Vivāda Rahasya Prabandhera Samālocanā (A Critique of the Article 'Vivāda Rahasya') was published in Sajjana Toṣaṇī, Vol 4 Issue 4 in 1892. In this critique, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura discusses an article in the Caitanya-mata-bodhinī magazine that criticises the position of Śrī Viṣṇupriyā Devī.
(translated by Swami B.V. Giri)
In the fourth issue of Śrī Caitanya-mata-bodhinī there is an article entitled, Vivāda-rahasya (‘The Secret Quarrel’). By reading the article, one can understand that the word vivāda (quarrel) means life. Quarreling not only exists in the material world, but also in the spiritual world. Where there is no conflict, there is no existence. Thus, the only purpose in the life of a jīva is constant conflict. Upon reading the article, we tried hard to stop laughing but couldn’t succeed. Vaiṣṇava dharma is naturally replete with the rasa of peace. There is no place for any quarreling there. Śrī Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura has written:
ye pāpiṣṭha eka vaiṣṇavera pakṣa haya
anya vaiṣṇavere ninde, sei yāya kṣaya
(“Any wretched person who takes the side of one Vaiṣṇava and criticises another Vaiṣṇava is certainly doomed.” – Caitanya-bhāgavata, Madhya-khaṇḍa 13.160)
Deliberating on this instruction, it is clear that it is not Vaiṣṇava dharma to engage in a quarrel with envy. However, in the situation of rasa-bheda (differences in rasa), such as in Śrī Dāsa Gosvāmī’s firm devotion, some prema-kalaha (love quarrels) can naturally happen. We are extremely sorry that the respected author (of Vivāda-rahasya) took the side of quarreling in regards to the śloka, yac-chaktayo vadatāṁ vādināṁ va.* The aim of this śloka is to condemn quarreling and praise discussion. However, the commentator could not understand the meaning of this śloka even if he produced one hundred different meanings. At the end of the article, the author, in various ways, uses a type of sarcasm aimed at the devotees of Gaura. In doing so, he has written some incoherent words, showing his weakness of mind and inexperience in tattva.
*Translators Note: “The Lord’s material energy is the cause of various quarrels amongst philosophers.” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 6.4.31)
Introducing yourself as a worshiper of Śrī Gaura-Gadādhara, you have created misery for the entire Vaiṣṇava world by writing inappropriate words about Śrīmatī Viṣṇupriyā. By rejecting Śrī Viṣṇupriyā, nobody can recognise you as a devotee of Bhagavān. Śrī viṣṇu-bhakti has become personified and descended in the form of Śrī Viṣṇupriyā, as Śrī Kavi Karṇapura has described in Śrī Caitanya-candrodaya Nāṭaka thus:
Bhagavān: śrī-viṣṇu-bhaktiḥ sā bhavatsu satsu vartat eva (“Śrī-viṣnu-bhakti always remains with all of you”.)
Advaita: idānīṁ saiva viṣnupriyā (‘Now she is Viṣṇupriyā’)
Bhagavān: atha kim, satsu jñānādi-mārgeṣu bhaktir eva viṣṇoḥ priyā (“And why not? Of all paths beginning with jñāna, bhakti is dearest to Viṣṇu.”)
Advaita: ataeva bhagavān api tām aṅgīcakāra (‘Thus Bhagavān has accepted her.”)
It is an unfortunate thing that nowadays, no one feels ashamed to engage in activities concerning tattva, without first becoming acquainted with it. There is no doubt that the kṛṣṇa-bhajana of the gopīs of Śrī Vraja is topmost. No one can deny that the prema of the gopīs of Vraja and that of Lakṣmī Devī are categorically different. However, the mood of bhakti that the goddesses of Vraja engaged in to take shelter of Kṛṣṇa’s feet – that is the topmost bhakti of Śrī Viṣṇupriyā. Nārāyana-bhakti, viṣṇu-bhakti, kṛṣṇa-bhakti and gaura-bhakti – all these are merely different appearances of Bhakti Devī. Whoever is on the side of Śrī Viṣṇupriyā is on the side of bhakti. Just as the uneducated Bhaṭṭācāryas side with Sarasvatī, so do those persons who are devoid of bhakti and proudly present themselves as Vaiṣṇavas, side with Śrī Viṣṇupriyā. When Caitanya-mata-bodhinī magazine aligns with such factions, then there is some apprehension that whatever will be published in this magazine in the name of Śrī Caitanyadeva’s philosophy, will actually be opposed to bhakti-tattva. We will look at the other two issues of this magazine and express our firm decision.
It is seen that many vulgar words are used in this magazine. Using words such as ‘barbaric’ etc. to another person is very insulting nowadays. Just four malpuras can take him (the author) from supporting one side to supporting another side – so what is the value of his support? So his words are totally worthless. It is the author’s duty to know that abandoning one’s opinion for the sake of four malpuras and accepting another’s opinion out of a desire for a hundred coins are equally criminal. The author jokes again and creates a narrative about the five avatāras. Every word of his is the epitome of envy. He has no apprehension in making vaiṣṇava–aparādha. Satāṁ nindā nāmnaḥ paramam aparādhaḥ vitanute (‘To offend Vaiṣṇavas is the greatest aparādha to the Holy Name’) – I cannot understand why this advice does not come to the author’s mind. There is no reprieve if you commit such an aparādha. Only a descent into the gaping jaws of hell awaits you.
In brief, our statement is that the Caitanya-mata-bodhinī magazine is gradually becoming an object of disrespect to all Vaiṣṇavas. From now on, the editors should be careful.