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Physiognomy of a Pure Devotee

Thursday, 25 October 2012 / Published in Articles / 7,589 views

By Abhaya Mudra Dasi

There may not be even a single person on the planet who would not somehow react to the powerful presence of Shrila Prabhupada. Some claim that they did not find him attractive (due to their own misguided vision). Others stated that His Divine Grace was the most beautiful living entity they had even seen. Some have even compared his appearance to that of an Egyptian pharaoh. Yet, no matter what people have said about the appearance of Shrila Prabhupada, they always admit he is unique. All who have seen him agree that they have never beheld another person on Earth who resembles him. Shrila Prabhupada had a small build like many powerful military leaders including Napoleon. But Shrila Prabhupada’s facial features draw the most attention—particularly his eyes, the windows to the soul of the pure devotee.

Shrila Prabhupada’s eyes were warm and beautiful, with protruding skin all around them. His brown eyes show warmth and a refined writing ability. The baggy eyes illustrate deep memory and facility to grasp facts. The high distance between the iris and the eyebrows show an explicit ability to grasp shape, color and geometrical variations of abstract as well as manifest phenomenon. His thick and long eyebrows show deep thinking and an enormous capacity to love. The flat cheeks display his facility to move amongst others without being invasive, although the distinct space between the upper lip and the nose shows an impressive and commanding personality. The thick lips confirm his exquisite sense of that which is beautiful and is worthy of attention. Shrila Prabhupada’s thicker upper lip shows simplicity of expression and the ability to condense difficult concepts into a single statement that is easily understood. His bold chin explains his bravery as well as deep compassion for others. The dimple in the middle of Shrila Prabhupada’s chin is the mark of an undisputed leader. When he spoke he used to show mostly his lower teeth. This fact shows the great compassion embedded in his character. Shrila Prabhupada’s broad nose exhibits great particularity in work and his large nostrils shows a man that is outwardly wealthy. His double chip shows a realization of goals achieved in later years. His large ears signify wisdom and a sense of hearing that goes beyond the material world. The unique facial features of Shrila Prabhupada reveal many facets that can be read with great depth. Yet still another attribute is the shape of his revealing the features of his brain, something which we can study freely due to the fact that his head was always shaved.

Phrenology, the study of the shape of the head, is a science that came into its own around the 18th century. The main objective of this science is to examine the size of the brain areas as seen from the surface of the skull. The founder of the modern day phrenology was the German Franz Josef Gall. By studying his classmates at school he discovered that some of the students with protruding eyes had better memories. Phrenology was popularized by Gall’s follower named Johann Spurzheim. Later a Scottish lawyer named George Combe would become the main promoter of phrenology throughout the English speaking world after he was convinced of its merits by viewong a brain dissection performed by Spurzheim. In truth phrenology’s origins can be found in the Vedas and are bundled under the heading Samudrika Shastra. The name for this science comes from a group of rishis who examined the auspicious marks on the transcendental body of Lord Vishnu as he slept upon the Garbhodhak Ocean or samudra. Phrenology provided a great impetus to modern studies of psychology, is seen in this illustration:

Next we see phrenology, as it was understood in the 19th century:

Shrila Prabhupada’s head from all angles reflects the marks of spiritual genius:

We can clearly see great bumps on the area of marked approbativeness and consciousness. Shrila Prabhupada knew exactly what is right and he was always fully conscious. Also note the almost triangular shape of the top of his head showing extreme firmness. Examining his head from the front we can clearly see that the top of the head is wider than the area around the ears. The areas that are appropriated with acquiring things for self-enjoyment and secretiveness are insignificant as compared to the rest of spiritual areas. The bump on the back of his head shows parental love and care of all living entities. As seen in this photo taken while His Divine Grace was taking his daily stroll that his head always points upward. In fact, the cranial region that rules spirituality coincides with the area that Shrila Prabhupada always pointed to the sky. He had his own distinct walk that many tried to emulate. However, it would appear that a person must actually be self-realized in order to hold his head at such a dignified angle.

Beauty exists when there is form and substance. Ordinary people find the faces of dolls to be beautiful even though they are not alive. Shrila Prabhupada’s features were extremely vibrant and and therefore emanated the light of real beauty, eternal life. He was unique in the entire world and his face—as well as his entire appearance—reveals his transcendental and worshipful qualities.

53 Responses to “Physiognomy of a Pure Devotee”

  1. Puskaraksa das says :

    The Nectar of Instruction 6

    dṛṣṭaiḥ svabhāva-janitair vapuṣaś ca doṣair
    na prākṛtatvam iha bhakta janasya paśyet
    gańgāmbhasāḿ na khalu budbuda-phena-pańkair
    brahma-dravatvam apagacchati nīra-dharmaiḥ

    Being situated in his original Kṛṣṇa conscious position, a pure devotee does not identify with the body. Such a devotee should not be seen from a materialistic point of view. Indeed, one should overlook a devotee’s having a body born in a low family, a body with a bad complexion, a deformed body, or a diseased or infirm body. According to ordinary vision, such imperfections may seem prominent in the body of a pure devotee, but despite such seeming defects, the body of a pure devotee cannot be polluted. It is exactly like the waters of the Ganges, which sometimes during the rainy season are full of bubbles, foam and mud. The Ganges waters do not become polluted. Those who are advanced in spiritual understanding will bathe in the Ganges without considering the condition of the water.

    “No one should criticize the bodily defects of a pure devotee. If there are such defects, they should be overlooked. ”

    “If we consider the bodily defects of a Vaiṣṇava, we should understand that we are committing an offense at the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇava. An offense at the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava is very serious. Indeed, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has described this offense as hātī-mātā, the mad elephant offense. A mad elephant can create a disaster, especially when it enters into a nicely trimmed garden. One should therefore be very careful not to commit any offense against a Vaiṣṇava. Every devotee should be ready to take instructions from a superior Vaiṣṇava, and a superior Vaiṣṇava must be ready to help an inferior Vaiṣṇava in all respects. One is superior or inferior according to his spiritual development in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One is forbidden to observe the activities of a pure Vaiṣṇava from a material point of view. For the neophyte especially, considering a pure devotee from a material point of view is very injurious. One should therefore avoid observing a pure devotee externally, but should try to see the internal features and understand how he is engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. In this way one can avoid seeing the pure devotee from a material point of view, and thus one can gradually become a purified devotee himself.”

  2. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    Thank you, Pushkaraksha Prabhu for the comment but if I an not mistaken, your quotes seem to indicate that you have misunderstood the basis of the article. Glorification of the auspicious marks and bodily features of exalted personalities is found throughout shastra, including the very words of Shrila Prabhupada himself.

    Here you may see for yourself this science of samudrika shastra described by Shrila Prabhupada in a nutshell:

    “The law of nature is so subtle that every part of our body is influenced by the respective stars, and a living being obtains his working body to fulfill his terms of imprisonment by the manipulation of such astronomical influence. A man’s destiny is therefore ascertained by the birthtime constellation of stars, and a factual horoscope is made by a learned astrologer. It is a great science, and misuse of a science does not make it useless. Mahārāja Parīkṣit or even the Personality of Godhead appear in certain constellations of good stars, and thus the influence is exerted upon the body thus born at an auspicious moment. The most auspicious constellation of stars takes place during the appearance of the Lord in this material world, and it is specifically called jayantī, a word not to be abused for any other purposes. Mahārāja Parīkṣit was not only a great kṣatriya emperor, but also a great devotee of the Lord. Thus he cannot take his birth at any inauspicious moment. As a proper place and time is selected to receive a respectable personage, so also to receive such a personality as Mahārāja Parīkṣit, who was especially cared for by the Supreme Lord, a suitable moment is chosen when all good stars assembled together to exert their influence upon the King. Thus he took his birth just to be known as the great hero of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This suitable arrangement of astral influences is never a creation of man’s will, but is the arrangement of the superior management of the agency of the Supreme Lord. Of course, the arrangement is made according to the good or bad deeds of the living being. Herein lies the importance of pious acts performed by the living being. Only by pious acts can one be allowed to get good wealth, good education and beautiful features.” SB 1.12.12 : PURPORT


  3. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    From the Bhagavata SB 4.21.15 we find this example glorifying the prominent features of a great personality:

    “King Pṛthu’s body was tall and sturdy, and his complexion was fair. His arms were full and broad and his eyes as bright as the rising sun. His nose was straight, his face very beautiful and his personality grave. His teeth were set beautifully in his smiling face.”

    Bhaktivedanta Purport: Amongst the four social orders (brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras), the kṣatriyas, both men and women, are generally very beautiful. As will be apparent from the following verses, it is to be concluded that not only were Mahārāja Pṛthu’s bodily features attractive, as described here, but he had specific all-auspicious signs in his bodily construction.
    As it is said, “The face is the index of the mind.” One’s mental constitution is exhibited by his facial features. The bodily features of a particular person are exhibited in accordance with his past deeds, for according to one’s past deeds, his next bodily features—whether in human society, animal society or demigod society—are determined. This is proof of the transmigration of the soul through different types of bodies.

  4. I appreciate that there is a science behind the reading of facial and bodily features. But I wonder if the efficacy of this science can be proven before, and not after the fact. For instance, although the sun is spherical, and scientists have not a clue why it is spherical, but they nonetheless manufacture theories as to why the sun is spherical – after the fact.

    This is not to say that Mataji’s observations are manufactured – they are not. But let us suppose Mataji were to analyse the facial features of our Dandavats contributors for example – the photos are there – and not knowing the history and backgrounds of the various devotees, but make an analysis then, and see if they match up to realities on the ground.

    A thought came that bags under the eyes can indicate water retention in the body. People are usually self conscious of these ‘beauty’ or ‘plastic’ blemishes, and can appear unhealthy too. I was surprised to read that this indicates memory retention. Is this true for everyone? Or in combination with other features that might enhance or diminish such qualities? Interesting …

    Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  5. Puskaraksa das says :

    Yes, one generally gets a body according to one’s previous karma. That karma can also be evaluated, to some extent, through astrology and other aspects of material science (since these apply in the material world).

    The point is, as per Srila Rupa Goswami:

    “Being situated in his original Kṛṣṇa conscious position, a pure devotee does not identify with the body. Such a devotee should not be seen from a materialistic point of view. Indeed, one should overlook a devotee’s having a body born in a low family, a body with a bad complexion, a deformed body, or a diseased or infirm body. According to ordinary vision, such imperfections may seem prominent in the body of a pure devotee, but despite such seeming defects, the body of a pure devotee cannot be polluted.”

    So, the same applies to all kinds of external & temporary physical features.

    Srila Prabhupada warns us:

    “No one should criticize the bodily defects of a pure devotee. If there are such defects, they should be overlooked.” “If we consider the bodily defects of a Vaiṣṇava, we should understand that we are committing an offense at the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇava.” “For the neophyte especially, CONSIDERING A PURE DEVOTEE FROM A MATERIAL POINT OF VIEW IS VERY INJURIOUS. ONE SHOULD THEREFORE AVOID OBSERVING A PURE DEVOTEE EXTERNALLY, but should try to see the internal features and understand how he is engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. IN THIS WAY ONE CAN AVOID SEEING THE PURE DEVOTEE FROM A MATERIAL POINT OF VIEW, and thus one can gradually become a purified devotee himself.”

    So, if today, one is allowed to analyze the body of a pure devotee externally, even while cautiously avoiding to point out any defect (which is much easier a posteriori), tomorrow someone else will do the same and will find defects in the body of a pure devotee. Then, the door for offenses is wide open. So, this type of attitude shouldn’t be encouraged, all the more that this type of external “dissection” is also somewhat crude and disrespectful in essence.

    Therefore, one should cautiously asbtain and refrain from judging a pure devotee, and as it is, any devotee, and even further anyone, as per his or her bodily features, as appearances are known to be deceptive!

    Moreso, one should try to see and appreciate “the internal features”, which are far more interesting as they are direct manifestations of the spirit soul, whereas the bodily bag, is nothing but an arrangement of flesh and bones!

  6. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    Thank you for you comment Keshava Krishna Prabhu.

    Physiognomy is linked to astrology as given in the quote by Shrila Prabhupada in my previous comment. The combination of planets in an infinite variety produces always different features, each of which is unique. Since in the material world we do not have entirely positive circumstances some features like the puffy eyes can indicate kidney problems on the negative side but also a good memory on the positive side. In Shrila Prabhupada’s case the bags were formed not only due to his years, but due to his protruding eyes. We can observe his eyes from early photos when His Divine Grace was younger. His eyes are the eyes of a person who has good memory and does not miss a fact from his observation. This conclusion is in accordance with Gull, a man who became interested in samudrika shastra being urged by other discoveries in the Vedas during his time. This you can follow in the other article I wrote “ How the Scientists stole the Vedas”.

    One of the keys to pysiognomy is seen in the old adage which Shrila Prabhupada himself quoted. And that is, “The face is the key to the mind.” When an intelligent and experienced person sees the face of a person, he is able to read the features and link them to the mind of that person. I have researched what people who have studied samudrika shasta in some depths have written about the different features according to the face’s shape, form, size and color. Next I have applied those studies to the face of Shrila Prabhupada in my humble attempt to glorify the unique features of ISKCON’s founder-acharya. There is no other face like his in the whole universe. As, I mentioned in the article, it is in no way complete, because the features of Shrila Prabhupada carry so much more meaning that I have been able to describe. But as a practitioner of astrology and a person who is involved in analyzing psychology vis a vis the physical forms as they are manifested due to individual past karmas, the journey of discovering more about the auspicious features of Shrila Prabhupada has been a revelation that I wanted to share. Thanks to Dandavats for allowing that, and once again to you for reading the article, Prabhu.

  7. Puskaraksa das says :

    “In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that in order to make spiritual progress, one must become fearless. Abhayaṁ sattva-saṁśuddhiḥ (Bg. 16.1). Fearfulness is the result of material involvement. It is also said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.37), bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syāt: fearfulness is a creation of the bodily conception of life. As long as one is absorbed in the thought that he is this material body, he is fearful, and as soon as one is freed from this material conception, he becomes brahma-bhūta, or self-realized, and immediately becomes fearless. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā (Bg. 18.54). Without being fearless, one cannot be joyful. The bhaktas, the devotees, are fearless and always joyful because they are constantly engaged in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord.” (Prabhupada Purport SB 4.24.52)

  8. I can understand the concerns of Puskaraksha Prabhu. It sounds as if there is no place at all for describing the physical attributes of a pure devotee like Srila Prabhupada. Now, what if they were described in a positive light, as appears in this article?

    We can broaden the positive descriptions, and can think of many that are recorded for posterity. If we read recollections of disciples meeting Srila Prabhupada for the first time, or serving with him, or even from witnesses from a distance, we shall read of the usual ‘golden’ complexion of Srila Prabhupada. Some speak of his smile, his aloofness, his ‘grave’ or ‘sober’ countenance, his ‘upright posture,’ and many more, all which describe his physical attributes. Are these all offensive?

    Some devotees even said that they were surprised by his relatively small physical stature in comparison with his larger-than-life exuded being. Srila Prabhupada sometimes pointed to a scar on his forehead resulting from childhood times. Are these all offensive for us?

    If we use these in a negative way of course, or identify these with karmic or worldly actions and reactions, then they are offensive.

    Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  9. Puskaraksa das says :

    One of his disciples once told Srila Prabhupada: “You are very beautiful”. To which Srila Prabhupada answered: “This is because you see through the eyes of love”

    I understand Abhaya Mudra devi dasi didn’t mean harm and that she is just trying to apply and display some of the knowledge and understanding she may have acquired about a material science based on the study of bodily and especially facial features, so as to try and depict some of the gifts and attibutes Srila Prabhupada inherited and displayed in this “incarnation” or “physical manifestation”, so to speak.

    But we have to understand that coldly studying the bodily features of a pure devotee tends to be offensive as, first of all, one has no right to do so. To the contrary, the attitude of the disciple or of any future generation has to be meak and humble. So, how will one dissect the body of one’s spiritual master or param guru?

    We are not taking an anatomy lesson at the medical school, are we?
    Which is far different from seeing through the eyes of love!

    Besides, others may oppose some other point of view, be it because of some other subjective angle of vision due to their own personal conditioning or because of some other scientific approach such as medicine, nutrition, etc.

    Moreover, far more important and considerate than launching an analytical study or even a controversy about “the baggy eyes” of Srila Prabhupada’s external manifestation, would be to try and understand the internal nature of Srila Prabhupada.

    In that respect, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja used to say that one will know that he or she has received the mercy of Guru, when Guru reveals his nitya svarupa to his disciple.

    So, far more important than disserting about the features of the form manifested by Sri Guru, which is now, in the case of Srila Prabhupada, resting in samadhi, in Sri Vrindavana Dhama, would be to have Srila Prabhupada reveal, by his own mercy and on his own sweet will, his nitya svarupa to us.

    Hence, we wouldn’t see anymore Srila Prabhupada with our limited material vision and through our defective understanding as the conditioned stage, only as per the form he manifested for a limited period of time in front of the eyes of his contemporaries, but also in his nitya lila, in which we aspire to join, as his menial servant, or the menial servant of his servants, or the menial servant of the servants of his servants…

    Nitya lila pravista Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya…

  10. veda says :

    I was taught in gurukula that one should never consider the pure devotee to be of material nature. Thus I find it difficult to understand the need of some devotees to dissect Srila Prabhupada’s astrological chart or facial features – I dont have any sanskrit verses to throw around but I was taught it was offensive to do so. As Puskaraksa points out, it could bring into the discussion opposing views from other experts who don’t believe in Srila Prabhupada’s divinity and have a different explanation than Abhay Mudra’s for his facial features. A pure devotee, wether materially beautiful or ugly and disfigured, is a pure devotee and it is wrong to tie him down to material designations -astrological, physionomical or other.

  11. pustakrishna says :

    Srila Prabhupad was not much interested in having his human form immortalized. In South Africa when the first copies of the 5th. Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam arrived for him to see, he sat at his table and looked at the books. The picture is easy to recognized because of the orange and white checkerboard tiles on the floor. Moments after that, our ISKCON photographer who was taking those photos was heavily chastised by Srila Prabhupad. Srila Prabhupad said, “Why you are always taking photographs (of me)?” Srila Prabhupad was affected sometimes by the paparazzi also. Of course, without those photos, we would not have many of those memories. Earlier in the movement, Gurudas who took many photographs had set up some very nice formal Guru-altar style photos with his permission. Srila Prabhupad’s mood was marked by both pragmatism and humility.
    I had the service to provide Srila Prabhupad’s morning massage on numerous occasions. He said that a doctor (possibly Ayurvedic) had told him that massage helps to vitalize and move the flow of fluid in the body. He would take his massage just before his bath late in the morning which was just before his honoring lunch prasadam. One would start on the top of his head using sandlewood oil. Srila Prabhupad prefered firm massage, circular motions, long strokes, moving fluid from the periphery toward the heart. After the head, the rest of the body was massaged using mustard seed oil. first the back, then the arms and legs. Srila Prabhupad would wear a gumcha during this. The front abdomen was never massaged, at least in my experience. There were particularly joyous times when massaging Srila Prabhupad’s feet which were very soft. One prior servant told me that Srila Prabhupad liked his toes “cracked”. In trying to do that gently, sometimes Srila Prabhupad would chuckle at the efforts to do this, but he never complained.
    We consider that Krishna’s energy of service is spiritual, part of His internal potency. Therefore, the body and senses of pure devotees is spiritualized. There is nothing truly material then about elements used for the service of Krishna. Krishna also says in the Bhagavad gita that during sacrifice, all the elements merge into transcendence, that is to say, they are spiritualized even though they may appear to be composed of matter. We also chant the Holy Names with tongue, air, ears…which become spiritualized. Pusta Krishna das

  12. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    I do love Shrila Prabhupada which means that I do not just merely appreciate His Divine Grace. I worship him and by the grace if my Guru Maharaja His Holiness Suhotra Maharaja I am bound to do his bidding and serve his mission. I have his deity sitting right here next to me as the inspiration for this article. The instructions of Shri Param Guru are my life and soul. By the grace of Shri Guru he as the bona representative of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna is the one who has delivered me from material bondage and continues to show me the way back to Godhead.

    Now, Pushkaraksha Prabhu, where did shastra say that we should not describe the auspicious marks of a pure devotee when Shrila Prabhupada has given us the example and techniques how to do so in his transcendental books?

    Your servant,
    Abhaya Mudra Dasi

  13. In Srimad Bhagavatam we often hear about the auspicious constellations at the time of birth of great personalities (such as Pariksit Maharaja) or of their auspicious bodily features (such as Sukadeva Goswami), and of course we hear a great deal about Lord Krishna’s astrological chart and transcendental form.

    If someone can present authoritative, Gargamuni-like descriptions about Srila Prabhupada or other great personalities, what is the harm? It seems to be within our tradition to remark on such qualities of Bhagavan and His devotees such as Narottama Das Thakur or Raghunath Das Goswami.

    True, it is offensive to consider a pure devotee’s body material. But isn’t pointing out auspicious signs on the body of great devotees the opposite of considering their bodies material? Whether describing the shape of their skull, the lines on their hands and feet, the proportions of their arms, legs, trunk, etc., isn’t the whole idea to show that they are not ordinary, material personalities?

    I suppose some devotees may be concerned that, by even raising the issue, others might call into question the legitimacy of devotees who do not display such auspicious bodily symptoms. Or are they concerned that skeptics will criticize other features that may be considered inauspicious?

    I admit being a little nervous about whether we can explain the auspicious physiognomy of Srila Prabhupada in a way that would hold up to scrutiny by skeptics. Physiognomy, palm-reading, astrology and so on are often attacked as pseudo-science by modern intellectuals. The 19th century criminologist Lombroso developed a theory that biological types of “born criminals” could be distinguished by physical features. Such notions are currently in disrepute (as also are eugenics) due to fear of misuse (e.g. by Nazis)

    When I was around 13 or 14, my father walked into my room with a Back to Godhead and showed me a picture of Srila Prabhupada, and said something grandiose (I cannot remember exactly what) like, “This man will change history”. My atheist father no longer remembers the incident, but I was struck by it at the time. I had not yet become a devotee. My father was simply reacting to the photograph of Srila Prabhupada’s form. My father never presented himself as a phsyiognomist or palmist or anything (he would probably be skeptical about such arts), but somehow he was just moved by Srila Prabhupada’s picture to make such a grand, dramatic announcement.

  14. Puskaraksa das says :

    “One is forbidden to observe the activities of a pure Vaiṣṇava from a material point of view. For the neophyte especially, considering a pure devotee from a material point of view is very injurious. One should therefore avoid observing a pure devotee externally, but should try to see the internal features and understand how he is engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. In this way one can avoid seeing the pure devotee from a material point of view, and thus one can gradually become a purified devotee himself.”

    This is a clear instruction given by Srila Prabhupada in his purport to the verse of Upadesamrita (6), by Srila Rupa Goswami, i.e. Rupa Manjari, who states: “Being situated in his original Kṛṣṇa conscious position, a pure devotee does not identify with the body. Such a devotee should not be seen from a materialistic point of view.”

    Hence, we have to understand the transcendental nature of the body of a pure devotee, whatever it may externally look like, which should therefore not be scrutinized and gauged as per some material criteria, such as the length of the space in between the nose and the lips, the size of the lips, etc.

    And so, O Brāhmaṇa Vyāsadeva, in due course of time I, who was fully absorbed in thinking of Kṛṣṇa and who therefore had no attachments, being completely freed from all material taints, met with death, as lightning and illumination occur simultaneously. (SB 1.6.27)

    “To be fully absorbed in the thought of Kṛṣṇa means clearance of material dirts or hankerings. As a very rich man has no hankerings for small petty things, so also a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is guaranteed to pass on to the kingdom of God, where life is eternal, fully cognizant and blissful, naturally has no hankerings for petty material things, which are like dolls or shadows of the reality and are without permanent value. That is the sign of spiritually enriched persons. And in due course of time, when a pure devotee is completely prepared, all of a sudden the change of body occurs which is commonly called death. And for the pure devotee such a change takes place exactly like lightning, and illumination follows simultaneously. That is to say a devotee simultaneously changes his material body and develops a spiritual body by the will of the Supreme. Even before death, a pure devotee has no material affection, due to his body’s being spiritualized like a red-hot iron in contact with fire.”

  15. Puskaraksa das says :

    “A person acting in the service of Krsna with his body, mind and words is a liberated person, even within the material world.” (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.187) Therefore, one is forbidden to regard the guru as an ordinary human being (gurusu nara-matir… naraki sah). The spiritual master, or acarya, is always situated in the spiritual status of life. Birth, death, old age and disease do not affect him. According to the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, therefore, after the disappearance of an acarya, his body is never burnt to ashes, for it is a spiritual body. The spiritual body is always unaffected by material conditions.” Purport – S.B 10.4.20

    Therefore, one should restrain from prompting such expectable controversies about the body of a pure devotee, as illustrated in the above Post 4: “A thought came that bags under the eyes can indicate water retention in the body. People are usually self conscious of these ‘beauty’ or ‘plastic’ blemishes, and can appear unhealthy too. I was surprised to read that this indicates memory retention. ”

    Srila Prabhupada explains further – 70-01-23 – Letter to Hamsaduta:

    “The next question: the body of a pure devotee is all spiritual and He is not different from His body. That is also a fact. The bodies of all living entities, even though they are not pure devotees, are not actually the bodies of the spirit soul. It is always separate from the spiritual body. The Vedic mantra confirm it by the sound vibration that this spirit soul is always non attached with the material body.

    Therefore, we do not see the actual spiritual body of a pure devotee; but what we see, that is matter.

    Just like the example is given of the shining moon covered by the cloud. When the cloud moves along with the peeping moonshine, it appears that the moon is moving. Anyone who has seen such movement of cloud in the sky must have this experience. So, the moving of the cloud may appear to the layman’s eyes as moving of the moon, but that is not a fact.

    Similarly, the moving of the body of a pure devotee is not the moving of the pure devotee.

    After all, these are facts for the process of realization, but we can try to understand them as far as possible from the statement of authorized Scriptures, through the version of the Spiritual Master or saintly person.”

    This goes deeper than mere “anatomy” and so-called “physionomy” or “psychomorphology”, doesn’t it…?

  16. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    Dear Akruranath Prabhu,

    Thank you for your post that shows the proper understanding regarding the value of the article.

    Regarding Pushkaraksha Prabhu who gives several nice quotes of shastra, he is of course correct that a disciple should never look upon the pure Vaishnava with the same offensive vision as a mere materialist. Therefore it is best to keep one’s eyes focused only on the dust before the lotus feet of the pure devotee of the Lord to avoid the karmi’s mentality of misunderstanding that Krishna’s pure representative is subject to the laws of material nature as we are.

    However, those much-appreciated devotional sentiments do not obscure the fact that Samudrika Shastra is a genuine Vedic science, the value of which Shrila Prabhupada discussed on many an occasion as we have shown above. He even once allowed Haimavati dasi along with her husband to sit next to him and examine the lines on his palm. Shrila Prabhupada was transcendental although at the same time His Divine Grave moved amongst us mere humans for our ultimate deliverance. Appearing amongst humans endowed him with all the attributes of humans: eyes, mouth, nose. In this way the world savior could never be some impersonal void. No, like the lotus he appeared almost as a part of this world yet transcendental to it as described by Shri Krishna Himself in Bhagavad Gita As It Is (5.10).


  17. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    So having eyes with particular shape is in fact very personal and discussing and glorifying the exceptional qualities that reflect the shape as memory is actually a form of worship. Shrila Prabhupada indeed had a superhuman memory. He could quote innumerable Sanskrit verses in such a way that sometimes it was impossible to find out where the verse comes from. We can also say that his eyes have the form of lotus petals. That means they are big and they curve on one side as on the other they are extended. They can also can be compared to the eyes of a deer because they are deep and warm. These comparisons are all found in many places of the revealed shastras including Gaudiya grantha. Pushkaraksha Prabhu is welcomed to quote as many verses as he likes to express his own mood of reverence towards Shri Krishna’s pure devotee. But he and others of that frame of mind should bear in mind that shastras are not one-sided. As it is said, “Different shlokas for different folks.” The Gaudiya shastras which describe the physical features of worshipful Vaishnavas also have their equivalents in the samudrika shastra. Shriman Pushkaraksha Prabhu is certainly entitled to his opinion. However, devotional service is multi-faceted and no devotee can prohibit another from worshiping the pure devotee according to that devotee’s unique vision. Which would include those observations regarding the exalted status of a nitya-siddha who walks amongst us as they are found in the myriad vedic sciences such as vedic astrology and samudrika shastra.

    Your servant,
    Abhaya Mudra Dasi

  18. Part One:

    Puskaraksha Prabhu,

    It is already known to myself that it is forbidden to judge or observe pure devotees from a negative or material point of view. Same applies I am sure for Mataji. So whatever Sastric warnings you write, I accept them all – no argument. If I know not to do this, then why should I do so? We also know that Srila Prabhupada was nonplussed about the same.

    All your quotations are beginning from a premise loaded with terms like “controversy,” “anatomy,””coldly studying” and so on. These are your perceptions. You have chosen to stir up emotions based on these, as if there is no – priti – love, or – sneha – affection for Srila Prabhupada. Do you know my depth of love and affection for Sril Prabhupada? Do you know of Mataji’s depth of love and affection for him?

    But you are questioning that depth with something called, “barking up the wrong tree.” This is the premise I am referring to. Mataji is simply trying to use a different approach tp glorify Srila Prabhupada. It may seem controversial, but if you were to read here previous articles, one of them was about kanistha, madhyama and uttama adhikaris, and “Who Are We?” In her description about kanisthas, she wrote the same things you are saying here, that kanisthas usually identify with and judge on a bodily platform. So has she suspended all judgment in her article?

    Couldn’t there be a case of you assuming something that is not true, in questioning the love and affection for Srila Prabhupada? Your premise shows that this is the case.

    Now, here is an unusual article. It challenges our normal perceptions and habituations. Nonetheless, she is trying to glorify Srila Prabhupada. Isn’t that a glorious thing, by any standard? But instead, we have commentators, who thinking they have a little jnana, raining down upon her attempt like a ton of bricks, with information that is already known.

    I expressed surprise about ‘bags under the eyes’ indicating retention of memory. Then in a general way, asked if according to that science this applies across the board for everybody. Water retention was a known physical condition for Srila Prabhupada. Ask those of Srila Prabhupada’s personal servants who massaged him – they know. Are these servants being offensive for recording these facts in their memoirs? They are for all to read.

    Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  19. Part Two:

    These servants wrote out of love and affection. Have you read HH Tamal Krishna Maharaja’s final book about the final days of Srila Prabhupada? You’ll find much more intimate physical details about Srila Prabhupada there, than you’ll find in this article. Your premise can also be aimed at them, but they do not apply. According to your premise, the whole book by HH Tamal Krishna Maharaja is riddled with ‘cold, anatomical’ offences. But it cannot be. Why? Because of the same love and affection. So why are you directing at others who also discuss with love and affection?

    Wherever there is an attempt to glorify the Lord or His devotees, we should welcome that. The source of that glorification may be unusual or different, and may glare at us like a huge fault, but the Lord does not see such faults, and why should we?

    If you say I am being offensive to Srila Prabhupada by my contribution, then I shall bear the consequences. But I know this is not my intention. If I am a rogue kanisthas because of this, then I can easily live with the mantle of kanistha. If it offended you personally, then I am sure again, that you are mature enough to know that we cannot please everyone, whatever we do.

    Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  20. Okay, Puskaraksa Prabhu, but what do you say about a passage such as S.B. 1.19.26-28?

    This son of Vyasadeva was only sixteen years old. His legs, hands, thighs, arms, shoulders, forehead and the other parts of his body were all delicately formed. His eyes were beautifully wide, and his nose and ears were highly raised. He had a very attractive face, and his neck was well formed and beautiful like a conchshell.

    A respectable personality is described beginning with the legs, and this honored system is observed here with Sukadeva Gosvami. He was only sixteen years of age. A person is honored for his achievements and not for advanced age. A person can be older by experience and not by age. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami, who is described herein as the son of Vyasadeva, was by his knowledge more experienced than all the sages present there, although he was only sixteen years old.

    His collarbone was fleshy, his chest broad and thick, his navel deep and his abdomen beautifully striped. His arms were long, and curly hair was strewn over his beautiful face. He was naked, and the hue of his body reflected that of Lord Krsna.

    His bodily features indicate him to be different from common men. All the signs described in connection with the bodily features of Sukadeva Gosvami are uncommon symptoms, typical of great personalities, according to physiognomical calculations. His bodily hue resembled that of Lord Krsna, who is the supreme among the gods, demigods and all living beings.

    He was blackish and very beautiful due to his youth. Because of the glamor of his body and his attractive smiles, he was pleasing to women. Though he tried to cover his natural glories, the great sages present there were all expert in the art of physiognomy, and so they honored him by rising from their seats.”

    There are many such passages in Srila Prabhupada’s books and throughout Vaisnava literature.

    True, Sri Rupa Goswami warns us not to consider the body of a pure devotee material, even if it appears to be diseased, infirm, old, having a bad complexion, appearing in an undistinguished family, etc.

    And yet, is it wrong to point out the bodily symptoms of great personalities when they are present?

  21. I remember reading a passage in one of Srila Prabhupada’s disciple’s memoirs. Was it from Guru Das? Hayagriva?

    The disciple told Srila Prabhupada of a dream or vision he had of Srila Prabhupada in a beautiful, golden, youthful form, and Srila Prabhupada told the disciple (in the dream) that he did not display this beautiful form to the world, because if he did, people would only follow him for his beauty, cheaply, and not for his profound teachings.

    In the book it goes on to say that the disciple told Srila Prabhupada about the dream and Srila Prabhupada confirmed, “Yes, this is actually the case.”

    It might be Guru Das’s book. I wish I could remember where I read it.

  22. Sitalatma Das says :

    Maybe glorifying bodily features of Srila Prabhupada is a good thing to do, but putting up a chart for double-checking and self-study looks like an invitation for committing aparadhas.

    Let qualified people study Srila Prabhupada’s skull, I’d rather pass, it sounds gross and disrespectful. I think it’s the same reason not everybody was allowed to massage Prabhupada, too.

    Our guru and Krishna are not the subjects of our studies, it’s the wrong attitude to approach them with. They may reveal themselves if they feel like it, or they may not. Krishna is the enjoyer, we are the enjoyed, he is the subject and we, if we get lucky, are objects of His interest, not the other way around. This attitude has no place in Krishna centric world, it’s what we do when we imitate Him and imagine ourselves to be the knower and the world to be the known.

  23. Here is another consideration about an ability to draw or paint Srila Prabhupada. In order to project an accurate depiction of a portrait of him, an artist has to thoroughly copy and highlight all the facial features. Every part of the face has to be observed, and yes, including his eyes.

    According to Puskaraksha Prabhu’s premise, it appears that doing portraits of Srila Prabhupada is offensive. It cannot be, because due respect, along with love and devotion prevail. Otherwise we shall end up all the poorer with philosophical limitations to artistic expression.

    The same premise only applies to none-devotees or those who are envious of Srila Prabhupada.

    Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  24. Puskaraksa das says :

    “How to see God” by Srila Prabhupada:

    “Sometimes people say that they want to see God, but that God is not perceivable to them. But the real question is: do we have the proper eyes to see God? Are we qualified to see the Supreme Lord?

    As it is said in the Padma Purana: “One cannot understand the form, name, quality, or paraphernalia of God with one’s material senses.” Our senses are imperfect, so how can we see the Supreme Person? It is not possible.

    Then how is it possible to see Him? Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau: If we train our senses, if we purify our senses, those purified senses will help us see God. It is just as if we had cataracts on our eyes. Because our eyes are suffering from cataracts, we cannot see. But this does not mean that there is nothing to be seen—only that we cannot see. Similarly, now we cannot conceive of the form of God, but if our cataracts are removed, we can see Him.

    The Brahma-samhita says: premanjana-churita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hridayeshu vilokayanti: [Bs. 5.38] “The devotees whose eyes are anointed with the love-of-God ointment see God, Krishna, within their hearts twenty-four hours a day.” So, we require to purify our senses. Then we’ll be able to understand what the form of God is, what the name of God is, what the qualities of God are, what the abode of God is, and what the paraphernalia of God are, and we’ll be able to see God in everything.

    We cannot understand God by our own endeavor, but God can reveal Himself to us. Trying to see God by our own efforts is just like trying to see the sun when it is dark outside. If we say, “Oh, I have a very strong flashlight, and I shall search out the sun,” we will not be able to see it. But in the morning, when the sun rises out of its own will, we can see it. Similarly, we cannot see God by our own endeavor, because our senses are all imperfect. We have to purify our senses and wait for the time when God will be pleased to reveal Himself before us. This is the process of Krishna consciousness. We cannot challenge, “Oh, my dear God, my dear Krishna, You must come before me. I shall see You.” No, God is not our order-supplier, our servant. When He is pleased with us, we’ll see Him.”


  25. Puskaraksa das says :


    The Svetasvatara Upanishad (4.20) explains “The Lord’s form of beauty is imperceptible to mundane senses. No one can see Him with material eyes. Only those who realize, through deep pure-hearted meditation, this Supreme Personality, who resides in everyone’s heart, can attain liberation.”

    “No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Sri Krishna through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him.” (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.234)1.2.234]

    “Krishna isn’t perceivable by our blunt material senses.” The word namadi means “beginning with His name.” With our material senses we cannot understand Krishna’s names or His form or His qualities or His paraphernalia or His activities. It is not possible.

    Then how are they to be understood? Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah: “When we render transcendental loving service to the Lord with our senses, beginning with the tongue, the Lord gradually reveals Himself.”


    “Eyes To See God”
    (An excerpt from “On the way to Krishna” by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada).

    Sri Krishna says: “You cannot see Me without your present eyes. Therefore I give you divine eyes, so that you can behold My mystic opulence” (Bhagavad-Gita 11.8)

    “It is especially useless to speculate about God. Therefore Shrimad-Bhagavatam recommends that one give up all sorts of speculation. Instead, one should become submissive, realizing not only that he is an insignificant creature, but also that this earth is only one small point in a great universe. New York City may seem very large, but when one realizes that the earth is such a small spot, and that on the earth the United States is another small spot, and that in the USA, New York is but a small spot, and that in New York the individual is only one out of millions, then one can understand that he is not so very important after all. Realizing our significance in the face of the universe and God, we should not be artificially puffed up but should be submissive.”

  26. Puskaraksa das says :

    This is a continuation of a conversation between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and reporters in Melbourne, Australia, on June 29, 1974.

    Reporter 3: Your Divine Grace, you’re saying we can see the Lord only by consulting the scriptures and the succession of bonafide spiritual masters. But supposedly, Lord Krsna is eternal, or indestructible. So surely He must be existing today. Which means we should be able to see Him now.

    HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: Yes, Krsna is existing. For instance, the sun is existing, but at night you have no eyes to see the sun. That does not mean the sun does not exist. It is your deficiency — at night you cannot see the sun… although the sun is always existing, you require qualification to see the sun at night. Similarly, although Krsna always exists, you must be qualified to see Him in the night of this material world. That qualification is described in the Brahma-samhita:

    santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti
    yam syamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
    govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

    “I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda, who is always seen by the devotee whose eyes are anointed with the pulp of love. He is seen in His eternal form of Syamasundara, situated within the heart of the devotee.” – Sri Brahma Samhita Chapter 5, “Hymn to the Absolute,” Mantra 38.

    Those who are saintly persons and in ecstatic love with Krsna — they are seeing Him twenty-four hours a day. That is not very difficult to understand. If you love somebody, you are seeing him or her always. Is it not?

    Reporter 3: That’s so.

    HDG A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami: So seeing Krsna requires the qualification of love. Then Krsna will be visible twenty-four hours a day. He’ll talk with you. These things are described.

    tesam satata-yuktanam bhajatam priti-purvakam
    dadami buddhi-yogam tam yena mam upayanti te

    “To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” -Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Chapter 10 “The Oppulence of the Absolute’, Text 10.

    That means He talks. “I give intelligence.” Unless He talks, how can He give intelligence — “You do this”? So you have to qualify yourself to see and hear Krsna. But Krsna is always present.”

  27. Puskaraksa das says :

    “How to know Krishna” by Srila Prabhupada:

    “Krishna’s lila or His pastimes are eternally going on in the spiritual world, whereas they appear to be happening only at certain points in time within the material energy. However, one who has purified his or her consciousness can still witness these activities even while in the material body. This can especially happen at the holy places (dhamas) where the spiritual and material energies overlap, and where the spiritual world appears with this material domain. Such places include Vrindavana, Mathura, Jagannatha Puri, Dwaraka, etc. And when the Lord is pleased with your service, He can reveal Himself to you. In this way, many greatly elevated and pure devotees of Krishna have been able to have personal darshan of the Lord and witness His pastimes even while in the material body. Then they may leave instructions for the rest of us to follow so that we can do the same. This is verification that the process of devotion, bhakti-yoga, works.

    The Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.29) continues with this point. “My Lord, if one is favored by even a slight trace of the mercy of Your lotus feet, one can understand the greatness of Your Personality. But those who speculate to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead are unable to know You, even though they continue to study the Vedas for many years.”

    The Katha Upanishad (1.2.23) also relates “The Supreme Soul can neither be attained by studying the Veda, nor by sharp intelligence, nor by hearing many discourses on the scriptures. However, the Lord reveals His original transcendental form to the soul who embraces Him within the heart as the only Lord and Master. That soul alone can attain Him–the Supreme Soul, the Personality of Godhead, the Lord of the heart.”

    The main point of consideration is that if we are trying to understand Lord Krishna, then we need to know what pleases Him, which is something that we can find from His direct instructions.

    The key is explained directly by Lord Sri Krishna Himself when he says: “Knowledge about Me as described in the scriptures is very confidential, and it has to be realized in conjunction with devotional service. The necessary paraphernalia for that process is being explained by Me. You may take it up carefully. All of Me, namely My actual eternal form and My transcendental existence, color, qualities and activities–let all be awakened within you by factual realization, out of My causeless mercy.”

  28. Puskaraksa das says :


    “To start on this process, one needs to hear from one who knows and is acquainted with the qualities of Lord Krishna and can explain them to others. This is established in this famous verse:

    yasya deve para bhaktir / yatha deve tatha gurau
    tasyaite kathita hy arthaha / prakashante mahatmanaha

    “Unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master, all the imports of Vedic knowledge are automatically revealed.” (Svetasvatara Upanishad 6.23)

    Lord Krishna also says, however, that “I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by My internal potency, and therefore they do not know that I am unborn and infallible.” (Bg.9.25)

    Lord Brahma concurs with this point and verifies the need for the performance of devotional service, in which he says to Lord Krishna, “My dear Lord, devotional service unto You is the best path for self-realization. If someone gives up that path and engages in the cultivation of speculative knowledge, he will simply undergo a troublesome process and will not achieve his desired result. As a person who beats an empty husk of wheat cannot get grain, one who simply speculates cannot achieve self-realization. His only gain is trouble.” (Bhag. 10.14.4)

    As Lord Krishna establishes the foundation for attaining the means to understand Him, He also explains how to begin the process. “Only by practicing unalloyed devotional service with full faith in Me can one obtain Me, the Supreme Person. I am naturally dear to My devotees, who take Me as the only goal of their loving service. By engaging in such pure devotional service, even the dog-eaters can purify themselves from the contamination of their low birth.” (Bhag.11.14.21)

    In his summary of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Suta Gosvami also explains the above point: “Remembrance of Lord Krishna’s lotus feet destroys everything inauspicious and awards the greatest good fortune. It purifies the heart and bestows devotion for the Supreme Soul, along with knowledge enriched with realization and renunciation.” (Bhag.12.12.55)

    Lord Krishna continues His instructions to Arjuna: “My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding.” (Bg.11.54)


  29. Puskaraksa das says :

    Nandanandana Prabhu narrates:

    “One of the things that struck me the most about Srila Prabhupada when he visited the Mexico City temple for the first time, and the first time I saw him personally and got initiated by him, in June 1972, was during the engagement at the University (UNAM) of Mexico City. You can imagine the setting; at this time there is a lot of convulsion and desire for change in the entire Status Quo from the youth in Mexico. Recently, back in 1968, the government had repressed the students sending the army and killing many students. So, many were skeptics, communists or leftists, rebellious, and of course, many seekers, so before this audience Srila Prabhupada spoke. At the end of the lecture there were questions and answers; one student asked: “Do you see God?”, then, there was an absolute silence, everybody was expectant of the answer. You may know many philosophers and great personalities in history, but you cannot imagine of asking someone can you see God?

    Do you imagine asking Plato, Socrates, Lenin, Marx or anyone whether they can see God? I don’t know of anyone been asked this question with absolute seriousness. So everybody present, students, professors and devotees alike were concentrated in only one thing, Srila Prabhupada’s answer. Then, with paused voice and that security and certainity of his, Srila Prabhupada answered: “If I say yes, would you believe it?”. The student answered, “Yes.” Then Srila Prabhupada said, “Yes, I can see God.” He paused — who else could say “Yes, I can see God”? — then he added, “And you can see Him too,” he quoted, “Premanjana churita bhakti vilocanena…” from Brahma-samhita, and explained on basis of this verse that for one who develops love of Godhead by practicing devotional service, his eyes anointed with the salve of love can see the Supreme Lord. Everybody was very happy with the answer. In the presence of Srila Prabhupada you knew that was truth, there was no doubt, and that was the impact to all the audience. There were even applauses.

    Just to be in the presence of the pure devotee all sins fly away, that is the statement of Srila Bhaktivinode, and we all practically lived it.”

  30. Puskaraksa das says :

    The birth of Vaisnava is unlike the birth of a conditioned soul; he takes his birth under the auspices of the Supreme Lord; he is not forced by the illusory energy (maya) to appear in this material world.

    In his Hari Bhakti Vilasa, Sanatana Goswami has quoted this verse from the Padma Purana:

    na karma-bandhanam janma vaisnavanam ca vidyate
    visnur anucaratvam hi moksam ahur manisinah

    “A Vaisnava does not take birth under the jurisdiction of karmic law. His birth and disappearance are transcendental. The wise have declared that the servants of Visnu are eternally engaged in the liberated service of the Lord and hence are free from the laws of material nature.”

    In the Caitanya Bhagavata Antya Lila 8.173,174, Srila Vrndavan dasa Thakur has said:

    ataeva vaisnavera janma mrtyu nai
    sange aisena, sange yayena tathai
    dharma, karma, janma vaisnavera kabhu nahe
    padma-puranete iha vyakta kari’ kahe

    “The Padma Purana has said; Vaisnavas do not undergo birth and death like ordinary persons. They appear and disappear within this world of their own accord. In this way sometimes we have their association and sometimes their association is withdrawn. The devotees are not subject to any worldly considerations of duty and karma.”

    Srila Prabhupada: SB 2.4.18, Purport:
    “The Vaiṣṇava never accepts another Vaiṣṇava on the basis of birthright, just as he never thinks of the Deity of the Lord in a temple as an idol. And to remove all doubts in this connection, Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī has invoked the blessings of the Lord, who is all-powerful (prabhaviṣṇave namaḥ). As the all-powerful Lord accepts the humble service of His devotee in devotional activities of the arcana, His form as the worshipable Deity in the temple, similarly the body of a pure Vaiṣṇava changes transcendentally at once when he gives himself up to the service of the Lord and is trained by a qualified Vaiṣṇava. The injunction of Vaiṣṇava regulation in this connection runs as follows: arcye viṣṇau śilā-dhīr guruṣu nara-matir vaiṣṇave jāti-buddhiḥ śrī-viṣṇor nāmni śabda-sāmānya-buddhiḥ, etc. “One should not consider the Deity of the Lord as worshiped in the temple to be an idol, nor should one consider the authorized spiritual master an ordinary man. Nor should one consider a pure Vaiṣṇava to belong to a particular caste, etc.” (Padma Purāṇa)

  31. Puskaraksa das says :

    In the Padma Purāṇa it is said:

    arcye viṣṇau śilā-dhīr guruṣu nara-matir vaiṣṇave jāti-buddhir
    viṣṇor vā vaiṣṇsnavānāḿ kali-mala-mathane pāda-tīrthe ‘mbu-buddhiḥ
    śrī-viṣṇor nāmni mantre sakala-kaluṣa-he śabda-sāmānya-buddhir
    viṣṇau sarveśvareśe tad-itara-sama-dhīr yasya vā nārakī saḥ

    “No one should consider the Deity in the temple to be made of stone or wood, nor should one consider the spiritual master an ordinary human being. No one should consider a Vaiṣṇava to belong to a particular caste or creed, and no one should consider caraṇāmṛta or Ganges water to be like ordinary water. Nor should anyone consider the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra to be a material vibration. All these expansions of Kṛṣṇa in the material world are simply demonstrations of the Lord’s mercy and willingness to give facility to His devotees who are engaged in His devotional service within the material world.”


    Nothing personal dear Kesava Krishna Prabhu, as I know you are an exalted vaishnava. I just pointed out, that “out of curiosity”, you were discussing about the “bags under the eyes” of Srila Prabhupada, following the comment Abhaya Mudra dasi gave about the “baggy eyes” of Srila Prabhupada. Hence, no offense, as I just quoted both of you.

    The four Vedas deal with all material sciences. But do these apply to a nitya-siddha?

    For my friend Akruranath Prabhu and our dear devotees:

    “One day Lord Siva was speaking the Bhagavatam for his wife Parvati to hear, in Bhubaneswar. As Siva spoke in deep rapture, Parvati herself was not so attentive and began to slumber. A parrot however was sitting nearby and he appeared to be listening to Lord Siva as he spoke. Suddenly Siva could see that Parvati had not been listening. Then he understood that the parrot had seemed to have taken it all in. Siva began to reflect that this ignorant bird had heard the Bhagavatam but would simply repeat it, as parrots are prone to do and thus make a mockery of the great message of Bhagavatam. Siva thus decided to terminate the parrot, at which time the bird took flight in great fear with Siva in hasty pursuit. The chase was on and the parrot soon reached the asrama of Vyasadeva where he flew into the mouth of Vatika, Vyasadeva’s wife, entering her womb.

    The parrot was now safe. For sixteen years the parrot stayed within the womb of Vatika before taking birth, becoming known as Sukadeva, the son of Vyasa, and eventually as the speaker of the Bhagavatam to Maharaja Pariksit.”

  32. Puskaraksa das says :

    Yet we are told that the original identity of Sukadeva was that of Srimati Radharani’s pet parrot. The story goes thus:

    “Radha’s pet parrot (suka) used to sit on Her left hand while She would affectionately feed him the seeds from pomegranate fruit. She would pet him affectionately telling him “Bolo Krishna! Bolo Krishna!” This parrot would then sweetly utter the Names of Krishna. “One day that suka flew away to Nandagrama to Krishna who was sitting within a kunja (Garden) with His friend Madhumangala and others. The suka sat on a branch of a pomegranate tree and very sweetly began to utter Krishna’s Name, “Krishna, Krishna.” Krishna looked toward the suka and was moved. The parrot spoke again, “Oh, I am very wretched and unfortunate. I am krtaghna, ungrateful, and don’t recognize the good qualities of anyone. For I have left my mistress and have come here.” He uttered this in such a pitiable manner that Krishna was both astonished and impressed. He at once took the parrot, who was Srimati Radhika’s own, in His hand and began to fondle him.

    “After Krishna’s manifest lila ended, by the order of Krishna, the parrot, to manifest Bhagavatam, remained in this world. Later, he entered into the mouth of Vyasadeva’s wife and remained for 16 years. This Sukadeva is “ sriya suka,” the suka of Srimati Radharani.”

    The first part of this story involving the parrot flying into the mouth of Vatika and taking shelter in her womb is confirmed in the Moksa-dharma Parva of Mahabharata, Brahma-vaivarta Purana and the Skanda Purana. Once Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was asked by a noted pandita from Assam as to what was the origin of Sukadeva Gosvami. Sarasvati Thakura replied as follows:

    In the Puranas we find two conclusions regarding the appearance of Sukadeva. One story says that he took the form of Suka from the arani wood after Vyasa saw the naked apsara, Ghrtaci. The other story says that he was born from the womb of the wife of Vyasa. (Conversation with Sri Atmarama Sastri, Assam, October 25th 1928, The Gaudiya)

    These two very different accounts for an origin of Sukadeva can be understood according to different kalpas (kalpa-bheda). In one kalpa Sukadeva appeared from the arani wood and from another kalpa (our kalpa) he appeared from the womb of Vatika.

    The story, wherein the pet parrot of Radharani flew to Nandagrama and entered the kunja where Krishna was seated, is cited in Ananda Vrndavana Campu by Sri Kavi Karnapura.

  33. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    Dear Pushkaraksha das Prabhu,
    As it is said: Vir sapit qui pauca loquitor – It is a wise man who speaks little.
    Truth does not fear brevity. Even cutting and pasting the entire Vanipedia does not assure arriving at the truth. Actual shastric evidence must arrive at the correct conclusion without which it is mental speculation. The pithy precepts of the acharyas are often the most condensed.

  34. Puskaraksa das says :

    “This is guru-tattva. How can you see such a guru with your material vision? As you cannot see Krishna with material vision, you cannot see the guru with material vision. You will only see the outward thing, which is not guru. Only if the guru showers his mercy on you can you be endowed with the vision to see his true form. By the mercy of guru you can see guru, otherwise you cannot see.

    This vision is only obtained by crying and crying before Krishna: “Oh Krishna, I don’t know who is your real representative who can deliver You to me cent percent. I want You cent percent, O Krishna.” If you cry before Krishna then Krishna will make an arrangement. He is there in the heart as paramatma. He will understand, “Now he’s crying for Me, so I must help him.” He will make an arrangement that you meet a bona fide guru, a genuine representative of Krishna, a very dear, intimate devotee who can give you Krishna. Otherwise it is not possible. This is the only process.

    But in our case we try to measure everything. We measure the Lord. We measure the guru. We try to see the Lord with our vision, with our defective senses. Therefore our acaryas and sastras say that the guru is the seer, drasta, and you should put yourself in the position as the object to be seen, drsta. It is very difficult to understand this point because almost everyone thinks just the reverse. You think you are the seer and the Lord or guru are drsta, the objects to be seen. No! It is the complete opposite. The Lord is the seer and the guru is the seer. You are not the seer. You are the object to be seen by guru or seen by the Lord. Do you understand? This is a very deep philosophy.”

  35. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    My dear Pushkaraksha das Prabhu,

    Yes, I have understood clearly. Thank you!

    Abhaya Mudra Dasi

  36. Sitalatma Das says :

    Draṣṭā and dṛśya – the seer and the seen.

    Thank you, Puskaraksa Prabhu, for reminding us about these very important terms.

    I still don’t think that describing transcendental qualities of manifested form of a guru is intrinsically bad, we just have to be extra careful here and do not assume ourselves to be in the position to pass judgments.

  37. Puskaraksa das says :

    The problem is that if you start praising a guru for his bodily features, what will you say in the case of a pure devotee who externally may not satisfy some preconceived criteria…?

    Hence, we cannot rely upon our external material vision to see Guru. Therefore, it is said that an intelligent man sees with his ears.

    Similarly, with our material eyes, we may only see a form made of marble, brass or wood in the temple, instead of seeing Krishna.

    Therefore we may only aspire to develop the proper vision, once our eyes are ointed with the balm of pure love.

    We can also pray in the core of our hearts, with folded hands, while serving him, that Sri Guru may reveal his real form, his nitya svarupa, to us, in due course of time, whenever he wishes, in the same way that we pray to Lord Jagannath:

    Jagannathah svami nayana-patha-gami bhavatu me

    May Jagannatha Svami be the object of my vision,
    May Jagannath Swami reveal Himself to me…

  38. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    Dear Pushkarajsha Prabhu,

    As per my previous reply, please understand that I do not have anything against your cutting and pasting, something that you are very expert at. I have understood that you have submitted nice quotes all along. Yet I understand that you I have missed the point of my article. I understand that you tend to debate against imaginary omissions in the article by creating straw men arguments. I further understand that you appear to expand into two person with two contradictory points neither of which touches upon the essence of what I have written and that you are expert in debating with your own self.

    This is quite remarkable indeed.

    Your servant,
    Abhaya Mudra Dasi

  39. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    Dear Pushkaraksha Prabhu,

    Shrila Prabhupada is perfect and complete in the form he appeared as the world acharya. For me, the form of the world acharya is beautiful. He may reveal his svarupa to some or he may choose not to do so. Is our appreciation of his appearance as the world acharya now exhausted? We should try to appreciate not only his svarupa form that may never be revealed to us but to also understand who he is as the empowered representative of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

    Do you understand that His form of the world acharya is worth glorifying? That is how he came to deliver us and we should be grateful. It is the duty of the disciple (and the grand-disciple ad infinitum) to glorify the spiritual master of mankind in every possible way and each one according to his or her own realization. This is the means of advancement in Krishna consciousness, glorification of the pure devotee.

    Similarly, when dealing with the Supreme Lord we should appreciate all of His transcendental forms. Shri Krishna may grant His devotees the vision to see His original beautiful Shyamasundara form or appear as the the wonderful form of Lord Varaha or other form He may choose. A true devotee will accept the pastimes of Shri Krishna as Vasudeva on the battlefield of Kurukshetra as well as His pastimes in Vrindavan. If there is selectiveness in appreciation of the different forms of the Lord, this reveals immaturity of devotional perception. As Shrila Prabhupada says:

    cont –>

  40. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    “The pure devotee does not make the distinction that some activities of the Lord should be heard and others should be avoided. There is, however, a class of so-called devotees known as prākṛta sahajiyā who are very interested in hearing about Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa-līlā with the gopīs, but not about His fighting activities with His enemies. They do not know that His bellicose activities and His friendly activities with the gopīs are equally transcendental, being on the absolute platform. The transcendental pastimes of Kṛṣṇa described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are relished by pure devotees through submissive aural reception. They do not reject even a drop.” Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, 1-51 / Krsna, the Ranchor

    We should not merely appreciate the form of Shri Krishna in Vrindavan and reject His kshatriya feature in which He spoke the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. And since Shrila Prabhupada is the authorized representative of the Supreme Lord, any selectiveness regarding his form is non different than saying that one form of Shri Krishna is better than another one. In this way an immature devotee does not consider that all forms of the Lord and his pure devotees are transcendental and complete. Do you understand?

  41. Puskaraksa das says :

    I wonder why some have to go down to the level of personal attacks at the risk of committing repeated offenses and breaching Vaishnava etiquette…? Is that the symptom of their own level of spiritual advancement?

    Srila Prabhupada spent a great deal of time explaining to the Western world that we are not this body… So, why identify Srila Prabhupada with his body? This is certainly a prakrita bhakta platform!

    Then, when it comes to dissecting the body a pure devotee was wearing and pretend we are glorifying him in this way, while measuring the size of his lips or launching a controversy about “his baggy eyes”, when it is actually an offensive approach, that becomes completely unpalatable!

    All the more that one is again transgressing Vaishnva etiquette, trying to measure Sri Guru, when one should rather practice humility…

    This is also completely missing the transcendental nature of the nitya-siddha, who is not subject to the laws of material nature and ought not to be “measured” with such material calculations…

    Sorry, if some do not like to see Sastras or the teachings of Srila Prabhupada quoted. This is generally appreciated by devotees, contarily to a display of one’s own speculations.

    The birth of Vaisnava is unlike the birth of a conditioned soul; he takes his birth under the auspices of the Supreme Lord; he is not forced by the illusory energy (maya) to appear in this material world.

    In his Hari Bhakti Vilasa, Sanatana Goswami has quoted this verse from the Padma Purana:

    na karma-bandhanam janma vaisnavanam ca vidyate
    visnur anucaratvam hi moksam ahur manisinah

    “A Vaisnava does not take birth under the jurisdiction of karmic law. His birth and disappearance are transcendental. The wise have declared that the servants of Visnu are eternally engaged in the liberated service of the Lord and hence are free from the laws of material nature.”

    In the Caitanya Bhagavata Antya Lila 8.173,174, Srila Vrndavan dasa Thakur has said:

    ataeva vaisnavera janma mrtyu nai
    sange aisena, sange yayena tathai
    dharma, karma, janma vaisnavera kabhu nahe
    padma-puranete iha vyakta kari’ kahe

    “The Padma Purana has said; Vaisnavas do not undergo birth and death like ordinary persons. They appear and disappear within this world of their own accord. In this way sometimes we have their association and sometimes their association is withdrawn. The devotees are not subject to any worldly considerations of duty and karma.”

  42. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    “A Vaisnava does not take birth under the jurisdiction of karmic law. His birth and disappearance are transcendental. The wise have declared that the servants of Visnu are eternally engaged in the liberated service of the Lord and hence are free from the laws of material nature.”

    Read what you have quoted. A vaishnava is not his body. His body is transcendental, his lips are transcendental. They have a shape that emanates the transcendental truth.

    You seem not to put two and two together. Unlike you, I am not attached to being known as an elevated devotee. I am not impersonal and therefore I addressed you by name, dear Pusharaksha, Prabhu. And only for the sake of some innocent devotes I have presented the philosophy in such a way that they can see your point but also see where you are coming from. I have the right to do so because this is my article. This is not offensive and I have certainly quoted Shrila Prabhupada all along the way. If you have been offended, then this is your interpretation of what is going on here. I am sorry for this impression in your mind but this was not my intention.

  43. bbd says :

    The main difficulty I see in this discussion is the misunderstanding of what it means when sastra defines something as “transcendental”. Sastra informs neophytes to see the guru as transcendental for a purpose. That purpose is for the neophyte to begin seeing things in this world as relating to Radha Krsna. It is not suggesting that the body of a guru is a “perfect” or “transcendental” body as in being eternally youthful, not subject to old age, disease, and death. Rather, sastra is training people to see Krsna within everyone and everything…because Krsna is everything, within and without. This is the final conclusion of sastra.

    SB 11.13.24: Within this world, whatever is perceived by the mind, speech, eyes or other senses is Me alone and nothing besides Me. All of you please understand this by a straightforward analysis of the facts.

    There is no difference between spiritual and material except the vision of the individual. Sastra is there to train people in seeing everything as spiritual, or relating to Radha Krsna, and seeing Krsna’s supreme control behind everyone and everthing we experience.

    BG 6.29: A true yogī observes Me in all beings and also sees every being in Me. Indeed, the self-realized person sees Me, the same Supreme Lord, everywhere.

    BG 6.30: For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.

  44. Puskaraksa das says :

    Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.47 states:

    arcayam eva haraye
    pujam yah sraddhayehate
    na tad-bhakteshu canyeshu
    sa bhaktah prakritah smritah

    “A devotee who faithfully engages in the worship of the Deity in the temple but does not behave properly toward other devotees or people in general is called a prakrita-bhakta, a materialistic devotee, and is considered to be in the lowest position.”

    The disease is that, either they do not realize they misbehave or, worse, they pretend they do not…


    As far as I am concerned, in the line of our previous acaryas, the pure devotee has lotus lips:

    guru-mukha-padma-vakya, cittete koriya aikya, ar na koriho mane asa

    “Make the teachings from the lotus mouth of the spiritual master one with your heart, and do not desire anything else.”

    which may differ slightly from your material description:

    “The thick lips confirm his exquisite sense of that which is beautiful and is worthy of attention. Shrila Prabhupada’s thicker upper lip shows simplicity of expression and the ability to condense difficult concepts into a single statement that is easily understood.”

    As a matter of fact, the same material description may apply to anyone who fills up these criteria. So, let’s look around or make a survey so as to find out who has thick lips and therefore, as per the above, ought to have an “exquisite sense of that which is beautiful and is worthy of attention”!

    My Gurudeva, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja, used to challenge laughingly:
    “Do you have a measuring rod to measure Guru…?”

    You may think you have found one by applying psychomorphology to a pure devotee, but that is not only offensive; it doesn’t fit!

    Give up all this material speculation and you’ll be safe. Rather, let’s meditate on Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet:

    sri-guru-carane-rati, ei se uttama-gati, je prasade pure sarva asa

    “Attachment to the lotus feet of the spiritual master is the best means of spiritual advancement. By his mercy all desires for spiritual perfection are fulfilled.”

    Both the feet and the mouth of the spiritual master are lotus like… This is the verdict of Sastras and of our previous acaryas.

    So, we have to simply pray in the appropriate mood, i.e. trinad api sunicena, with tolerance and humility, so as to develop this transcendental vision, once our eyes are anointed with the pulp of pure love:


    A menial servant of the Lotus-eyed One
    Puskaraksa das

  45. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    Dear bbd,

    Neither Nanda Maharaja nor Pournamasi or other elderly devotees had youthful bodies in the pastimes of Shri Krishna, but that does not mean were not transcendental. Thank you for looking for the unborn in Shrila Prabhupada but the world acharya is an eternal associate of Lord Chaitanya and his body is beautiful, transcendental and complete even when he appears to be elderly.

  46. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    Dear Pushkaraksha Prabhu,

    If I indeed was guilty of what you are saying, that I have envisioned the divine form of the spiritual master with material vision, then there would be some merit to your many quotes and admonishments. However, I have explained to you in so many ways that I do not look upon the pure devotee in such a way. I have further explained that samudrika shastra is a bona fide Vedic science which Shrila Prabhupada and indeed all the great Vaishnava writers have resorted to in glorifying the Mahabhagavatas.

    Shrila Prabhupada has unique features that are one of kind. There is no question of applying the same description pertaining to everybody else. Shrila Prabhupada’s characteristics are unique. It is same with astrology. We may find that the position of Shrila Prabhupada’s Jupiter matches the position to one million other people on the planet but the sum total of his chart (seeing all planets and their aspects) is different and one-of-a-kind revealing the unique characteristics of the World Acharya Shrila Prabhupada…


  47. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    The elevated position of one’s guru does not make the disciple automatically elevated. I do respect your guru His Holiness Shrila Gour Govinda Maharaja. He also had his transcendental marks on his body. Just by looking at him a trained eyes can see them. But I won’t go into this because you get offended by the subject. I am also not going to measure your qualifications only on the fact that you are a disciple of a great soul. I may be lucky to be called kanishta adhikary but I have not asked your opinion about my status either. In fact, nobody asked you to come and play the role of a guru in this or any other discussion. When someone’s opinion is not welcome he may be very elevated but he is throwing his gold in the mud. This much you should be wise to know. You seem to have a personal problem addressing others by name. I want to be sincere and tell you that this is a form of impersonalism.

    For example Patita Pavan das Adhkary who happens to be my husband was a senior devotee at the initiation of your Gurudev but he would be the first to admit that mere seniority by diksha is no spiritual qualification or measure of advancement. As for me, I am officially a devotee since the 80’s. When you come to someone you can conduct a nice discussion by addressing them by name. Who won’t be welcome in such a way in the midst of Vaishnavas? It is not the quotes you quote. They are all nice. They all come from scripture (except the few that are especially yours). But it is your attitude that concerns me. Do you know how to be pleasing to others? This is very important in personal relations. Look how Akruranath Prabhu always makes nice comments. He is gentle in his approach even when he has to state an opposite opinion. But whatever the case with you, thank you for making this article the one of the most commented on the page. You have my best wishes for your devotional service and advancement in Krishna Consciousness.

  48. Puskaraksa das says :

    Mataji, I used your name once, indicating that you didn’t mean any harm. That should be enough to satisfy you.

    However, when it comes to answer the personal insults you address me by name, I prefer not to retort in the same way and go down to the same platform. Better to just quote Guru and Sastras. That is more elevating and pleasing to all.

    Your self-righteousness could be cute, to some extent, if you could avoid all of the above personal insults and judgements ad Personae.

    This is not only a matter of Vaishnava etiquette and an elementary form of respect. This is also pertaining to fairness, and kindness if any, in debate, especially amongst devotees, or even “aspiring devotees”.

    Unfortunately, you do not seem to realize that this is improper, as you complacently keep indulging in this bickering tendency.

    Writing an article doesn’t mean that everything one may say is right in the first place. Secondly, it doesn’t give one the right to insult one’s contradictors. Hence, one ought to control one’s false pride and false ego, so as not to commit offenses.

    So, from the very beginning, I have quoted Sastras and our previous acaryas to indicate that one should not judge Sri Guru as per the body he may have manifested in front of our eyes, at some point.

    What you fail to understand or admit is that there are two sides to the same coin. This was immediately illustrated on the point of what you called the “baggy eyes” of Srila Prabhupada’s manifested vapu. Another devotee immediately picked up on that and questioned about what was generally not considered aesthetic and was also looked upon as the symptom of a physical disorder (water retention was mentioned in that regard).

    That is why I, along with some other devotees, raised the point that this was a fallible way of trying to praise a nitya-siddha, an eternally liberated soul. The teachings of King Bharat in his incarnation as Jad Bharat should enlighten you further in this regard:

    “Certainly, as you have hinted, I have not labored carrying the palanquin, for I am detached from the body. Your words about my stoutness or otherwise are befitting a person who does not know the distinction between the body and the soul. The body may be fat or thin, but no learned man would say such things of the Atman. As far as the Atman is concerned, I am neither fat nor skinny.”

    Hoping this finds you well,
    Hare Krishna

    Das dasanudasa
    Puskaraksa das

  49. bbd says :

    “Neither Nanda Maharaja nor Pournamasi or other elderly devotees had youthful bodies in the pastimes of Shri Krishna, but that does not mean were not transcendental.”

    Again, the only thing “transcendental” is the vision of one who is self-realized. This is because he/she sees everything and everyone in relation to Radha Krsna, this is what is transcendental. This “transcendental” vision is inherent in those who were born (in a particular incarnation) self-realized in eternally youthful bodies, and those who attained self-realization (in a particular incarnation) in aging bodies.

    Not ALL devotees have eternally youthful bodies when self-realized, only ones born self-realized. Also, in Krsna lila, many close intimate devotees were actually direct expansions of Sri Radha Krsna. Sri Radha Krsna appears in many different forms (both old and young) for different purposes. Pournamasi is not a jiva, but the yogamaya potency, specifically in madhurya-rasa-lila. The Gaura-Parshada-Charitvali also confirms this. Yogamaya is non-different than Durga/Radha.

    Mahamaya and yogamaya are two sides of the same coin. Mahamaya exists for people who are deluded by avidya [spiritual ignorance]. They exist in the world of mahamaya. We are told that Bhagavan [God] has three energetic tranformations: chit-shakti — also called antaranga-shakti or swarupa-shakti [transcendental energy]; jiva-shakti — also called tatastha-shakti [human souls]; maya-shakti — also called jada-shakti or bahiranga-shakti [mundane energy].

    When the jiva is/becomes liberated from avidya, by knowledge of the Lord’s 100% presence and control over everything, then the jiva lives in the yogamaya or chit-shakti world, the spiritual world. Thus, antaranga-shakti, or swarupa-shakti, (transcendental energy) is about a self-realized vision where their reality consists of seeing everything & everyone in relation to Krsna. At that stage, the self-realized soul begins an intimate relationship with Radha Krsna (in their aging body). That relationship then becomes perfected and ever increasingly intimate in their eternally youthful form. This is the ongoing spiritual evolutionary process that all jivas experience.

  50. bbd says :

    Jivas born in a liberated state, or born self-realized, have eternally youthful bodies and never subjected to old age, disease, and death (i.e. 4 Kumaras, Narada Muni, Sukadeva Goswami, etc…). After attaining self-realization in a body that ages and is subject to disease & death, they obtain an eternally youthful body.

    SB 4.6.34: Lord Siva sat there, surrounded by saintly persons like Kuvera, the master of the Guhyakas, and the four Kumaras, who were already liberated souls. Lord Siva was grave and saintly.

    SB 1.19.26: This son of Vyāsadeva was only sixteen years old. His legs, hands, thighs, arms, shoulders, forehead and the other parts of his body were all delicately formed. His eyes were beautifully wide, and his nose and ears were highly raised. He had a very attractive face, and his neck was well formed and beautiful like a conchshell.

    SB 1.19.27: His collarbone was fleshy, his chest broad and thick, his navel deep and his abdomen beautifully striped. His arms were long, and curly hair was strewn over his beautiful face. He was naked, and the hue of his body reflected that of Lord Krsna.

    SB 1.19.28: He was blackish and very beautiful due to his youth. Because of the glamor of his body and his attractive smiles, he was pleasing to women. Though he tried to cover his natural glories, the great sages present there were all expert in the art of physiognomy, and so they honored him by rising from their seats.

    (Chandogya Upanisad 8.7.1) The liberated jiva is without sin, or free from relation with sin and ignorance. He is free from old age, being ever young. He is deathless, never leaving his spiritual body. He is peaceful, being free from lamentation, suffering and craving. He is devoid of desire for enjoyment separate from the Lord. Whatever desires he has are fulfilled. 

  51. We are closing comments on this article for obvious reasons.

    Will there be need for moderation in the spiritual world…

  52. Atmavidya Dasa says :

    Reply to Abhya Mudra Devi Dasi’s “Physiognomy of a Pure Devotee”

    Dear Vaisnavas and lovers of Srila Prabhupada,

    Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    We all love and adore Srila Prabhupada. But as Srila Prabhupada once said to some devotees in Sweden who wanted to make a magazine to debunk science that “unless you are expert in it you will become the laughing stock.”

    This text by Abhaya Mudra dd has many problems first of all the author gives practically no citations to support anything she says we are just expected to believe everything she says because if we don’t we will be offensive to Srila Prabhupada. To illustrate she says:

    “Shrila Prabhupada had a small build like many powerful military leaders including Napoleon.”

    In actuality Napoleon was 170cm tall (5ft 7in), average height for his period. It was the British propaganda machine that depicted him as short. See for more on this point

    The author, Abhya Mudra dd, no where proves that it is a distinct feature that great military leaders are generally short in stature. Napoleon was average in height, Alexander the Great was short, while Julius Caesar was quite tall (according to Suetonius), George Washington was 188 cm, and Eisenhower 179 cm. These are just a few examples showing that great generals can be any height.

    Then she writes: “Shrila Prabhupada’s eyes were warm and beautiful, with protruding skin all around them.”

    Having skin protruding around the eyes is a common sign of aging in old people, hardly unique.

    She says: “His brown eyes show warmth and a refined writing ability. “

    Considering that brown is the dominant eye color in the world and only eye color in some countries like India and China renders her statement meaningless.

    “Dark brown eyes are dominant in humans and in many parts of the world, it is nearly the only iris color present. Dark pigment of brown eyes is most common in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia, Oceania, Africa, Americas, etc. as well as parts of Eastern Europe and Southern Europe. The majority of people in the world overall have dark brown eyes.”


  53. Atmavidya Dasa says :

    part 2

    Next she says: “The baggy eyes illustrate deep memory and facility to grasp facts.”

    Considering the medical fact that old people tend to lose their memory and many Alzheimer patients have baggy eyes this is another meaningless statement. One need only google images “Alzheimer patients” to see what I mean.

    She then wrote: “His thick and long eyebrows show deep thinking and an enormous capacity to love.”

    As all men age it is common for their eyebrows to get bushy as well as development of hair in the ears and more hair in the nostrils.

    And while Samudrika sastra is a bona fide Vedic science “Phrenology” is bogus.

    It would be needlessly tiresome to pick through everything she wrote. In essence this article is meaningless, if it is meant to glorify Srila Prabhupada then IMHO it has not and I have demonstrated why. There are better ways to glorify Srila Prabhupada. One should at least be an expert in a subject like physiognomy or astrology before trying to apply it to Srila Prabhupada.


    Atmavidya dasa

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