Nityananda Prabhu and Sakhya Rasa in the Bhagavata Guru Parampara

The Bhagavata guru parampara conception of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura includes Nityananda Prabhu. So the claim that all the acaryas in his Bhagavata guru parampara are in manjari-bhava is false. Nitaicanda is in sakhya rasa. And he initiated many disciples and distributed this bhava. It was prominent in the first two generations of the sampradaya. And literature exclusively dedicated to the culture of sakhya rasa with reference and deference to Rupa Goswami’s work appears as late as the 18th century. With O My Friend!, its ongoing influence to this day is further documented. These are the objective facts.

Furthermore Nityananda-rama has done more than anyone else in terms of bringing attention to Mahaprabhu and his pursuit of Radha bhava. Rupa and Ragunatha defer to him, without whose mercy no one can approach Gauracandra and Radha Vrindavancandra. Such is the nature of Ntiai’s fraternal love for Gaura. And through his sakti expansion in Vraja, Ananga-manjari who appears in Garua lila as his consort Jhananva devi, Radha dasya has also been widely distributed.

So Nityananda Prabhu is indirectly and directly involved in bringing attention to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Radha bhava that he is about, and the blessing of unnatojjvala rasa he bestows. But Nitai himself is steeped in sakhya rasa, and thus it is inevitable that this sentiment will also appear in the sampradaya from time to time, and really to some extent at all times. And again, history bears this out. When it does appear, and especially when it does in a prominent manner, it should be celebrated for what it is.

Those influenced by sakhya bhava are not in competition with manjari-bhava and there is no need for manjari-bhava upasakas to militate against it. Indeed, under the influence of sakhya bhava Nitai’s sector has done more to promote gopi-bhava than any other sector. Nitai started the worship of Gaura. It is under his influence that Caitanya Bhagavata and Caitanya-caritamrta were written. The road to gopi-bhava goes through him. As Narottama Thakura sings, heno bine nitai bhai radha krsna paite nai.

Jaya Nitai!

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