I received more challenges from a reader. One of the comments is worth addressing. To my suggestion that one should learn from a teacher, and not by self-study, the reader writes:
“There is no authorised proof till date that there is unbroken chain of learning sat sandarbas stemming from Jiva goswami.If it is so, pls mention the chain and everyone would be happy to learn sandarbas from such person.”
I am sure that my response is not going to be much use to this person, as they are in no mood to listen and learn. But I hope it will be useful for those who are.
Yes, there is indeed a person today who is currently teaching the Sandarbhas, and who learned them in an unbroken chain.
Babaji learned the Sandarbhas from his guru. His guru learned them from his guru, who further learned them from his guru. I have confirmed this going back four generations. The subject was learned in the traditional way- learning each line in Sanskrit, going line-by-line. And that is exactly how Babaji is currently teaching his students.
The reader suggests that Śrī Rūpa Goswami did not learn the Sandarbhas line-by-line from Śrī Caitanya, and so we do not need to learn like this. This reader has no problems comparing himself to Śrī Rūpa Goswami, a direct associate of Śrī Caitanya. But for the rest of us who are less sure about ourselves, there is a rare and unique opportunity – really an opportunity of a lifetime, to learn from the only person to my knowledge who has learned the Sandarbhas in the paraṁparā.
Now, some will argue that four generations is not an unbroken chain all the way to Śrī Jīva Goswami. I have the following responses to this:
With the four generations that I have personally confirmed with Babaji, there are two possibilities- the chain before that was broken (unlikely in my view, see below) or it was unbroken. At least the possibility exists of an unbroken chain. I do not know of any other example where there is even the possibility of such an unbroken chain in the matter of learning the Sandarbhas.
The reason it is likely that the Gadādhara parivāra is (perhaps the only) standing unbroken chain available to learn the Sandarbhas is as follows. The question of broken or unbroken chains arises in the modern context where there are indeed broken chains all over the place. But go back sufficiently long enough in time- in this case, four generations goes back to the 1800s – and it is highly unlikely that there would a break in the chain. Indians back then held to their sacred traditions rigidly, and the traditional guru-śiṣya method was a basic requirement. So I do not have a problem believing that the chain is factually unbroken. This is supported of course by a detailed record of an unbroken dikṣā paraṁparā in the Gadādhara parivāra.