9: Historical Examples

Vaishnavis have traditionally given siksa instruction in the course of assisting their husband’s or father’s instruction of their or their Acarya’s disciples. The SAC’s references, due to their questionable sources and contradiction to Srila Prabhupada, are not reliable proof of FDG.

SAC: “Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura writes in his Anubhasya, ‘Virabhadra Gosani was the direct son of Srila Nityananda Prabhu and a disciple of Jahnava Devi.’” (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 11.8 purport)

This does not say Virabhadra was a diksa disciple. As we have seen in Srimad Bhagatam evidence, which has been ignored by the SAC:

“Jahnava-mata is also within the list of Lord Nityānanda’s followers” “All the devotees who are followers of Jahnava-mata are counted within the list of Sri Nityananda Prabhu’s devotees” [CC Adi 11.21]

Jahnava-devi was accepted as acarya, “but she did not declare” because she is a representative of her husband, the “original spiritual master”, Lord Nityananda. The SAC’s statement that Virabhadra and Ramacandra were Jahnava Devi’s diksa disciples also contradicts Caitanya-caritamrita Adi 11.9 which says Ramacandra is the disciple of Virabhadra (who is the “greatest branch” of Lord Nityananda). Note- Nityananda Dasa, author of Prema-vilasa, says he received diksa in a dream and doesn’t specifically say Jahnava initiated Srimati and Narayani. Prabhupada does not present Sita Thakurani as a diksa-guru or as one of Advaita’s branches. In CC Adi Lila 12.59, it is stated that Nandini and Kamadeva were branches of Advaita Acarya, not diksa disciples of Sita Devi. Prema Vilasa Chapter 4 states Sita devi rejected Nandini and Kamadeva from the group of Advaita’s disciples. References to Nandini and Jangali are from chapter 24 of Prema Vilasa which originally contained only 20 chapters. It has been said, that the later chapters, particularly 21-25 of PV are more recent additions. Even Jagadananda, who quotes from Prema Vilasa to support women diksha gurus, admits the PV is a “controversial” book because parts of it contain discrepancies and thus “has been almost completely discredited” by many scholars. [Authenticity of the Caitanya Caritamrita Maha Kavya]

SAC: “We have not found any statement by Srila Prabhupada that the example of Jahnava Devi is not exemplary. Therefore we can take her example as one of the cases in which it is proper to follow the example.“ To follow Jahnava Devi’s example includes her example of cooking and serving devotees prasadam and speaking from behind a curtain. Mother Jahnava was present when Their Lordships Sri Sri Gauranga and Vallabhi-kanta were installed during the first Gaura Purnima celebration at Kheturi-grama. She did not perform the abhiseka but asked Srinivasacarya to perform the ceremony. She did not join the associates of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda on the podium nor did She lead the kirtans. She cooked for Their Lordships and offered the preparations to the Deities. Jahnava Devi followed the strictest etiquette in relation to her dealings with those devotees in male forms. She did not give public lectures on scripture, and remained in the background when male devotees were present. [Bhakti Ratnakar 10.477] She strictly followed Vedic morality as it applied to women.