has written as follows (quoted in Gaudiya Kanthahra):

rg yajuh samatharvacca bharatam pancaratrakam
mula-ramayanan caiva sastram ityabhidiyate
yac canukulam etasya tac ca sastram prakirttitam
ato 'nya grantha vistaro naiva sastram kuvartma tat

"The four Vedas - Rg, Yayur, Sama and Atharva - the Mahabharata, the original Ramayana, and the Pancaratra are all authoritative and bona fide scriptures. Any scriptures which follow in support of them are all accepted as authoritative. All other scriptures apart from these are not accepted as authoritative."

Srila Swami Maharaja supports the very same conclusion as seen in the following quotes:

"According to Srila Rupa Gosvami, any book which gives enlightenment in the matter of advancing in devotional service is considered to be revealed scripture. Srila Madhvacarya has also defined revealed scriptures as referring to books such as the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas, Upanisads, Vedanta - and any other literature written in pursuance of such revealed scriptures." (NOD Chapter 12)

"Therefore we have to gather knowledge from the right source. Indeed, in reality we can get knowledge only from the Vedic sources. The four Vedas, with their supplementary Puranas, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and their corollaries, which are known as smrtis, are all authorized sources of knowledge. If we...

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