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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."

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

anarpita tika reconsidered

In my blog of August 24, 2017 I quoted Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī's ṭīkā to Śrī Rupa Gosvāmī's anarpita cari verse to prove that manjarī-bhāva is Śrī Caitanya Mahaprabhu's ultimate gift to the fallen souls of Kali-yuga. Since then I learned from 2 scholars that this text is most probably not written by Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī. I will quote them here and add my own reasoning to it here too -

Bhrigumuni Das -

(In Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī's ṭīkā to Śrī Rupa Gosvāmī's anarpita cari verse) “There is all the emphasis on Śaci-mātā, etc. (Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī otherwise never wrote about Gaur-līlā - Advaitadas). The decisive proof against this text being authored by Jīva is quoting the advaita-prakaṭīkṛta-verse of Viśvanātha Cakravartī (who lived a century later of course - Advaitadas) which appears in the maṅgalācaraṇa to his commentary to Prema-bhakti-candrikā.”

For the readers' comfort I quote and translate that text of Viśvanātha Cakravartī here —

advaita prakaṭīkṛto narahari preṣṭhaḥ svarūpa priyo
nityānanda sakhaḥ sanātana gatiḥ śrī rūpa hṛt ketanaḥ
lakṣmī prāṇa patir gadādhara rasollāsī jagannātha-bhūḥ
sāṅgopāṅga sapārṣadaḥ sa dayatāṁ devaḥ śacīnandanaḥ

“My that Lord Śacīnandana, who was manifest by Advaita-ācārya, who is dear to Narahari Sarakāra and Svarūpa Dāmodara, who is Nityānanda's friend, the shelter of Sanātana Gosvāmī, who dwells in the heart of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, who is the Lord of Lakṣmīpriyā's life, who delights in the rasa served by Gadādhara, and who was born from Jagannātha Miśrā, along with His associates, be merciful to me.”

Satya-Nārāyaṇa Dāsji had the following to add - 

“I checked the Advaiti-prakaṭī-kṛta verse in the commentary of Prema-bhakti-candrika. It looks to me that this verse is written by VCT himself. It is the mangalācarana verse in his ṭīkā. He would certainly not cite someone else's verse for his mangalācarana. Moreover, if Jīva Gosvāmī has cited it then it could have been composed by Śrī Rupa or Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī. But that possibility is not there because the verse contains the name of both of them. It is highly improbable that Śrī Rupa or Śrī Sanātana will write a verse containing their own names and describing themselves as associates of Caitanya. At best they could call themselves as humble servants. So it may be that this explanation of Anarpita-cari is not by Jīva Gosvāmī.”

I will add my own reasoning too -
1. If this ṭīkā to the anarpita-cari-verse was written by Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī it would surely be quoted by Ananta Dās Bābāji, who was the staunchest preacher of manjari bhāva, since it would suit his mission perfectly. But he never quoted it.
2. The list of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmīpāda’s works in Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Madhya 1.43-44, is too summary to rely on, but Narahari Cakravarti’s Bhakti Ratnākara has a very elaborate list of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī's works, mentioning 25 of them, not including this text at all.
3. It seems strange that the ṭīkā to a single verse would appear as a separate book.
4. All the 6 Gosvāmīs as well as all the major Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas that succeeded them were mañjarīs.
5. Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī’s ‘Vilāpa Kusumānjali’, Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī’s ‘Rādhā-rasa-sudhānidhi’, Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura’s ‘Prema Bhakti Candrikā’  and ‘Prārthanā’, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s ‘Utkalikā Vallari’ and Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda’s ‘Sankalpa Kalpadruma’ are clearly showing that manjari bhāva is the prayojana of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya, even without needing support of such a supposed comment by Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī.

The 2017 blog is hereby deleted. 

For the record, the alleged text of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī ran as follows –

śrī-śrī-rādhā-dāsya-mātra-labhyānanya-labhya-vraja-sumadhura-prema-prakāśanāya tasyāḥ sarva-varīyastva-prakāśanāya ca

"Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to reveal the very sweet prema of Vraja which is only attainable through rādhā-dāsya and through no other means [ananya labhya]. He also came to reveal that this is the greatest thing there is."

Thursday, July 04, 2019

3 points about nāmāparādha

Vaiṣṇava: It is said in Caitanya-Caritāmrta [Adi 8. 29-31]  "Gaur-Nitāi don’t take offenses"

hena kṛṣṇa-nāma yadi laya bahu-bāra
tabu yadi prema nahe, nahe aśrudhāra
tabe jāni, aparādha tāhāte pracura
kṛṣṇa-nāma-bija tāhe nā kare ankura
caitanya-nityānande nāhi esaba vicāra
nāma laite prema dena, vahe aśrudhāra

"If one takes [chants] that divine name of Kṛṣṇa many times but still there is no prema, and no stream of tears, then I know there is a lot of aparādha and the seed of kṛṣṇa-nāma does not sprout there. There is none of this consideration in Caitanya and Nityānanda. If you take their names tears will stream."

Advaitadās - This is a glorification, puṣpita vacah, flowery language. Did Gaura forgive Chota Haridās, Gopāl Chāpal, Mukunda? Jagāi and Mādhāi were redeemed by Nitāi, Devānanda Paṇḍit by Vakreśvara Pandit. What means mercy? A blanket pardon? A human right? Mercy means getting what you don't deserve, it is not an automatic hand-out human right. Devānanda and Jagāi and Mādhāi got the mercy (of Mahāprabhu’s associates) - it is rare, occasional and at random.
Exploiting the belief that "Gaura-Nitāi don’t take offenses" is itself a nāmāparādha - namno balāt yasya hi pāpa buddhih - committing sin on strength of the divine name. "Let me torture Vaiṣṇavas and afterwards say Nitāi-Gaura haribolo." Will Gaur forgive it?


Vaiṣṇava: "If it were true that everyone chants nāmāparādha in the neophyte stage, no one would ever advance beyond that stage. Rather, everyone would fall down completely because of nāmāparādha.

Advaitadās -
This is also wrong -

nāmāparādha-yuktānāṁ nāmāny eva haranty agham 
aviśrānta-prayuktāni tāny evārtha-karāṇi ca 

(Hari-bhakti Vilāsa 11.526 )

Constant chanting may dissipate nāmāparādha.

One can chant nāmāparādha (not nāmābhāsa) if you follow an aparādhi guru. That isn't conscious nāmāparādha as long as you are innocently deluded by an aparādhi guru. It is institutionalized nāmāparādha. If you understood that the Guru is an aparādhi but you keep following him because he heads a comfort zone, then it becomes nāmāparādha. How to get rid of it? Reject the aparādhī Guru. How this happens? If Krsna mercifully sends you an offenseless Vaiṣṇava who opens your eyes about the offensiveness of that Guru. As Vakreśvara Pandit enlightened Devānanda Paṇḍit. One gets to the śuddha nāma stage by the kripā of Sādhu, śāstra and Guru (Bhagavān) and it's very rare

The 9th offence to the divine  name is generally presented as " To instruct a faithless person about the glories of the divine  name."

But the text extends it to any preaching at all, about anything, to the faithless. The divine  name isn't mentioned in the text.

aśraddadhāne vimukhe’py aśṛṇvati yaś copadeśaḥ śiva nāmāparādhaḥ [Hari-bhakti Vilāsa 11.523].

Sanātan Gosvāmī's dig-darśinī-ṭīkā says -

aśraddadhānādau jane ya upadeśaḥ sa śiva-nāmni aparādhaḥ | śrī-bhagavatā saha śrī-śivasyābhedena śivety uktiḥ
It is an offence to preach to the faithless in general , about anything, not only about harināma. Sanātan Gosvāmī confirms here by the way (“The name Śiva is used here due to Śrī Śiva being non-different from Śrī Bhagavān”), that the 2nd offence to the divine name is not to see Śiva as independent from Viṣṇu but as separate, what to speak of "To consider the names of demigods like Lord Śiva or Lord Brahmā to be equal to, or independent of, the name of Lord Viṣṇu."

Sādhu Bābā translated the 9th [8th in his counting] offence as ৮) শ্রদ্ধাবিহীন জনে ও শ্রবণবিমুখ জনে উপদেশ করিলে অপরাধ হয় – “If you instruct a faithless person who is averse to hearing, it is an offense to the divine  name. “ There is no mentioning of the glories of the divine name alone, it says ‘instructing on anything’.

The 10th offense is discussed here -
and the 2nd offence is here and here

Friday, May 17, 2019

Vaiṣṇava-dress, part 4

Vaiṣṇava-dress, part 4

On wearing Vaiṣṇava-dress the post-modern rationalist Vaiṣṇava-lobby may argue:

“The terms "dhoti" or "sari" are not Sanskrit words and not mentioned in scripture.”

Let us have look at the different Sanskrit-dictionaries -

अवगुण्ठन n. avaguNThana
1.the act of covering the head of women;
2.a veil (for the face) (fig. also);

(Apte Dictionary)

धटी f. dhaTI piece of cloth worn over the privities


Now let's look at scripture -

The word 'dhoti' is mentioned in Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī’s Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu  (2.1.351) -

smerāsyaḥ parihita-pāṭalāmbara-śrīś 
channāṅgaḥ puraṭa-rucoru-kañcukena |
uṣṇīṣaṁ dadhad aruṇaṁ dhaṭīṁ ca citrām 
kaṁsārir vahati mahotsave mudaṁ naḥ ||

Bhānu Swāmi's translation: "The enemy of Kaṁsa, smiling in great joy, and wearing a pink dhoti, orange turban, an excellent vest of shining gold, and multi-color sash, creates joy in us.”

Bhānu Swāmi has the dhoti's color wrong, but does translate dhaṭī as dhoti

Professor David L. Haberman has it right in his Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu translation -

351. The Enemy of Kamsa, dressed in the following manner during the Great Celebration, is our delight. He has a smile on his face, a beautiful pink scarf placed over his shoulders, and a long shirt that glistens like gold covers his body; he wears a red turban on his head and a multi-colored cloth (dhoti) around his waist.

Both translate dhaṭī as dhoti. Bengalis pronounce the short 'a' as 'oh'

The other 3 Vaiṣṇava-dress blogs from March 2012 and May 2017 are found
here, here and here. The now updated pdf on this topic on my website is here

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Mahāprabhu’s associates, svakīya-vāda and aiśvarya mixtures

Mahāprabhu’s associates, svakīya-vāda and aiśvarya mixtures

Vaisnava - "At the end of the Caitanya Candrodaya Nāṭaka Mahāprabhu tells Advaita ācārya:

dāsye kecana kecana praṇayinaḥ sakhye ta evobhaye
rādhā-mādhava niṣṭhayā katipaye śrī dvārakādhīśituh
sakhyādāv ubhayatra kecana pare ye vāvatārāntare
mayyābaddha hṛdo'khilān vitanavai vṛndāvanāsaṅginaḥ

“Some devotees are in a mood of servitude, some are fixed in a fraternal mood, some are fixed in the love of Rādhā and Mādhava, others in the Lord of Dvārakā and again others in My different avatāras like Rāma and Nṛsiṁha. I will lock you all in the chains of My love and give You attachment to Vṛndāvana!"

On the surface it seems from this verse that Mahāprabhu's associates are just conditioned souls who are being redeemed by Him, though they are supposed to be nitya siddhas. Plus there seems to be the possibility of being promoted from dāsya rasa, Dwārakā rati whatever, to Rādhā-Mādhava."

Advaitadās – You have to see the context. This verse comes at the end of a drama, which has a happy ending, just like the end of Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Lalita-mādhava drama where Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa get married. As for nitya-siddhas – they all have their sthāyi-bhāvas. Mahāprabhu failed to persuade Jīva Gosvāmī's father Vallabha to switch from Rāma-bhakti to Kṛṣṇa-bhakti.

Vaiṣṇava - Why Jīva Gosvāmī preached svakīya vāda (Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa marrying)?

Advaitadās – Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Gosvāmī writes in his Sādhana Dīpika: 

gopāla-dāsa-nāmā ko’pi vaiśyaḥ śrī-jīva-gosvāmi-pādānāṁ priya-śiṣyaḥ. tat-prārthanā-paravaśena tena svakīyātvaṁ siddhāntitam 

"There was a vaiśya named Gopāla, who was Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī's dear disciple. He established the svakīya siddhānta because he was subdued by his prayer to do so."

Vaiṣṇava - In the Veṇu Gīta in the Śrīmad-bhāgavat the gopīs pray to the clouds, trees, birds etc. Is that just poetry or all they also all sentient beings who can respond?"

Advaitadās – According to Vedic vision even material elements are persons – Indra is rain, Vāyu is wind etc. - what to speak of elements in the all-sentient spiritual sky?

Vaiṣṇava – In his commentary on Vilāpa-kusumāñjali, Śrī Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī describes how Rādhākuṇḍa and Rādhārāṇī's sash-of-bells (kāñchi) talk back to Raghunātha Dās Gosvāmī. Is that not aiśvarya? This is not a sign of nara-līlā (human pastimes).

Advaitadas – I still think this is very sweet, but yes it is aiśvarya. Aiśvarya cannot be avoided altogether in Vraja-līlā though. Rādhā-Mādhava cross a distance of 50 kilometers in the evening, walking from Nandagrām and Yāvat to Vṛndāvana to dance the Rāsa at night. It takes them just a few moments to walk 50 km. Kṛṣṇa expands himself during the noon pastimes in Rādhākuṇḍa to enjoy in all eight sakhīs’ kuñjas at the same time. Without some aiśvarya-hocus pocus even sweet Vraja-līlās cannot be accomplished. This aiśvarya drowns in an ocean of mādhurya, though, depending on the mādhurya-capacity and inclination of the sādhaka. The same thing goes for all the marvelous buildings described in the eternal Vraja-līlās.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Śrī Ananta dās Bābājī Mahārāja (1925-2018)

Śrī Ananta dās Bābājī Mahārāja lecturing in Gopinath Mandir, Radhakund, Kartik 1984

Śrī Ananta dās Bābājī Mahārāja left his body today in sacred Vraja-dhāma in the holy month of Kārtik. He was 93.

Born in August 1925 in Bengal’s westernmost district of Puruliya, he came to Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa in the 1960s and received dīkṣā from Śrī Kunjabihāri Dās Bābājī who asked him to serve the Vaiṣṇavas with pāṭh, devotional lectures on rāgānugā bhakti and rādhā-dāsya. His relationship with his Guru Kunja Bihari dasji was intense. Kunjabihari dasji needed not be informed of his disciple's arrival in Radhakund in advance - he got such a strong intuitive feeling that he walked to the busstop of Rādhākuṇḍa to wait for him. Ananta dasji indeed stepped out of the bus and Kunja Bihari dasji embraced him.

This blog will contain an anthology of quotes from and about him from my Indian diaries from 1982 onwards.

I regard it as a great honor to have translated nearly all of his – originally Bengali – books into English, his books and pāṭhs were perfect. A great rasik ācārya departed.

In the 1990s Śrī Ananta dās Bābājī Mahārāja wrote me many letters to help me translate and answer other questions on rāgānugā bhakti and rādhā-dāsya as well.

Around the early 1970's Śrī Ananta dās Panditji had begun to give pāṭh (devotional lectures) in Rādhākuṇḍa's Govindajī Mandir, and the Vaiṣṇavas wanted to hear Vilāpa Kusumāñjali from him. Kṛṣṇa dās Madrasi Bābā told Panditji that a Gosvāmī in Vṛndāvana had the notes of my Gurudeva’s father, Śrīla Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī's lectures on Vilāpa Kusumāñjali. A śrutidhara (Nivāran Bābu) had noted it down, but he passed away and now it was in the hands of the Gosvāmī. Paṇḍitjī went to Vṛndāvana and told the Gosvāmī that he was serving the Vaiṣṇavas at Rādhākuṇḍa (with pāṭh) and hence he wanted to have the notes. Gosvāmījī declined, afraid it would be broadcast, but since he came from Rādhākuṇḍa and was a Vaiṣṇava he could look at it and read it. Paṇḍitjī said: "I don't have the memory of the ṛṣi yuga (previous age when all could be learned from a single hearing or reading)", so he read it but could not remember all of it. When he returned to Rādhākuṇḍa Kṛṣṇa dāsa Madrasi Bābā asked him what happened and Paṇḍitjī said: "He will not give it." Kṛṣṇa dāsa Bābā laughed and said: "You see, it is with me—if you like I can read it to you, but it is written in Malayalam script." The script is Malayalam, but the language is Bengali, so there was no problem for Paṇḍitjī to understand it when Kṛṣṇa dās Bābā read it to him. Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī used to give pāṭh at that time in Govindajī Mandira from 2.30 to 3.30 p.m. Then he would take a little rest and at 4 he would come to Kṛṣṇa dās Bābā and write down what he dictated. The final page was torn out by the monkey and was somehow rewritten.  Kṛṣṇa dās Madrasi Bābā himself said of it (In a letter to me dated May 18, 1997): "Our Mahant (Ananta dās Bābāji) Mahārāj heard these notes at Śrī Vrindavan, but could not get them, so with a broken heart he returned here (to Śrī Rādhākuṇḍ), where this humble self informed him that the same notes are here. When they were given to him there was a complete change in his hari kathā. Then he wrote commentaries first on Śrī Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi and then on Śrī Vilāpa Kusumāñjali, Śrī Stavāvalī and Stavamālā." 

Some anecdotes from my diary -

October, 1982, first meeting - Jagadānanda takes me to Jai Singh Ghera for lectures of Ananta Dās Pandit—"In this way you can both learn Bengali and hear the great pāṭhas of this great Vaiṣṇava." Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī has clearly the status of a leading Vaiṣṇava, although he lectures in a simple hall on a simple Vyāsāsan. He is corpulent and wears glasses, and has clear leadership charisma. When we walk from Jai Singh Gherā to Keśi Ghāṭ, he happens to walk in front of us. I see that he is also a bābājī. He wears a bahirvāsa. He has an elegant step like a swan, a real sādhu. I am impressed by him.

September, 1983
Ananta dāsjī gives pāṭha in Jaisingh Gherā. He lectures on Vilāpa Kusumānjali, the dressing-sevā, verses 18-44. Paṇḍitjī depicts the Rāsa līlā: "ek dike kalāvati o ār dike kalānidhi". On the one hand the artistic Rādhikā and on the other hand the ocean (or juwel) of arts Śrī Kṛṣṇa."

October 18, 1983
When I arrive in Rādhākuṇḍa for my first extensive stay for Kārtik, Ananta dās Panditji is just giving pāṭha about Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi in the kīrtana-hall east of the kuṇḍa (this was much smaller in 1983 than it is now). It is so beautiful and real! With great difficulty I find a place near the entry. I see Jagadānanda sitting in the back. After pāṭh Jagadānanda blissfully exclaims: "He (Ananta dāsa Paṇḍitjī)'s an avatāra!"  I totally agree with him. Ananta dāsjī also gave Dāma-bandhana (chapter 9 of the 10th Canto of the Bhāgavata, the story of Dāmodara Kṛṣṇa bound by the love of His mother Yaśodā) pāṭha in the Rādhā Ramaṇa Mandir that Kārtik month, which I also attended.

August 24, 1984 — After Ekādaśī I go again to Rādhākuṇḍa and yes, this time Kṛṣṇa dās Baba says I can start translating and living with him! Now the time is ripe to live at Rādhākuṇḍa. After my arrival there is no time for idle chatter, though. Ananta Dās Paṇḍitjī gives pāṭha in the Gopīnāth Mandir, right opposite Kṛṣṇa dās bābā’s place. Kṛṣṇa dās Bābā drags me over there just as I arrive, without asking me anything. A great beginning. Kṛṣṇa dās Bābā sits in front, between the senior Vaiṣṇavas of Rādhākuṇḍa, and places his cassette-recorder before Paṇḍitjī to record the lecture. Afterwards he says: "Even if you don't know Bengali you must still come and listen, just to get purified by the sound of the class and the presence of the Vaiṣṇavas."

In September 1984 Ananta dāsji asks me to translate his book "Rasa Darśana (the philosophy of taste)" into English. I give it up after a few pages, it’s too complicated for me.

October 6 1984— Niyama Sevā begins. One month non-stop at Rādhākuṇḍa. Anantadās Panditjī gives pāṭha 3x a day. At midday in the Gopīnātha Mandir (no longer in the small building on the east bank of Rādhākuṇḍa, that became too small now), in the evening dāma bandhana līlā in Kṛṣṇa dāsa Bābā’s Rādhā Ramaṇ Mandir and late in the evening Śrīla Narottama Dās Ṭhākur Mahāśaya's 'Prema Bhakti Candrika' in the Dharmśālā.

May 1985 - One day Madrasi Bābā and me go to Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī in Vrajananda Gherā, as we do more often, to consult him on Caitanya Bhāgavata. I make some remark about certain devotees being so offensive towards Bābājīs and Gosvāmīs, but Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī says nothing. He does not join in in such critique and I feel embarrassed by the short and painful silence that follows.

August, 1985 — I daily go to the Caitanya Caritāmṛta-pāṭha of Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī in Jai Singh Gherā in Vṛndāvana.

December, 1985 - In the afternoon I go with Dharmavīr and Rohiṇi Bābu to Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī's pāṭha on the Bhramara Gīta, song to the bee, in honour of the first anniversary of the expiry of Nṛsiṁha Ballabh Gosvāmi in his house in Taṭīya Sthāna. During the pāṭha a prominent mahātmā enters, offering flowers to Nṛsiṁha Ballabh Gosvāmī's samādhi and talking through the pāṭha, not realising because of his old age that he disturbs. Panditji continues undisturbed.

August, 1986 — In Jaisingh Gherā Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī lectures from Caitanya Caritāmṛta, the Mahāprabhu-Rāmānanda Samvāda.

August 27, 1986 — Śrī Kṛṣṇa Janmāṣṭamī. Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī now really closes off his lecture-series with a special Janmāṣṭamī-pāṭha. Though Janmāṣṭamī is not the most rasika festival, Paṇḍitjī still makes it rasika by reading the first verses of the birth story from the Bhāgavata (Canto 10, chapter 3), how the lotus flowers blossomed, the bees buzzed and the birds sang, and how the breeze over the Yamunā carried a sweet scent. He can get rasa out of anything. 

September, 1986, Barsana - Gopīballabh tells me that the Rādhā Ramaṇa Banyātrā has arrived, headed by Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī and Puruṣottama Gosvāmi. We check them out just outside of Barsana, near the College, they have a big Shibir where Paṇḍitjī sits on a vyāsāsana. He speaks in Hindi about the meaning of the different līlā-sthalis. He names the eight līlā-sthalis of Douji Mahārāja as Douji, Rāla, Chaṭīkarā, Bhadravan, Āḍiṅ, and Narī Semarī. Deha Kund is a small lake where Paṇḍitjī holds a short speech. I am spacing out somewhat and when I turn around I face Paṇḍitjī close up; smilingly he tells me in Hindi: "If you bathe here you get a gopī-deha!" 

February 10, 1991 — I go to see Panditjī Ananta dās in Gokulānanda Gherā. Panditji sits writing behind his desk as we bow down to him. I hand him a copy of my English translation of Vilāpa Kusumānjali. He leafs through it attentively (although to my knowledge he doesn’t know English) and then returns it to me with a smile, saying: “এই কাজ আপনারই উপকার হইবে !” You will be the one who has most benefit from this!" You can interpret that in two ways: "The translation work is so intense that no one but the translator can go so deep into the text', or: "Nobody in your countries will be interested in this topic except you." 

February 16, 1991 — Keśī Ghāṭ, Vṛndāvana. Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī gives pāṭha on Vilāpa Kusumānjali verse 12. He explains that Rādhārāṇī is the icchā-śakti and hence the origin of creation, and thus the hlādinī-śakti is the foundation of the world.

February 20, 2000 -
I returned to India after a 9-year absence. In the evening we go for darśana of Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī. He sits on a chair in front of a small corona of Western disciples and greets me very heartily. We speak in Bengali; a wonderful exchange of praises starts. Panditji is surprised to hear me speaking Bengali so fluently (much better actually than in the '80s), and asks me আপনার দেশে কত বাঙ্গালী লোক আছে? ("How many Bengali people are living in your country?") কেহ নাই ("Nobody"), I reply. I then return the compliment by saying that Jagadānanda told me that I should learn Bengali by going to the lectures of one Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī. To this Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī says: "There are two foreigners who know Bengali — Jagadānanda and Advaita. Jagadānanda used to attend my pāṭhas with a khātā (notebook)." Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī asks me what changes I noticed in these nine years. I say this and that and then I say: আগে থেকে অনেক বেশি বিদেশী লোক আছে , দ্বিগুণ বা ত্রিগুণ ("There are twice or thrice as many foreigners here than before") He then says: "That is because of you." He then compares rāgānugā bhakti with the stream of the Gaṅgā, and I say that he has brought this stream down to earth — I am only carrying it. He then replies by saying: "Bhagīrathi told Śiva that only He was able to carry the Gaṅgā-stream on his head. That is why you wear the jaṭās." He then requests me to translate Mādhurya Kādambinī. I object: ভাষা ত কঠিন The language is difficult. He assures me: "Rādhārāṇī will help you."

February 22, 2000 — Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī starts 7 days of pāṭh about the single verse 26 of Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi. The first item of the verse deals with the phenomenon of lāvaṇya. Everything that is touched by black also becomes black; there is only one exception and that is the complexion of Rādhā. It remains golden, even if Kṛṣṇa, with His black complexion, assumes it. During Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa's kuṇḍa milana (at midday, as is described in Govinda Līlāmṛta, chapter 8), They do not recognise Each other, out of extreme navatā, the feeling of novelty which arises from anurāga. It is the limit of anurāga.

February 23, 2000 — We are invited for prasāda by Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī. He tells us we should stay at Rādhākuṇḍa, because my guru vaṁśa was totally dedicated to Rādhārāṇī. আনন্দ গোপাল গোস্বামী রাধারাণী ছাড়া কিছু জানিতেন না তাহার পুত্রও তেমনই  ("Ānanda Gopāla Gosvāmī did not know anyone else but Rādhārāṇī - the same goes for his sons.")
In his pāṭha he says “The word kudeha (in Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi 60) means 'bodily consciousness', and nirmalaḥ means manjarī svarūpāveśa. He also tells that Kṛṣṇa bathes in the Yamunā further (downstream) than Rādhārāṇī, so that He can be touched by the waves that She makes.

February 25, 2000 — Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī says that Anaṅga Manjarī is a sakhī, not a manjarī. She is only a manjarī by name, due to her tender age. She is after all situated in the middle of Rādhākuṇḍa.

March 4, 2000 - I ask Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī if it is not an aparādha that my books are being copied, since they are so intimate, and he says: "No, that is not your fault", but he reminds me that he told me (in 1996) that I should not translate such intimate books. He finds it better if I translate Mādhurya Kādambinī. Panditji says that his Gurudeva said that everyone must pay for the books, otherwise they will throw them away or disrespect them. If I suggest that unqualified people will read these books he says: "Why should they be unqualified? They come from so far, spend so much money to come here and tolerate all these hardships here, fasting and so.” 

November 5, 2000 — I consult Anantadas Paṇḍitjī on Mādhurya Kādambinī. Anurādhā tells me that Anantadas Paṇḍitjī also humbly offered his obeisances when I bowed down to him. Anantadas Paṇḍitjī says that the three kinds of faith, sattva-raja-tama, are all laukika śraddhā. smaraṇa, dhyāna and dhāraṇā take place in sādhana bhakti stara, dhruvānusmṛti in bhāva bhakti stara and samādhi in prema bhakti stara. When bhāva stara is attained ruci also increases. rati bhajana means those who worship in nāyikā bhāva, embraced and kissed by the Lord. Mahāprabhu gave due regards to Nṛsiṁha, as He did to all deities in Their temples when He wandered in South India. All Viṣṇu-mūrtis are respectable for us, but They are not our dhyāna dhāraṇā upāsyas.

February 22, 2001 — Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī had a bad accident; one of his eyes is stitched after he fell into his own spectacles. I tell him I wonder who will read Mādhurya Kādambinī, but he says it will be read by those who are seriously investigating.

March 1, 2001 — Dinahari tells me he asked his Guru Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī if the exiled deities in Rājasthān are the originals and the ones in Vraja pratibhūs. Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī replied: "No, the ones here (in Rādhākuṇḍa) are the originals.'

March 12, 2001 — I ask Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī about Śrīla Ānanda Gopāla Gosvāmī's statement in Vilāpa Kusumānjali purport of verse 75 "আমি রাধাদাসী" ইহা চিন্তা করিয়া আনিতে হয় না | আমাদের চিন্তা করিয়া "রাধাদাসী" এইভাবে আনিতে হয় | Paṇḍitjī explains that the awareness of 'I am Radha's maidservant' is natural to the jāta-rati bhaktas; they need not deliberately think like that. But the ajāta-rati sādhakas must train their minds in thinking like this.

March  24, 2001 — I translate 3 days pāṭh of Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī. How the kiṅkarīs themselves can see Svāminī when She is on তিমিরাভিসার ? Just as the bees find the flower by smelling it, the kiṅkarīs find Her by smelling Her.

November 4, 2001 — Like Mathurā Prasād last year, Anantadās Paṇḍitjī says, according to Acyutānanda, that a midnight bath is not necessary on Bahulāṣṭamī. One who is born at 1 a.m. does not celebrate his birthday at that time but in the daytime. The śloka also does not mention midnight. kārtike bahulāṣṭamyāṁ tatra snatvā hareḥ priyaḥ.

November 14, 2001 — Dīpāvalī. Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī lights dīpas for a boat to be floated on the kuṇḍa and lights some fireworks like the ālāt cakra (firebrand).

November 28, 2001 — I ask Ananta dās Paṇḍitjīji whether the three adhikārīs described in C.C. Madhya 22.64-67 are vaidhi or rāgānugā bhakti adhikārīs, since Rūpa Gosvāmī says that rāgānuga bhakti is not prompted by śāstra and yukti. He says they are both, because although rāgānugā bhakti is not prompted by śāstra, it is also based on it. The madhyama adhikārī understands the philosophy himself but cannot explain it, the uttama adhikārī can explain it. When I ask him about the following 4 verses, 68-71, what is the difference between them and the other three adhikārīs, since now the division is considered according to rati and prema, Paṇḍitjī says that the first three are classified according to faith and the other three (Ś.B. 11.2.45-47) according to advancement in bhakti - rati and prema. Even the madhyama adhikārī has rati, but not the prākṛta bhakta. mati for Kṛsṇa is also called ratyaṅkura. The uttama bhakta has prema." Then I ask him about the difference between mātsarya and vidveṣa in the guru (Bhakti Sandarbha 238). He says: 'mātsarya means being unable to tolerate another bhakta's superiority. nirmatsarānāṁ satāṁ. He commits aparādha but also has bhakti. There will be a delay in prema.”

February 25, 2002 — Nityānanda Trayodaśī. Ananta dāsji tells me that these short trips and all the trouble are just there to increase my eagerness and save me from aparādha.

February 26, 2002 — On Kunja Bihārī dāsjī's maps is written that Rādhārāṇī takes 24 minutes to walk between Nandīśvara, Vṛṣabhānupura, Rādhākuṇḍa and Vṛndāvana. Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī says it takes Candrāvalī longer - in this way she never reaches Kṛṣṇa in time.

March 16, 2002 — When I take leave from Ananta Dās Paṇḍitjī he praises me again for translating the Granthas. I say: এই সব গ্রন্থ ত আপনার কাজ - আমি শুধু শুকের মতন কথা বলছি  Paṇḍitjī – “শুকের মতন হউক - এই বৃন্দাবনে আপনি শুকের মতন জীবন যাপন করিবেন.”

October 31, 2002 – Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī’s classes are still increasing in popularity – in 1984 the Bhagavat Bhavan on the shore of the Kunda became too small, so he moved to the Gopīnātha Mandir, then in 1995 this was again too small, so he had his own pāṭh-bāṛi built, and now, in 2002, this is again too small! If you come too late there is simply no more space to sit. More than 1,000 persons attend. People sit on the staircases!

October 31, 2004 – Ananta dās Paṇḍitjī says in his Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi pāṭha that sa no dharmī (Govinda Līlāmṛta 8.112) means that śṛngāra rasa is a dharma, but Kṛṣṇa Himself is the dharmī or source or embodiment of that rasa, and he quotes Gīta Govinda’s śṛṅgāra rasa mūrtimān as evidence.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Lakṣmī in the Rāsa-līlā

Vaiṣṇava – “Bābā, some say that the verses in Śrīmad-bhāgavata glorifying the gopīs’ good fortune as being greater than that of Lakṣmī to be mere glorification, as Kṛṣṇa carries Lakṣmī on His chest in the form of the Śrīvatsa mark, also during the Rāsa-līlā performance, while there are verses in Śrīmad-bhāgavata saying Lakṣmī is doing tapasya for entry into Rāsa-līlā  - yad-vāñchayā śrīr lalanācarāt tapaḥ (Śrīmad-bhāgavata 10.16.36) and nāyaṁ śriyo'ṅga u nitanta-rateḥ prasādaḥ (Śrīmad-bhāgavata 10.47.69).”

Advaitadās – “Yes, in one way it is mahimā kīrtana (glorification), like the Devahūti-verses about the chanting dog-eater being qualified to perform fire sacrifices (Śrīmad-bhāgavata 3.33.6-7), but in the rasa-viewpoint it is also an actual truth. It is true about Śrīvatsa being on Kṛṣṇa’s chest during the Rāsa-līlā performance but the bhāva of the gopīs is definitely missing in Her. Let me explain -  the Panca Pāṇḍava ghāṭa is there at Śyāmakuṇḍa. The Pāṇḍavas have no adhikāra for mañjarī bhāva at all, so they do tapasya there out of respect for Kṛṣṇa. Similarly there can be a crore Śrīvatsas on Kṛṣṇa's chest in the Rāsa-līlā but that does not qualify Lakṣmī devī for gopī-bhāva - it is not a matter of physical location at all. Reversely, Śrīman Mahāprabhu did rāga bhakti in Jagannātha Puri, which is Vaikuṇṭha dhāma.”

Vaiṣṇava – “Radhika is Lakṣmī and vice-versa, isn’t it?”

Advaitadās – Yes, but quality vs quantity is also there. They are one in quantity but not in quality. Radha is mādhurya Lakṣmī and Lakṣmī is aiśvarya Lakṣmī. There is bhedābheda (difference and non-difference) in everything, also in this. Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmīpāda says: siddhāntas tvabhede’pi śrīśa-kṛṣṇa svarūpayoḥ rasenotkṛṣyate kṛṣṇaṁ (Bhakti-rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.59) “Though philosophically (ontologically) there’s no difference between Viṣṇu and Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is more excellent in rasa” – the same thing goes for Lakṣmī and Rādhā.”