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Sunday, September 13, 2020

What is the prākṛta-bhakta?

arcāyām eva haraye

pūjāṁ yaḥ śraddhayehate

na tad-bhakteṣu cānyeṣu

sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ


Śrīmad Bhāgavata 11.2.47 speaks about the prākṛta-bhakta as the third class devotee. There are different opinions expressed about the meaning of the word 'prākṛta' -


"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 an unrefined devotee. "

"A devotee who faithfully worships the Deity, but does not properly respect the Vaiṣṇavas or the people in general is called a materialistic devotee, and is considered to be in the lowest position of devotional service." 

’A prākṛta, or materialistic devotee does not purposefully study the śāstra and try to understand the actual standard of pure devotional service…..”


However, sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smrtaḥ in Śrīmad Bhāgavata 11.2.47 does not mean ‘material platform’. No ācārya translated prākṛtaḥ in this verse as ‘material’. The previous ācāryas all say the word prākṛta in Śrīmad Bhāgavata 11.2.47 means 'a beginner' -


Śrīdhara Swāmī, Sanātan Gosvāmī - prākṛtaḥ prakṛta-prārambhaḥ

Jīva Gosvāmī’s Krama-sandarbha - sa prākṛtaḥ prakṛti-prārabdho’dhunaiva prārabdha-bhaktir ity arthaḥ

Viśvanātha Cakravartī - prākṛtaḥ prakṛtiḥ prārambhaḥ


Actual materialistic devotees are described by Kapila-deva in Śrīmad Bhāgavata, 3rd canto -


|| 3.29.8 ||

abhisandhāya yo hiṁsāṁ

dambhaṁ mātsaryam eva vā

saṁrambhī bhinna-dṛg bhāvaṁ

mayi kuryāt sa tāmasaḥ


"The angry person, devoid of compassion, who worships me with intentions of violence, pride and hatred, is tamasic in his bhakti."


|| 3.29.9 ||

viṣayān abhisandhāya

yaśa aiśvaryam eva vā

arcādāv arcayed yo māṁ

pṛthag-bhāvaḥ sa rājasaḥ


"He who worships me with desire for other objects, with goals of material gain, fame or power has rajasic bhakti. "


|| 3.29.10 ||

karma-nirhāram uddiśya

parasmin vā tad-arpaṇam

yajed yaṣṭavyam iti vā

pṛthag-bhāvaḥ sa sāttvikaḥ


"He who worships me with a desire to destroy karma, making his works an offering the Supreme Lord, or executing the worship as a duty, having a desire for liberation, has sattvic bhakti."


Obviously this is a completely different thing than seeing the Lord only in the deities in the temple........

Sunday, June 21, 2020

śyāma they all are


Draupadī, Varāha, Arjuna and mother Yaśodā are all śyāma-complexioned, not golden. 
Practically all pictures that are made of them, be they Indian, be they western, are wrong. Here is the scriptural evidence -


MOTHER YAŚODĀ - 

Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 3.4.13 -

ḍori-jutita-vakra-keśa-paṭalā sindūra-bindūllasat 
sīmānta-dyutir aṅga-bhūṣaṇa-vidhim nāti-prabhūtaṁ śritā |
govindāsya-nisṛṣṭa-sāśru-nayana-dvandvā navendīvara
śyāma-śyāma-rucir vicitra-sicayā goṣṭheśvarī pātu vaḥ ||13||

The queen of the cowherds, Yaśodā, has wavy hair bound by cords, with a dot of sindūra at the parting of her hair. She does not wear many ornaments. Her eyes become filled with tears on seeing Kṛṣṇa. Her complexion is dark like a blue lotus, radiating a dark glow, and she wears colorful clothing. May she protect us!

mātā gopa-yaśo-dātrī yaśodā śyāmala-dyutiḥ

(Rādhā-kṛṣṇa Gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā 1.28)

Because she gives fame to the cowherds, Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mother is called Yaśodā. Her complexion is blackish blue (śyāmala). 


ARJUNA -

In the Virāṭa Parva (39.20) of the Mahābhārata, Arjuna tells Uttara Kumāra how he got his ten names -

kṛṣṇa ityeva daśamaṁ nāma cakre pitā mama;
kṛṣṇāvadātasya sataḥ priyatvād bālakasya vai

"My father gave me this tenth name Kṛṣṇa because of my complexion and charm."


Sanjaya when visiting Upaplavya in Udyoga-parva (58.10) described Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna thus..

śyāmau bṛhantau taruṇau śāla skandhāv ivodgatau

Both Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna are described as tall, dark, and youthful.




DRAUPADĪ

Draupadī is described as dark in the Ādi-parva 1.155.42, 44, 50 of the Mahābhārata -



42 śyāmā padmapalāśākṣī nīlakuñcita mūrdhajā
mānuṣaṃ vigrahaṃ kṛtvā sākṣād amara varṇinī

And there arose, after this from the centre of the sacrificial platform, a daughter also, called Panchali, who, blessed with great good fortune, was exceedingly handsome. Her eyes were black, and large as lotus-petals, her complexion was dark, and her locks were blue and curly. 

44. tāṃ cāpi jātāṃ suśroṇīṃ vāg uvācāśarīriṇī
sarva yoṣid varā kṛṣṇā kṣayaṃ kṣatraṃ ninīṣati

'This dark complexioned girl will be the first of all women, and she will be the cause of the destruction of many kṣatriyas. This slender-waisted one will, in time, accomplish the purpose of the gods, and along with her many a danger will overtake the Kauravas.'

50.  kṛṣṇety evābruvan kṛṣṇāṃ kṛṣṇābhūt sā hi varṇataḥ
tathā tan mithunaṃ jajñe drupadasya mahāmakhe

And they also said, 'Because this daughter is so dark in complexion, she should be called Kṛṣṇā (the dark).'


VARĀHA -

Varāha-deva is also śyāma, not piggy-colored -

Śrīmad Bhāgavata 3.13.33 -

tamāla-nīlaṁ sita-danta-koṭyā kṣmām utkṣipantaṁ gaja-līlayāṅga

"Then the Lord, with a bluish complexion like that of a Tamāla-tree, playing like an elephant, placed the earth on the edge of His curved white tusks."

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Authorship of Rādhā-Rasa-Sudhānidhi



In this last part of the Harivaṁśī / Haridāsī-trilogy we will discuss the issue of the authorship of Rādhā-Rasa-Sudhānidhi. As with the previous blogs, I want to open with a conciliatory introduction, quoting the late great Gopāl Ghosh of the Vṛndāvana Research Institute:
“(In the 1950s) Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī (12th generation direct descendant from Śrī Advaita Ācārya and pitṛdeva of my Gurudeva) gave wonderful lectures on Vilāpa Kusumāñjali and Rādhārasa Sudhānidhi in the Rādhā-Dāmodara temple for one fortnight. All the Gosvāmīs of the Rādhā-Vallabha temple (who believe that Rādhārasa Sudhānidhi was composed by Hita Harivaṁśa Gosvāmī instead of Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī, as is claimed by the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas) attended. They all offered their obeisances to Prabhu. About the disputed authorship of Rādhārasa Sudhānidhi Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī told them: “Some person may come to a mango grove and inquire: “How many trees are there, how many fruits are there in them? Who constructed this grove? How are the fruits sold and who is the owner?” while another, who is very tired, will just come and purchase the mangoes, offer them, sit under a tree and say: “Aha, how sweet are these mangoes!” So similarly, Rādhārasa Sudhānidhi is a wonderful book, born by the grace of ‘Śrī Rādhārānī, whoever may have composed it. What matters is the relish of its contents – it is necessary to relish it. We need to become qualified to extract the rasa from this book. Rādhā-dāsya is the goal of our lives and Madangopāl becomes subdued by us if we can meditate on the footsoles of Rādhārānī. Rādhā-dāsya is our only shelter.” Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī said that again and again. His lectures were so amazing that all the Vrajavāsīs exclaimed “Jay Rādhe! Jay Rādhe!” Everyone was stunned and speechless with admiration because of his lectures and they would anoint him with sandalwood-pulp and flower garlands.”

For the analysis of the issue of the authorship of Śrī Rādhā-rasa-sudhānidhi I translated the Bengali introduction to his edition of  Rādhā-rasa-sudhānidhi by the late great Śrīmat Anantadās Bābājī –

Apart from the version of Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Rasa-Sudhānidhi that has 272 verses, including a beginning and final verse about Śrīman Mahāprabhu, there is a version without these two verses, named ‘Rādhā-Sudhānidhi’ said to be written by Śrī Hita Harivaṁśa Gosvāmī Mahodaya. But from innumerable evidences from Śrī Rādhā-Rasa-Sudhānidhi and historical tradition it is excellently proven that it was written by Śrī Prabodhānanda Saraswatīpāda. Śrī Prabodhānanda Saraswatīpāda was a great Sanskrit poet while there is no example of any Sanskrit poetry by Śrī Harivaṁśajī. We can only find he wrote two Brajabhāṣā works – ‘Sphuṭa-vāṇī’ (26 or 27 verses) and ‘Chaurāśījī’ (84 verses). One Sanskrit work named Śrī Yamunāṣṭakam is ascribed to him but its authenticity is not established. On the other hand, the vast Sanskrit literature, poetry and commentaries written by Śrī Prabodhānanda Saraswatīpāda are celebrated within the scholarly community and are unanimously accepted by the disciples and followers of Śrī Harivaṁśa. Śrī Harivaṁśa’s follower Śrī Harirāma Vyāsa, who was a contemporary of Śrī Rūpa, Sanātana etc., wrote in one of his poems –

Prabodhānanda se kavi thore
Jina rādhā-ballabh-ki līlā-rasa meṁ sab rasa thore
Keval prem-vilās ās kari, bhava-bandhan dṛḍha bhore
Sahaja mādhurī vacanani ananyani ke cita core
Pāvan rūp nām guṇa ura dhari viṣay vikāra ju more

(Bhakta-kavi Vyāsajī, Hindi p.195, published by Prabhudayāl Mittal, Agarwala Press 2009 Samvat – 1952)

“Prabodhānanda was a great poet who was absorbed in Rādhā-Vallabha’s līlā-rasa. I only hope for prem vilāsa, being firmly bound by saṁsāra. His naturally sweet words steal my mind and heart. The sacred forms, names and qualities (he narrates) (extinguish) my materialistic feelings.”
Writers in Śrī Harivaṁśa’s sampradāya say that Śrī Harivaṁśajī was singing ‘Rādhā Sudhānidhi’  in the cradle as a 6-month old baby in Bād grām village.
(keval chaḥ mās kī hī avasthā ye āpane palane par hae ‘śrī rādhā sudhānidhi’ kā gān kiyā, jise āpke tāṭa śrī nṛsiṁhaśramajī ne lipibaddha kiyā – this can be found on p.30 of the biography which is part of Śrī Hita dāsa’s Hindi introduction to Śrī Rādhā Sudhānidhi (first Edition, Vilāsapura, 1950)
But the author of Śrī Rādhā-Rasa-Sudhānidhi has described Śrī Vṛndāvana’s beauty in many places in the book, saying that he had darśana of the residents of Vṛndāvana while he was writing the book. He developed a worshipful attitude towards them and he also described in the book that he received encouragement from them to compose the book. This clearly proves that Śrī Rādhā-Rasa-Sudhānidhi was not a song of a 6-month old baby in the cradle at Bād grām village. This is a stotra kāvya written by a greatly expert poet and scholar of Sanskrit kāvya, darśana and alaṅkāra who lived in Śrī Vṛndāvana and wrote scriptures like Śrī Vṛndāvana Mahimāmṛta and so. For instance –

     sad yogīndra sudṛśya sāndra rasadānandaika san mūrtayaḥ
     sarve'py adbhuta sanmahimni madhure vṛndāvane saṅgatāḥ
     ye krūrā api pāpino na ca satāṁ sambhāṣya dṛśyāś ca ye
     sarvān vastutayā nirīkṣya parama svārādhya buddhir mama

            When I look at even the cruel and sinful persons that meet in Vṛndāvana, the abode full of wonderful glorious sweetness, I consider even them to be most worshipable, although they are normally not fit to be seen or touched by saints. They are actually all good-looking like the true kings of mystics and they have sweet rasika and very blissful forms.” (Verse 264 of Rādha Sudhānidhi). It goes without saying that a 6-month old baby lying in a cradle in Bād-grāma can never say such things.

Evidences found in the books -
The phrase ‘śrī rādhā pada-nakha jyotiḥ’ is very dear to Śrī Saraswatīpāda. Just as he used the phrase ‘śrī rādhā pada-nakha-jyotir udgāt’ in Śrī Caitanya Candrāmṛta (68), similarly in many places in Śrī Rādhā-Rasa-Sudhānidhi he used words like ‘yasyāḥ sphurjjat pada-nakha maṇi jyotiḥ’ (137) tad padāmbhoja rājan nakha-maṇi vilasaj jyotiḥ (148) and ‘vṛṣabhānujā pada-nakha jyotiḥ’ (269).
In 2 ślokas of Śrī Saraswatīpāda’s ‘Saṅgīta Mādhava’ – ‘gatā dūre gāvo………prāṇi niṣavaḥ’ (4.8) and ‘aho mukhara nūpura……….surata saṅgaro jṛmbhate’ (2.6) the words are identical with the words and moods of the verses ‘gatā dūre gāvo……prāṇi niṣava’ (229) and ‘anaṅga jaya maṅgala ……rati raṇotsavo jṛmbhate’ (225) in Śrī Rādhā-Rasa-Sudhānidhi. In the same way there is full similarity in mood, words, meter and embellishments between the verses ‘caitanyeti kṛpāmayeti paramodareti’ in Śrī Caitanya Candrāmṛta (67) and the verse ‘śyāmeti sundara vareti manohareti’ (68) of Śrī Rādhā-Rasa-Sudhānidhi (38) and the verses ‘kṣaṇaṁ hasati roditi kṣaṇam atha kṣaṇaṁ mūrchati’ of Śrī Caitanya Candrāmṛta (134) and ‘kṣaṇaṁ madhura gānataḥ kṣaṇam amanda hindolataḥ’ in Śrī Rādhā-Rasa-Sudhānidhi (167).
Just as Śrī Saraswatīpāda said ‘dhyāyanto girikandareṣu bahavo brahmānubhūyāsate….ko vā gaura-kṛpāṁ vinādya jagati premonmado nṛtyati’ in Śrī Caitanya Candrāmṛta (98), he revealed a similar matter in the verse brahmanandaika vādāḥ katicana bhagavad-vandanānanda mattāḥ in Śrī Rādhā-Rasa-Sudhānidhi (148). Just as this proves the two books are written by the same person, similarly the words ‘brahmānubhava’ and ‘brahmānandaika vādī’ also show us what Śrī Saraswatīpāda’s life was like before. Just as Śrī Saraswatīpāda described examples of Śrī Kṛṣṇa doing japa of Śrī Rādhā-nāma in Śrī Vṛndāvana Mahimāmṛta (15.75) in the verse ‘rādhetyevaṁ japa tad aniśaṁ sārtha saṁsmṛtyananyaḥ’ and in Śrī Rāsa-prabandha (97) with the verse ‘rādhā-rādhety avirata jāpa prāṭati’, and how he also prays for love of that rādhā-nāma, similarly he prays in Śrī Rādhā-Rasa-Sudhānidhi for a vision of Śrī Kṛṣṇa chanting the holy name of Śrī Rādhā in the verse yaj jāpaḥ sakṛd eva gokula pateḥ…..yan nāmāṅkita mantra jāpana paraḥ prītyā svayaṁ mādhavaḥ śrī kṛṣṇo’pi tad adbhutaṁ sphuratu me rādheti varṇa dvayam. (95)
Authors of the Śrī Rādhā-Vallabhī-sampradāya like Śrī Bhagavat Mudita and Śrī Candralāl Goswāmījī both agree that the verse hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇeti kṛṣṇeti mukhyān…….kadā’bhyasya vṛndāvane syāṁ kṛtārthaḥ from Śrī Vṛndāvana Mahimāmṛta (17.89) is written by Śrī Prabodhānanda Saraswatīpāda. We can find a completely similar verse in Śrī Rādhā-Rasa-Sudhānidhi (55) ati snehād uccair api ca harināmāni gṛṇataḥ……parānandaṁ vṛndāvanam anucarantaṁ ca dadhato mano me rādhāyāḥ pada mṛdula padme nivasatu. This type of siddhānta is seen among the followers of Śrī Caitanya’s lotus-feet. Śrīmad Rūpa Goswāmīpāda has written in Śrī Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi (Śṛṅgāra-bheda prakaraṇa 46): 

mūrcchām āpnuvatī praviśya madhupair gītāṁ kadambāṭavīm
nāma vyāharatā hareḥ priyasakhī vṛndena sandhukṣitā

Here is a description of Śrī Rādhā’s activities just before Her ultimate condition during pūrva-rāga: “After entering the Kadamba-forest She fainted, so Her priya-sakhīs revived Her with (Hare-kṛṣṇa) nāma-kīrtan, which is like an elixir for revival.” In the Śrī Harivaṁśa-sampradāya the separation of the gopīs headed by Śrī Rādhā is not recognized and the hare kṛṣṇa mantra is not accepted as a siddha mantra. Hence it is easily understood that the author of Śrī Vṛndāvana Mahimāmṛta and Śrī Rādhā-rasa Sudhānidhi are the same person, and that he was a follower of Śrī Caitanya’s lotus-feet.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Ekādaśī and the Harivamsis

This is part 2 of a trilogy of refutations of Hita harivaṁśa, Haridāsi etc followers

Let followers of Harivaṁśa or Haridās Swāmi not take offence. This is a purely philosophical blog. Sādhu Bābā was non-sectarean. He sang songs of Haridās Swāmi and Harivaṁśa and called himself Haridāsi too.

Hita harivaṁśa follower –
Some reasons why Radhavallabhis and Haridasis don't consider Ekadasi as very important in their bhajan marga -

(1) Our nistha in mahaprasad is such that we don't accept that mahaprasad is constituted of grains or any padartha [material ingredient] under any circumstances. When bhoga is offered with love to Shyama Shyam, the bhoga becomes one in nature with them. It becomes Krsnamayi – Radhamayi.

So for us, to accept and promote the idea that mahaprasad is made up of grains or any other material element is not possible. Just as it is not correct [and is offensive] to think that a Thakurji-svarupa is made of metal, clay, wood and so on, similarly we never accept prasad to be anything other than prasad, mercy. So where the Puranas say “do not eat grains on Ekadasi” we aren't actually eating grains, because prasad and grains are never the same and there is just a superficial similarity, like the comparison between a biological eye and the eye on a peacock's feather.

(2) We ask the question, are we focused on following Ekadasi or we are interested in the result/phala of following Ekadasi? Various sastras say that Ekadasi's phala is one of the 4 purusharthas and in some places it says that Krishna-charanarvind-rati is the fruit. Radhavallabhis and Haridasis are instead interested in something we consider even higher than this. Becoming a completely committed sevika/maidservant of Swaminiju Radha. It is not said anywhere that Ekadasi will give us seva of Sri Radha and that's all we really care about. Our conception of Shyamsundar is like this:

japata hari bibasa tava nama pratipada bimala manasi tava dhyana te nimisa nahi taribo

“Helplessly Hari constantly recites your perfect name [Sri Radha's name], his mind straying from contemplation of you not for a second;” - Hit Chaurasi

dekhau māī abalā ke bala rāsi ati gaja matta niraṁkusa moṁhana, 
nirakhi baṁdhe laṭa pāsi

“Oh look Sakhi, at the heaps of power this “powerless” girl [abala] possesses! Mohan Krishna is a drunken elephant that no one can control, but she ties him down with one braid of her hair.” - Hit Chaurasi

So for this reason, we just have full faith in performing ashtayam/astakaliya seva to Shyama Shyam every day and have no special regard or purpose with Ekadasi as it is not particularly helpful for our goal, 'Radha-charan-pradhanya', prominence of love for Sri Radha's lotus feet.

Many of our mahatmas have attained the prayojan, Radha dasyam/sahachari bhava without following Ekadasi. Sri Harivansh himself is famed for not following it [see Nabhadas' bhaktmaal etc] and so we follow his bhajan-path in regards to Ekadasi. The followers of Swami Haridas are the same, they do not give much importance to Ekadasi vrata either.

(3) Srila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur in Raga-vartma-candrika says how Ekadasi is partially related with one's desired bhava, because it can help in one's Hari smarana. “tatraivaikadasi  vratasyanvaye 'govinda smaranam nrnam yad ekadasyuposanam' iti smrter upadana karana smaranasya labhada amsena bhava sambhanditvam”.

If by our bhajan practises, we are already engaged in smarana [which is a direct cause of attaining one's desired bhava as opposed to Ekadasi which is a partially/indirect cause] of Sri Priya Priyatam and that too focusing on our cherished bhava, then we also see no need to keep Ekadasi as we are already doing what it's fruit is, smaranam. If someone in our sampradaya finds it helpful to keep Ekadasi, then my Gurudev Hit Premananda and other Acharyas/Gurus explain the vidhi to such persons and cater for them in this way. The Haridasis also do the same.

The other comments of Sri VCT about having to keep Ekadasi at all costs are not accepted by us as we feel they don't apply to our one-pointed way of worship. Nor do we accept comments by other saints when they say that there are no atonements mentioned in sastra for the sin of eating grains on Ekadasi and therefore the sin of not following Ekadasi is indestructable. All aparadhas let alone sins/papas are obliterated for those who take to Sri Radha's naam. If the glories of Sri Hari's name should never be considered an exaggeration, then what to speak of the name of She who he runs after?

“O Radha, when a person once tastes the nectar of Your holy name, Lord Krishna becomes filled with love for him, makes no record of his offenses, and considers giving him the greatest gift. Who, then, can touch the pinnacle of the glory possessed by persons whose only thought is to serve You?” - Radha Sudha Nidhi

“Chant the holy name of Radha every day. Reject millions of other great spiritual practices. Millions of the best goals of life perform arati to the nectar at Radha's lotus feet. Millions of noble mandara trees are glorious in the land where Radha's lotus feet enjoy pastimes. Millions of wonderful spiritual perfections roll at the feet of Shri Radha's maidservants.” - Radha Sudha Nidhi

So such bhajan destroys all aparadhas, and using the kaimutya nyaya principle, the “what to speak of principle” (a fortiori principle), if it can destroy the aparadhas, it can surely destroy the less serious papas/sins.

But for who may insist, Gita 18.66 gives the fitting reply regarding papas - sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah. 

(4) Lastly, Sri Rupa himself says how even a slight contact with the 5 primary angas of bhakti gives perfection:

sadhu-sanga nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana

“The quintessential practices of devotion are association with sadhus, chanting the Holy Names, hearing the Srimad Bhagavatam, residing in Mathura-dhama, and faithfully worshiping the Deity.”

In Caitanya Caritamrta, Srila Kaviraja Goswami also says: sakala-sadhana-srestha ei panca anga krsna-prema janmaya ei pancera alpa sanga - “These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Krsna.” Therefore sincere performance of any one of these limbs can give prema.

Gauḍīya vaiṣṇava - But doesn't Mahaprabhu insist on following Ekādaśī in the Caitanya Caritāmṛta?

Advaitadās - look in the Haribhakti Vilāsa – there are whole chapters full of Ekādaśī. Rāga vartma candrikā condemns anyone who thinks rāgānugīs don’t have to follow Ekādaśī. That was to prevent such rascaldom, which had been promulgated by Rūpa Kavirāja from Suramya kunja, to spread. Visvanatha Cakravartipada comments on Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu [1.2.295] –

etena vraja-loka-padena vraja-stha-śrī-rādhā-candrāvaly-ādyā eva grāhyāḥ | tāsām anusāreṇaiva sādhaka-dehena kāyiky-ādi-sevāpi kartavyā | evaṁ sati tābhir guru-pādāśrayaṇaikādaśī-vrata-śālagrāma-tulasī-sevādayo na kṛtāḥ | tad-anugatair asmābhir api na kartavyā ity ādhunika-sauramya-matam api nirastam | ata eva śrī-jīva-gosvāmi-caraṇair apy asya granthasya ṭīkāyāṁ durgama-saṅgamanī-nāmnyāṁ tathaivoktam | tad yathā—vraja-lokās tv atra kṛṣṇa-preṣṭha-janās tad-anugatāś ca tad-anusārataḥ ||295||

"By the word vraja-lokā, one should understand persons situated in Vraja Rādhā, Candrāvalī and others. Following after them, one should perform service using one’s physical body also. Some modern persons following the sauramya-sampradāya think that since persons such as Rādhā did not perform services such as surrendering to guru, following Ekādaśī vows, and serving śālagrāma and tulasī, we also need not do those activities. That idea is defeated here. Jīva Gosvāmī in his commentary has explained this with the words vraja-lokās tv atra kṛṣna-preṣṭha-janās tad-anugatāś ca tad-anusārataḥ: vraja-lokā means those dear to Kṛṣṇa (like Śrī Rādhā etc.) and persons following after them (like Śrī Rūpa etc.); one should follow in their footsteps."
Hita harivaṁśa follower –
So for us, to accept and promote the idea that mahaprasad is made up of grains or any other material element is not possible.

Advaitadās –
Mahāprabhu did mention the ingredients of the mahā-prasāda in Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Antya 16 108-110 -

prabhu kahe,----"ei sab hoy ’prākṛta’ dravya
aikṣava, karpūra, marica, elāica, lavaṅga, gavya
rasavāsa, guṇatvaka-ādi yata sab
’prākṛta’ vastura svāda sabāra anubhav
sei dravye eta āsvāda, gandha lokātīta
āsvāda koriyā dekho,----sobāra pratīta

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, "These ingredients, such as sugar, camphor, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, butter, spices and licorice, are all material. Everyone has tasted these material substances before. But in these ingredients there are extraordinary tastes and uncommon fragrances. Just taste them and see the difference in the experience.”

Mādhurya Kādambini condemns deliberate sevā-aparādha (which the breaking of Ekādaśī is) as the nāmāparadha of sinning on strength of the name:

kintu tat tad upaśama sambhava balena tatra sāvadhānatā śaithilye sevāparādhā api nāmāparādhā eva syuḥ. tathā hyuktam - nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa buddhir iti. tatra nāma ityupalakṣaṇaṁ bhakti mātrasyaivopaśamakasya. dharma śāstre'pi prāyaścitta balena pāpācareṇa na tasya pāpasya kṣayaḥ pratyuta gāḍhataiva.

If one is, however, careless about sevā-aparādhas, knowing that by chanting and reciting prayers sevā-aparādhas can be nullified, then all the sevā-aparādhas turn into nāma-aparādha. śāstras thus say, “Committing sins on the strength of nāma is one of the nāma-aparādhas.” In this verse, nāma also refers to other devotional practices. Even dharma-śāstras related to the codes of karma-yoga also say that if one commits sins on the strength of atonement, thinking that it can destroy the evil effects of sins, then those sins become more intense rather than being destroyed.

Hita harivaṁśa follower –

"sadhu-sanga nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana

“The quintessential practices of devotion are association with sadhus, chanting the Holy Names, hearing the Srimad Bhagavatam, residing in Mathura-dhama, and faithfully worshiping the Deity.”

In Caitanya Caritamrta, Srila Kaviraja Goswami also says: sakala-sadhana-srestha ei panca anga krsna-prema janmaya ei pancera alpa sanga - “"These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Krsna.” Therefore sincere performance of any one of these limbs can give prema."

Advaitadās - Caitanya Caritamrta (Ādi 15, 8-9) also says that Nimāi told mother Śacī to follow Ekādaśī –

eka dina mātāra pade kariyā praṇāma
prabhu kahe,----mātā, more deha eka dāna
mātā bole,-- tāi dibo, yā tumi māgibe
prabhu kahe,- ekādaśīte anna nā khāibe

“One day Nimāi offered praṇām to His mother's feet and said 'mother, give me one gift'. Mother said ‘I give you anything you ask.” Prabhu said “don't eat grains on Ekādaśī”.

Hita harivaṁśa follower –
"We aren't actually eating grains, because prasad and grains are never the same and there is just a superficial similarity, like the comparison between a biological eye and the eye on a peacock's feather."

Advaitadās - Where do the 6 Gosvāmīs say that? It's a total speculation

Hita harivaṁśa follower –
"Radhavallabhis and Haridasis are instead interested in something we consider even higher than this. Becoming a completely committed sevika/maidservant of Swaminiju Radha. It is not said anywhere that Ekadasi will give us seva of Sri Radha and that's all we really care about."

Advaitadās – “You risk attracting all the lazy, cheap, insincere and bodily attached devotees from us in this way.”

Hita harivaṁśa follower –
"Many of our mahatmas have attained the prayojan, Radha dasyam/sahachari bhava without following Ekadasi. Sri Harivansh himself is famed for not following it"

Advaitadās – That is why his guru Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī rejected him.

Hita harivaṁśa follower –
"(3) Srila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur in Raga-vartma-candrika says how Ekadasi is partially related with one's desired bhava, because it can help in one's Hari smarana. “tatraivaikadasi  vratasyanvaye 'govinda smaranam nrnam yad ekadasyuposanam' iti smrter upadana karana smaranasya labhada amsena bhava sambhanditvam”.

If by our bhajan practises, we are already engaged in smarana [which is a direct cause of attaining one's desired bhava as opposed to Ekadasi which is a partially/indirect cause] of Sri Priya Priyatam and that too focusing on our cherished bhava, then we also see no need to keep Ekadasi as we are already doing what it's fruit is, smaranam"

Advaitadās  - They should not quote Gauḍīya ācāryas on the one hand and reject them on the other hand. Ek pathe cholo – follow one path. This is the full text of Raga-vartma-candrika, to understand the whole context –

tapāṁsi śraddhayā kṛtvā premāḍhyā jajñire vraje ity ujjvala nīlamaṇyukter anugamyamānānāṁ śrutīnāṁ premāṇaṁ prati tapasāṁ kāraṇatvāvagamāt kalāvasmin tapo ‘ntarasya vigītatvāt mad arthaṁ yad vrataṁ tapaḥ iti bhagavad ukter ekādaśī janmāṣṭamyādi vratāni tapo rūpāṇi iti nimitta kāraṇāni naimittika kṛtyāni akaraṇe pratyavāya śravaṇān nityāni. tatraivaikādaśī vratasyānvaye govinda smaraṇaṁ nṛṇaṁ yad ekādaśyupoṣaṇam iti smṛter upādāna kāraṇa smaraṇasya lābhād aṁśena bhāva sambandhitvam api vyatireke tu mātṛhā pitṛhā caiva bhrātṛhā guruhā tathā ityādi skāndādi vacanebhyo guruhantṛtvādi śravaṇān nāmāparādha lābhaḥ brahmaghnasya surāpasya steyino gurutalpinaḥ iti viṣṇu-dharmottarokter anapāyi pāpa viśeṣa lābhaś ca iti nindāśravaṇād atyāvaśyaka kṛtyatvam. kiṁ bahunā paramāpadam āpanne harṣe vā samupasthite. naikādaśīṁ tyajed yas tu tasya dīkṣāsti vaiṣṇavī. viṣṇvarpitākhilācārāḥ sa hi vaiṣṇava ucyate. iti skānda vākyābhyām ekādaśī vratasya vaiṣṇava lakṣaṇatvam eva nirdiṣṭam. kiṁ ca vaiṣṇavānāṁ bhagavad anivedita bhojana niṣedhāḥ vaiṣṇavo yadi bhuñjita ekādaśyāṁ pramādataḥ ityatra bhagavan niveditānnasyaiva bhojana niṣedho’vagamyate.

“Having performed austerities with full faith, they attained full prema and took birth in Vraja.” From this evidence of the book Śri Ujjvala Nīlamani it is known that austerity was the cause of the Śrutis’ attaining prema. But in the present Kali-age, the performance of ulterior penance is denounced and the Lord Himself says: “Vows taken for My sake are actually penance.” Hence penances such as fasting on Ekādaśī, Janmāṣṭamī and so forth are indirect causes for attaining bhāva. Neglecting such occasional duties is known to be a cause of regression, therefore they are to be perpetually engaged in.  In the smṛti-śāstra, the effect of observing Ekādaśi-fast is told: “Fasting on Ekādaśī causes the remembrance of Govinda”. From this statement it is understood that it is a cause for attaining one’s desired mood, being a direct cause for the limb of smaraṇa, and therefore Śri Ekādaśī-vrata is said to be partially related with one’s desired mood. On the other hand, it is said about not observing it, “One who does not observe the Ekādaśī-vrata attains the sins of killing his mother, father, brother and guru.” In this way the Skanda Purāṇa says that one who does not fast on Ekādaśī becomes a killer of his guru and commits an offence against the holy name. Again, “Killer of a brāhmaṇa, drunkard, thief, one who has sex in his guru’s bed”, and so forth, thus Viṣṇu-dharmottara describes the specific imperishable sins which the one who eats grains on Ekādaśī acquires. All these denouncing statements prove that vows like Ekādaśī should always be kept. “Anyone who does not give up the vow of Ekādaśī has made his Vaiṣṇava-initiation a success.” “Anyone who offers all his activities unto Lord Viṣṇu, is a successful Vaiṣṇava.” These two statements from the Skanda Purāṇa give a definition of the Vaiṣṇava as one observing the vow of Ekādaśī. It is forbidden for a Vaiṣṇava to eat food which is not offered to the Lord. “If the Vaiṣṇava becomes so bewildered that he eats on the day of Ekādaśī...” These words show that eating of mahā-prasāda-grains is forbidden on the day of Ekādaśī.

Note here that Viśvanātha Cakravarti does mention and consider the different ingredients of mahā-prasāda – niveditānnasyaiva. The topic of Rāga vartma candrikā is rāga mārga, not vidhi mārga. And in any case, Rūpa Gosvāmī says in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu [1.2.296]

śravaṇotkīrtanādīni vaidha-bhakty-uditāni tu
yāny aṅgāni ca tāny atra vijñeyāni manīṣibhiḥ 


“All the items of devotion that were discussed for vaidhi-bhakti are also practised and depended upon in rāgānugä-bhakti. The wise devotees practise the items that are proper for their own mood, but they do not act contrary to their own mood.”

Among the exceptions to this rule for rāga bhakti, Viśvanātha does not include Ekādaśī-vrata. Only mudra, nyāsa, mahiṣī pūjā and dvārakā dhyāna.

Hita harivaṁśa follower –
"All aparadhas let alone sins/papas are obliterated for those who take to Sri Radha's naam."

Advaitadās - nāmāparādha nr.6 is nāmno balāt yasya hi pāpa-buddhir na vidyate tasya yamair hi śuddhi - “No rules [yamaiḥ, atonement] can purify one who commits sins on strength of the holy name.”

Hita harivaṁśa follower –
(4) Lastly, Sri Rupa himself says how even a slight contact with the 5 primary angas of bhakti gives perfection:

sadhu-sanga nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana

“The quintessential practices of devotion are association with sadhus, chanting the Holy Names, hearing the Srimad Bhagavatam, residing in Mathura-dhama, and faithfully worshiping the Deity.”

Advaitadās - Here again he selectively quotes Gauḍīya acaryas and elsewhere he rejects them. While that same Rupa Goswami wrote in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu [1.2.76] that Ekadasi fasting is one of 64 bhakti angas -
vyāvahāreṣu sarveṣu yāvad-arthānuvartitā
hari-vāsara-sammāno dhātry-aśvatthādi-gauravam
Translation: Accepting only what is necessary in dealing with the body; observing the Ekādaśī vrata; giving respect to the āmalakī, aśvattha and other items.
Hita harivaṁśa follower –
In Caitanya Caritamrta, Srila Kaviraja Goswami also says: sakala-sadhana-srestha ei panca anga krsna-prema janmaya ei pancera alpa sanga - “"These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Krsna.” Therefore sincere performance of any one of these limbs can give prema.

Advaitadās – It does not mean we should not follow Ekādaśī. You accept this from Rūpa Goswami and not his edict that Ekādaśī is one of the 64 bhakti-items. I call it ‘Picking and choosing what pleases your senses.’

Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava - If we offer rice and subji on Ekādaśī to Thakurji, how can then be still any “sins” in the rice grains?

Advaitadas - There are no sins in prasād ever. It is a great aparādha to think so but we are not Thakurji - he can eat grains on Ekādaśī, we not. Look at the story of the sādhus who got a wet dream from eating Rādhā-Govinda's mahā-prasad. The money was given by a prostitute. Rādhā-Govinda told them: “I can digest that but you cannot. There is a papa-puruṣa (sinful energy) active on Ekādaśī.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Mapping the unlimited, and nitya nikunja-vādīs


Vaisnava - "Radhe Shyam dadaji dandavat pranam. Can you please tell me the below with some references if possible. It is not related only to Gaudiya Siddhanta. 
 -1' difference between sakhi bhava and Gopi bhava as accepted across all sampradayas."

Advaitadās – “There's no consensus about this, otherwise why there are different sampradāyas? There's not even consensus about manjari bhāva. Some say the manjarīs enjoy vilāsa with Kṛṣṇa, others say they don't. It's according to the dṛṣṭikoṇa (angle of vision) of one's own guru varga.

Vaiṣṇava – 2. Many Sampradayas accept the concept of no swakiya (wedding) no parakiya. Just two lovers always in love play with sakhis.

Advaitadās – “Yes, the Nimbārkis and Hita Harivaṁsa devotees have that conception. nitya bihār (Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa non-stop making love). It then makes no difference any more, whether Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa are married or not. They never even dress Themselves. The services required then are just fanning, singing, and water sevā.  Their point is - one should concentrate like a yogi on one single līlā. To some extent Sādhu Bābā agreed with that, be it not to such an extreme extent. He said eto porbār poriśrom - “All this studying!’ (‘Don’t study too many books, it will scatter the mind. Concentrate - keep it simple!”). Nevertheless, he did give me a shortlist of līlā-granthas to concentrate on, not just one single līlā. Manjarī sevā is focused on a single service (siddha praṇāli). They (the Nimbārkis and Hita Harivaṁśa-devotees) say separation is not needed to create excitement of union because the ānanda of their līlā is independent and does not depend on stimuli like separation. It is acceptable logic but it is not Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s siddhānta. He said: Na vinā vipralambhena sambhoga puṣṭim aśnute. [Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi 15.3, quoting Bharata Muni] “Without separation the taste of union cannot be nourished.”
Parakīya bhāva ati rasera ullāsa [Caitanya-Caritāmṛta Adi 4.47] “There is greater joy of rasa in parakīya bhāva, extramarital love of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.” parakīya bhāva is not only nourishing our relish but also Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s relish.

Vaiṣṇava – “3. They say the sakhīs have no mothers or fathers, no friends or buddies, nor husbands, nor children.”

Advaitadās – “We Gauḍīyas agree that gopīs have no children - our ācāryas commented like that on the Rāsa-līlā chapters of the Śrīmad Bhāgavat. Mothers, fathers and husbands are given in some siddha-praṇālī systems but not in ours (Advaita vaṁśa) – there is no time for them, and also in Gauḍīya līlā granthas they rarely show up (except in places like Rūpa Gosvāmī’s ‘Vidagdha Mādhava’ drama, or verses 87-88 of Vilāpa Kusumānjali), but they do exist. No Vṛṣabhānu bābā, no Kīrtidā māiyā, no Barsānā, no Śrīdām dādā, no Ananga manjari at all? Awful!”

Vaiṣṇava – “Then there is swakiya (wedded love). Not sure if any paramparā follows that. As far I have understood no paramparā follows swakiya bhav. Then there is parakiya bhava followed only by Gaudiyas. In Goloka Vrindavan I heard parakiya bhav are in petals and swakiya or no parakiya swakiya bhav is in the center. Is it true?"

Advaitadās – “These Goloka-diagrams are not the way it looks when you are there, in Goloka. Look at the map of England. Does it really look like that when you walk around there? The rolling hills, the sweet houses, the cows? Similarly, these maps and diagrams are useless for smaranam. A bird’s eye view is not an on-the-ground experience. And there is also not a single Goloka where we all live together, in separate sectors or so. There are as many Golokas as there are jīvas.”

Vaisnava – “But what about the statement of Goloka of a shape of thousand petalled lotus? I understood what you said. I thought on each petal a different bhav is going on. Though 1000 seems to limit the endless Goloka.”

Advaitadās - "Stop seeing Goloka as an object. It is a world that pervades all. loka means 'world'. These maps facilitate the simple minded. We call it dik darśan – a hint. There is not one Goloka, but innumerable Golokas -

yathā hi bhagavān ekaḥ śrī-kṛṣṇo bahu-mūrtibhiḥ |
bahu-sthāneṣu varteta tathā tat-sevakā vayam ||52||

Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta 2.5.52

“Just as Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is one but appears in many forms in many places, so do we, His servants.”

Vaiṣṇava - Say by Gurumaharaj’s mercy we follow guru Manjari in Goloka. Who will we see? Only our guruvarga where we are doing most seva?

Advaitadās – “You attain what you contemplate only. See Bhagavad-gītā 8.6 –

yam yam vāpi smaran bhāvan tyajantyante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti kaunteya sadā tad bhāva bhāvitaḥ

“Whatever you remember when you leave the body is what you attain in the afterlife, by constantly thinking of it.”

Vaiṣṇava - "Yes but as per gaur Govinda lilamrita gutika there will all 8 sakhis, Ananga manjari, manjaris, cowherds etc. So we will see everyone."

Advaitadās – “Yes of course but if you are at home you're surrounded by what? First your family, then your street, then your neighborhood, then your town etc. There's a focus within the whole picture, in the center. In this we (Advaita-vaṁsa-Gauḍīyas) agree with the nitya-nikunja-vādīs – there must be focus.”

Vaiṣṇava -  “In a specific planet there might be common jivas like in guruvarga?” 

Advaitadās - "Naturally you will all serve together. You should share the same consciousness-space. The Harivaṁśa says -

tasyopari gavāṁ lokaḥ sādhyās taṁ pālayanti hi
sa hi sarva-gataḥ kṛṣṇa mahākāśa-gato mahān

“Kṛṣṇa! Above this lies the cow-world, protected by the sādhyas [siddhas]. It is all-pervading (sarva-gataḥ) and boundless (mahān), and it exists in the great sky (mahākāśa).”

(Quoted in Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī’s ‘Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha’, anuccheda 106)

Note here the words sarva-gataḥ and mahān - it is a boundless, all-pervading world. Not subject to material limitations."

(another) Vaiṣṇava – “I heard, as per Hit Harivansh philosophy, Radha is vishaya tattva and Krishna is ashraya tattva.  This seems to be a bit unusual, what do you think in the light of gaudiya siddhanta? Kindly answer.”

Advaitadās – “In our līlā-, bhava- and sevā-conception we also think like that, and there are heaps of verses to that extent in Rādhā-rasa-sudhānidhi and Gīta-govinda too, that Kṛṣṇa serves Rādhā, being subdued by Her śuddha prema, and we manjarī bhāva sādhakas also worship Rādhā above Kṛṣṇa, but purely ontologically speaking, jīvera svarūpa hoy kṛṣṇer nitya-dās (C.C.) – The jīva’s svarūpa is Kṛṣṇa’s eternal servant.”

(Same, other) Vaiṣṇava – “Also, I heard Hit Harivansh followers won't do Ekadashi, is it true? Kindly  answer. Hit Harivansh followers justify his eating pan on Ekadashi as he was  completely immersed in Radha so he wasn't worried about external things?  But as per our gaudiya siddhanta Ekadashi is not just external right?  Kindly explain.”

Advaitadās – “Their idea is that one can eat grains on Ekādaśī to avoid offending the Lord’s mahā-prasāda grains offered that day. Obviously these ideas floated around in the 16th century already, for Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmīpāda refuted it then in his Bhakti Sandarbha (299) - atra vaiṣṇavānāṁ nirāhāratvaṁ nāma mahā-prasādānna-parityāga eva – “The statements in this section regarding the Vaiṣṇavas’ fasting on the day of  Ekādaśī specifically refer to abstinence from food grains offered to Lord Viṣṇu. There is no need to mention abstinence from food not offered to Viṣṇu because the Vaiṣṇavas are ever-forbidden to partake of such food, as stated in the Nārada-pancarātra:

prasādānnaṁ sadā grāhyam ekādaśyāṁ na nārada;
ramādi-sarva-bhaktānām itareṣāṁ ca kā kathā

“O Nārada, food grains offered to Lord Viṣṇu are always forbidden on Ekādaśī for all devotees, headed by the Goddess Laksmī, so what to speak of others."