First – the disclaimer – all of this is purely speculative, I have never asked any authority to comment much less confirm my ideas. Do not take them seriously. On the other hand, I don’t think I’ve taken these ideas from any unauthorized sources and I don’t see them as irreconcilable with our official version. I would say that our official version doesn’t consider such propositions at all and so does not have an official position and no one knows what the official position would be once all the arguments are considered.
Basically, what I’ve been arguing for the past couple of days is that Lord Caitanya’s manifestation in this world was “material”. Of course there’s an eternal, spiritual Navadvīpa where the Lord rules the realm along with Pañca-tattva and all the residents there are His eternal, spiritual associates, I’m talking about time the Lord spent preaching around India and living in Jagannātha Purī.
Think of all the devotees the Lord met there. Is Rāmānanda Rāya present in Navadvīpa? I don’t think so, there’s no evidence to say that he is. Is Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya present in Navadvīpa? Is Sanātana Gosvāmī present in Navadvīpa? Rūpa Gosvāmī? Is Haridāsa Ṭhākura there?
I have no objections to Lord eternal pastimes going on in Navadvīpa up to this day, even if non-manifested, but I have no reason to believe they continue in Purī and all the other places the Lord visited throughout His life.
Look at the evidence of Lord life and that of His associates outside Navadvīpa – they were behaving just like ordinary human beings, they got old, they got sick, and they eventually died. We can say that the Lord’s body is fully spiritual and so not subjected to decay or any other material transformations and He didn’t actually die, but what about bodies His associates?
Gadādhara Paṇḍita is a member of Pañca-tattva and Lord’s eternal associate in Navadvīpa but in Purī he lived like an ordinary man, he eventually got so old that he couldn’t stand up to serve his deity anymore – that’s how we’ve got sitting Ṭoṭā Gopīnāntha in Purī. Was Gadādhara Paṇḍita’s body fully spiritual in a sense of ever youthful? Obviously not.
What of Haridāsa Ṭhākura? He was an incarnation of Lord Brahmā and/or Prahlāda Mahārāja. Is there an eternal spiritual form of his present in Navadvīpa? What of his pastimes in Jagannātha Purī? Are they present in Navadvīpa? I don’t see how it could be possible without transferring the entire Purī līlā into the spiritual world.
Once we allow Purī līlā in, what would be the reason to exclude Lord’s pastimes elsewhere? What about that one case when Lord’s servant got lured away by gypsy women? That could not be happening in the spiritual world. Neither could the fall of Choṭa Haridāsa be there.
What if we consider our paramparā starting with the Lord Himself. His body was fully spiritual and so were bodies of Lord Nityānanda and Advaita Ācārya, but what about the body of Gadadhāra Paṇḍita? The one that was visible in Purī? What about bodies or Rūpa and Sanātana?
We have samādhis of many of our ācāryas in Vṛndāvana and elsewhere, including samādhi of Haridāsa Ṭhākura in Purī. We know that their bodies are still there, this means that theirs weren’t fully spiritual forms. We could say they were spiritualized like an iron rod put into fire becomes just as hot but that does not mean that they have eternal spiritual forms of “Rūpa” and “Sanātana” and others. We know that our Śrila Prabhupāda was not his body and that his spiritual form was different from what we could see with our material eyes, why shouldn’t we extend this understanding to the forms of our previous ācāyras all the way to Rūpa Gosvāmī?
All of this makes me see Lord Caitanya’s out of Navadvīpa pastimes as taking place with the material energy, reuniting it with the Supreme through saṅkīrtana yajña.
This means that we can’t expect having a relationship with the Lord beyond what we are having now just as we can’t expect to be any closer to Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmīs than we are now, just as we can never become Śrila Prabhupāda’s disciples – we well always be generations away from them, never their associates.
This means that when we read and discuss Lord’s Purī pastimes like dancing at the temple, participating in Ratha Yātrā or cleaning Guṇḍicā temple we are talking about events that will never ever happen again and we will never ever be a part of. Never.
This is quite different from reading about Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes where we always have a chance to participate, though probably not the ones outside Mathurā, Vṛndāvana, and Dvārakā, which is enough. Being excluded from Lord Caitanya’s pastimes in Purī seems like being robbed of so many spiritual opportunities. Half of Lord Caitanya’s life was spent outside Navadvīpa, after all. Even in Navadvīpa His saṅkīrtana pastimes took only a couple of years after His initiation by Īśvara Purī. Can we hope to be a part of those?
I don’t think it would be easy to support such hope. As I said earlier – there were lots of devotees who were never a part of those pastimes and we are their distant followers. If Rūpa Gosvāmī didn’t have “Rūpa Gosvāmī” form in Navadvīpa then what is the hope for us to be there?
This changes everything, as they say.
We ARE nothing but Lord Caitanya’s servants yet we don’t have a place in His pastimes. Well, that is pretty disappointing. Does this mean that when we visit Mayapur what we see is what we get, unlike Vṛṇdāvana where we can always hope of having our own spiritual place, however hidden from our present material view? It would appear to be so.
Does this mean that we will never ever attain Mahāprabhu no matter what we do? That He will always manifest t us only through serving His mission, never in person?
Does this mean that our constitutional position is to be as far away from the Lord as we are now?
Does this mean that our only connection to the Lord is through our guru-paramparā and we can’t expect anything more?
Of course Lord Caitanya can appear to us if He wants to but that would be a one time occasion, not us resuming our lost relationships with Him.
What if we will never ever “see” the Lord at all? What if all we have is His transcendental name and even when it reveals Himself to us it won’t change our present situation in any way? That we will see Lord’s mercy where we now see only material nature but nothing more?
This is a lot less to look forward to than I expected. On the other hand – holy name contains everything in itself already, there will be nothing missing once we get to really hear it no matter our present situation or constitutional position.
This understanding of Lord’s position is very confusing to me but so far I don’t see how it could be wrong. I called this post “implications” but I’ve only started to comprehend the full effect of this “realization”, maybe I need time to think this through and come up with a more coherent presentation.