Artificial and Genuine Svarupa Siddhi
by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvatī Thakura Prabhupada
Sri Gaudiya Matha, Kolkata
17 November 1930
Best of virtuous women,
I became aware of the news through your letter dated the 28th that you went to Vṛndavana and, from the Vaisnavas there, heard about meditating upon the astakaliya-lila (divine eightfold daily pastimes) of Their Lordships Sri Srī Radha Krsna. While there can be no doubt about the fact that this topic is highly venerated, those who conceive of this subject matter while their consciousness is riddled with anarthas do not conceive what it truly is.
All those esoteric truths that are revealed solely through one’s advancing practice of chanting the holy names are to be considered the introduction to one’s svarupa, one’s true spiritual identity. When one becomes free from anarthas, or the unwanted desires of the heart, one’s svarupa manifests. When one’s svarupa awakens, one’s perception is automatically admitted into eternal subject matters.
This is not something that can be deceitfully taught to or determined for someone else. In contrast, the revelations one has while submerged in chanting the holy names with a sincere heart should be humbly presented to sadhu and guru (the saintly persons and the spiritual master) so that one’s conception may be refined and approved.
This is the genuine process for receiving the eleven aspects of one’s eternal spiritual identity, or svarupa. In many places, undiscriminating gurus artificially impose these “revelations” on unqualified sadhakas (practicing devotees).
This process cannot be considered a true depiction of svarupa-siddhi. Those who attain svarupa-siddhi, or realization of their eternal spiritual form and identity, come to realize their eternal identity of their own accord (svatah-siddha); sri gurudeva merely assists them in making progress in realizing these topics on the path of bhajana (direct, loving devotional-service). I have nothing more to say on this subject. While the sadhaka progresses on the path of perfection, his heart becomes disposed toward service and free from duplicity. All these subjects naturally manifest in such a heart.
With eternal blessings, Śrī Siddhānta Sarasvatī
[PADA: "Siddha deha" gurus have been offering their disciples an eternal "svarupa" designation, telling their disciples they are -- peacocks, Krishna's mothers, gopis and so on. And this was going on prominently even when Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura was present. So he started preaching that before people begin to discuss their eternal svarupa or spiritual form, these persons need to have sufficient adhikari or qualifications. In sum, one has to be purified before discussing one's siddha deha (perfected spiritual body).
After the departure of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura one of his sons (and the brother of Srila Saraswati Thakura -- named Lalit Prasad Thakura) began preaching this siddha deha program, and he even initiated a few ISKCON people with their "spiritual identity." One of those Lalit Prasad Thakura initiated sannyasas was a friend of mine in 1971, and he later on fell down with women. He even told me "its ok to eat eggs" -- a short time after he was initiated by Lalit Prasad Thakura as "a peacock." Srila Prabhupada told us -- not -- to associate with these folks.
So this "artificial pure devotee" issue has been a problem for Vaishnavas for centuries. Anyway, the letter above is very clear, a person has to wait until his anarthas have been nullified, and he is sufficiently purified, and then one's siddha deha will be revealed. Its not that we can rubber stamp an impure person as a divine being all of a sudden.
And this has been the same type of trouble in ISKCON, conditioned souls have been worshiped as "assisting the gopis," when some of them are actually watching football games at Howard Johnson motels, and they are ordering take out pizzas etc. And football is a more pure deviation out of some of their more odious actions. We cannot telescope the neophytes with the pure, it just does not work. ys pd]