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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Bahulāṣṭamī-question


Vaiṣṇava – “In his Vaiṣṇava Toṣani ṭīkā of Śrīmad-bhāgavat 10.45.3 Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī says that ariṣṭa-vadha (the slaying of Ariṣṭāsura, which prompted the appearance of Rādhākuṇḍa) took place on CAITRA PURNIMA. (ekādaśasya caitra paurṇamāsyam ariṣṭavadhaḥ, ed). Does that prove then that Caitra purṇimā is the ACTUAL APPEARANCE DAY OF Rādhākuṇḍa, because Rādhākuṇḍa manifested after the death of Ariṣṭāsura? Why then are Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas bathing on Kārtika Bahulāṣṭamī if IT IS NOT THE APPEARANCE DAY OF Rādhākuṇḍa? What are they celebrating?? What is so special about Bahulāṣṭamī, that the Padma Purāṇa glorifies bath then in Rādhākuṇḍa, and our Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī quotes that in Mathurā Māhātmyam??"

Advaitadās – In the Kārtika Māhātmya of the Padma Purāṇa, it is said:

govardhana girau ramye rādhākuṇḍaṁ priyaṁ hareḥ      
     kārtike bahulāṣṭamyāṁ tatra snatvā hareḥ priyaḥ

"Anyone who bathes in Rādhākuṇḍa, which is situated by the charming Govardhana Mountain, on the day of Bahulāṣṭamī (the eighth day of the dark lunar quarter) in the month of Kārtika becomes very dear to Lord Hari, to whom this kuṇḍa is also very dear." Possibly this statement caused the tradition of Rādhākuṇḍa snān as we know it now. When this has become mixed up I do not know, but probably not too long ago as the current shape of Rādhākuṇḍa, with concrete steps, only exists since, I believe, 1864.

Vaiṣṇava – “I heard that we are bathing then to honor the discovery day of Rādhākuṇḍa by Mahāprabhu. But I thought Mahāprabhu arrived in Mathurā on Kārtika pūrṇimā, so how could He have been here on aṣṭamī? I was told that’s Mathurā, but BEFORE going to Mathurā while Mahāprabhu was on Vraja parikramā, Mahāprabhu came here on Bahulāṣṭamī and discovered Rādhākuṇḍa. Advaitajī, it seems that Bhakti Ratnākara says the VERY FIRST PLACE Mahāprabhu saw in Vraja-maṇḍala was Mathurā… He took Viśrāma Ghāṭ bath, Keśavji darśana, AND THEN Vraja-dhāma parikramā? Is there any pramāṇa to prove that Kārtik pūrṇimā was the first day that Mahāprabhu touched Vraja-maṇḍala, be it Mathurā or elsewhere?"

Advaitadās - Not only Bhakti Ratnākara, also Caitanya Caritāmṛta (Madhya 17.155) says that Mahāprabhu first came to Mathurā, then (Madhya 17.193) He saw the 12 forests, and only then (Madhya 18.3) He came to Rādhākuṇḍa. Yes, there can also be something wrong with the traditional celebration of Mahāprabhu’s first arrival in Braja on Kārtika Pūrṇimā, as far as I know there is no mentioning of Mahāprabhu entering Vraja on Kārtika Pūrṇimā, but that would still not solve the problem with the Caitra Pūrṇimā date of Rādhākuṇḍa’s appearance.

Vaiṣṇava - Who is Bahulā, and what is her/his relationship with Kārtika Bahulāṣṭamī?

Advaitadās - Bahulā is described as Hari’s wife in Mathurā Māhātmyam 342 (quoting from Skānda Purāṇa without any details) and-

The story of Bahulā Devi is recounted in a number of Purāṇas and in some versions the details of the story vary, but the essence of the story is the same. In the Padma Purāṇa, it says that in her previous life, before attaining the position as the consort of Lord Śrī Hari, Bahulā had taken birth as a cow in the forest of Bahulāvana, and her character was severely tested by the Lord Himself. One day, Bahulā was taken to the pasturing ground by her master, a local brāhmaṇa, so that she could feed on the fresh grass of Bahulāvana forest. Suddenly a very hungry tiger appeared from the jungle and was preparing to attack and eat Bahulā. Seeing that the end was near, Bahulā requested the tiger to wait just a moment so that she could feed milk to her hungry calf waiting nearby. Bahulā promised to return as soon as the calf was fed. The tiger agreed to the proposal and waited for Bahulā to return. Within a short time, after feeding her baby calf, Bahulā returned as promised. To her amazement she found that the tiger had disappeared and Kṛṣṇa was standing there along with Yamarāja, who had appeared as the tiger just to test her truthfulness. Being pleased with Bahulā’s honesty, even in the face of death, Kṛṣṇa gave her the benediction that in her next life she would attain the position as one of the goddesses of fortune and achieve the Supreme Lord as her husband.

I guess this līlā took place on Bahulāṣṭamī and the bathing in Rādhākuṇḍa coincides with this without further mutual relationship.

Vaiṣṇava - “According to the śāstra pramāṇa of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī’s ṭīkā on Śrīmad-bhāgavat 10.45.3, which is rock safe evidence for Vaiṣṇavas, it seems perfectly justified and correct that all Vaiṣṇavas should honor Rādhākuṇḍa appearance by bathing at midnight on Caitra pūrṇimā in Rādhākuṇḍa?”

Advaitadās - That seems logical and fair but somehow that’s not how the tradition developed.

Vaiṣṇava - That would save a lot of crushed ribs and bruises experienced by our gentle  brothers and sisters in those rugby-match midnight Kārtika-baths.

Advaitadās - Most people who bathe in Rādhākuṇḍa at midnight on Bahulāṣṭami want good offspring, a dowry for their daughter and a new motorcycle. In all the 35 years I did rāgānugā bhakti I went in only once on such a night, in 2002. Rūpa Gosvāmī writes in Upadeśāmṛta (11) that rādhā-prema awaits a bather in Rādhākuṇḍa on any day of the year, at any time. tat premedam sakṛd api saraḥ snātur aviskaroti. Who needs a motorcycle anyway?

Vaiṣṇava – “And on the other hand to honor Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī’s pramāṇa for a Bahulāṣṭamī-bath in Rādhākuṇḍa, one could just bathe easily during the day in Rādhākuṇḍa. Is this true or false?” 

Advaitadās - Yes, bathing on Bahulāṣṭamī can be done in the daytime as well, as there is no mentioning of night or midnight in those Padma Purāṇa ślokas (kārtike bahulāṣṭamyāṁ, Haribhakti-vilāsa 16.207-208) at all. In his Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā to that verse, Sanātan Goswāmī also does not mention the slaying of Ariṣṭāsura or the appearance of Rādhākuṇḍa being connected with the Bahulāṣṭamī-bathing. He merely writes: śrī rādhā-prāṇa-nāthāya śrīmad dāmodarāya te; sarvaṁ caitanya-devāya gurave’rpitam eva me. tatra kuṇḍe naraḥ snātvā hareḥ priyatamo bhavet. hi yataḥ. tatra tatra snānaṁ tasya hareḥ pratosaṇaṁ prakarṣeṇa toṣayatītyarthaḥ - "This is all dedicated to the Lord of Śrī Rādhā's life, Śrī Dāmodara, to Caitanya-deva and Guru. Having bathed there, in the kuṇḍa, should be dearmost to Hari. Bathing there is most pleasing to Hari."

Monday, February 13, 2017

pradakṣiṇa


I had some interesting realization about the word pradakṣiṇa -

This is the dictionary meaning -

The prefix ‘pra’ means: forward, in front, on, forth, motion, or prakṛṣṭa, excellence, and 'dakṣiṇa' means: to the right.

प्रदक्षिण pradakSiNa adj. circumambulation from left to right of a person or object as a kind of worship
प्रदक्षिण pradakSiNa adj. standing or placed on the right
प्रदक्षिण pradakSiNa adj. turning the right side towards
प्रदक्षिण pradakSiNa adj. to the right side
प्रदक्षिण pradakSiNa adj. respectful
प्रदक्षिण pradakSiNa adj. auspicious
प्रदक्षिन pradakSina n. circumambulation  [ in clockwise direction ]
प्रदक्षिणम् pradakSiNam ind. so that the reverential side is turned towards a person or object

In the story of the lifting of mount Govardhana, in chapter 24 of the 10th canto of the Bhāgavata, the supreme pradakṣiṇa, or Girirāja parikramā, was introduced -

10.24.29 pradakṣiṇaṁ ca kuruta go-viprānala-parvatān

Kṛṣṇa said - "Keep the cows, brahmins, fire and the mountain [Girirāja Govardhana] on your right as you go round them."

10.24.33 go-dhanāni puraskṛtya giriṁ cakruḥ pradakṣiṇam

“The Vrajavāsīs kept Girirāja Govardhana to their right during their parikramā."

As also after the completion of the Uddhava Gīta at the end of the 11th Canto:

11.29.45  sa evam ukto hari-medhasoddhavaḥ  pradakṣiṇaṁ taṁ parisṛtya pādayoḥ

“Uddhava went round the Lord, keeping Him always to his right.”

In Vedic culture the superior is on the right and the subordinate on the left.

śrīdāma subalau vāme puro'sya madhumangalaḥ
dakṣiṇe śrī balascānye paritaḥ samupāviśan

(Govinda Līlāmṛta 4.22)

"(During Kṛṣṇa's breakfast) Śrīdāma and Subala sat on Kṛṣṇa's left, Madhumangala faced Him and Balarāma sat on His right........”

Balarāma, Kṛṣṇa's superior, sits on the right, and Śrīdāma and Subala, His subordinates, on the left.

dakṣiṇe'syāgrajau vāme'nujau putrau puraḥ sthitau; 
subhadrādyā harer vāme baṭavo bala dakṣiṇe

(Govinda Līlāmṛta 20.44)

(During supper) "Nanda's older brothers (Upananda and Abhinanda) sat on his right, his younger brothers (Sananda and Nandana) on his left and Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma faced him. Subhadra and others sat on Kṛṣṇa's left and the brāhmaṇas sat on Balarāma's right."

I first learned the principle of junior to the left and senior to the right during my initiation from Sādhu Bābā in Vṛndāvana in 1982. I was asked to sit to Sādhu Bābā's left during the private ceremony.

The most famous verse mentioning pradakṣiṇa is: yāni kāni ca pāpāni brahma hatyādikāni ca tāni tāni pranaśyanti pradakṣiṇa pade pade (Which I cannot find in Haribhakti Vilāsa)

There is also a pradakṣiṇa māhātmya (glorification of pradakṣiṇa) in the 8th vilāsa of the Haribhakti Vilāsa.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Foot-lac, inherent svarūpa, love him or leave him and the Hare-kṛṣṇa mantra.


Devotee - Śrī Rādhikā wears red lac on bottom of Her lotus feet or only on the sides and up the heels like seen among Indian ladies?

Advaitadās - yasyāṅka rañjita śiras – lākṣā-rasaḥ sa ca kadā padayor adhas te nyasto mayā (Vilāp-kusumānjali 43) – Kṛṣṇa’s head is colored by Rādhikā’s footlac when She puts Her foot / feet on His head. She does not sweep across His head with Her heels. padayor adhaḥ means ‘under both feet’. So the lac is proven to be on the footsoles.

Devotee - A proponent of the Inherent-svarūpa vāda, that the jīva’s siddha-svarūpa is inherently dormant in the heart, quoted this ṭīkā to Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta 2.4.190 by Sanātan Gosvāmīpāda: 

nanu sarva-jñāna-kriya-śakti-pravartakaḥ hṛśīkeśo’yaṁ sarvotkṛṣṭa-tāratamya upāsanam eva sarvebhyo’pi tebhyaḥ sāmyena kiṁ na dadyat tatrāha vicitreti vicitrāṇāṁ vividhānāṁ tāsaṁ tāsāṁ rucīnāṁ bhāva-viśeṣāṇāṁ rasānāṁ vā dānaṁ tebhyo vitaraṇam. tāneti pāṭhe vistāraṇaṁ tad eva līlā tasya vibhūtim vaibhavaṁ ko janaḥ ut ucchais tarkayituṁ prabhuḥ śaktaḥ. api tu na ko’pi tatra hetuḥ samudra-koṭibhyo’pi gahano gambhīra āśayo’bhiprāyo yasya tasya. vicitra ruci vistāraṇe hetuḥ vicitra līlāyā vibhavā vaibhavāni yasya tasya anyathā vividha līlā-vaibhava-mādhurya-sampatter iti bhāvaḥ.

Advaitadās - Since no English translation was given, I will present it here –

‘If you say that Lord Hṛśīkeśa prompts all energies of action and knowledge, then why does He not give the highest type of worship to all devotees? To that it is said ‘vicitra’, there is a variety, and to different devotees He gives taste for different particular bhāvas or feelings. He distributes different rasas to them. Can anyone ascertain the prowess of the Lord’s līlā through false logic? No one can. His desires are deep (incomprehensible) like millions of oceans. Another reason for His bestowing different tastes is that the prowess of a variety of līlās is a treasure of sweetness.”

Inherent-svarūpa proponent: “Taste in a particular rasa is the action of jñāna- and kriyā-śakti of the Lord. The jñāna and kriyā-śaktis are always working on the jīva-śakti in both the conditioned and liberated states. So the śaktis responsible for the taste are already present in the jīva. They are never not present.”

Advaitadās - That’s not at all what this ṭīkā is about. It’s about why the Lord doesn’t bestow the highest rasa to everyone. It doesn’t say at all that the śaktis responsible for the taste are already present in the jīva.

Inherent-svarūpa proponent:  The Lord knows past present and future. He knows what taste will manifest at a particular point, from the relative perspective of material time. So, from the absolute perspective, the taste is fixed and the potencies responsible for it are already present. aga-jagad-okasām akhila-śakty-avabodhaka te "O Lord, you awaken all the śaktis of the living entities." (Śrīmad-bhāgavata 10.87.14) Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments that the Lord awakens the ability of the jīva to pursue the path of bhakti. Just a tip. Remember that material reason is conditioned by the concept of time, whereas transcendence is an eternal present.” 

Advaitadās - That is exactly the opposite of a svarūpa or prema being dormant in the heart. If I plan to give someone a donation next month, the receiver doesn’t own that money until next month, though I decided to donate it right now. With the same logic we can also all call ourselves liberated because it’s just a matter of time. This about Destiny, not dormancy. Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta 2.4.190 doesn't say that prema is dormant but that it is given by the Lord. The added value is that Sanātan Goswāmī names the śaktis that bestow the mercy - big deal. It doesn't speak of inherent svarūpa at all. Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments on Bhakti Rasāmṛta-sindhu 3.2.77: pārṣadānāṁ rati-janmani tu anādi-siddha-saṁskāra eva hetuḥ. “Only nitya siddhas have an anādi-siddha-saṁskāra for bhakti rasa, while sādhana siddhas do not. The latter only attain rasa by sādhana and mercy (puraivokta, as described in verse 1.3.6).“ Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta 2.4.190 doesn’t mention some taste already being present and later being awakened by Krsna. The verse and the commentary clearly use the word "dāna" which is glossed as "vitaraṇam", distribution. It is about giving different ruci (devotional taste), vicitra-tad-ruci-dāna-līlā, that leads to different upāsanā (types of worship) and different siddhi. If this ruci is already there in the jīva then there is no question of dāna-līlā (the pastime of giving). 

Devotee – I’m curious about the grounds for rejecting a Guru. I heard that Narahari Sarakāra’s ‘Kṛṣṇa Bhajanāmṛta’ speaks about this?

Advaitadās - Regarding ‘Kṛṣṇa Bhajanāmṛta’, I am not a fan of this booklet. Those who quote it as authoritative usually oppose Gaur Nāgari bhāva, which was so loudly preached by Narahari, and should contemplate their double standards. In other words, one cannot oppose Gaur-nāgarī and at the same time slam someone on the head with Kṛṣṇa-bhajanāmṛta, written by the same Narahari, as authoritative śāstra.
Narahari advises us in Kṛṣṇa Bhajanāmṛta - kintu yadi gurur asamañjasaṁ karoti tarhi yukti-siddhaiḥ siddhāntais tasya rahasi daṇḍaḥ karaṇīyaḥ na tu tyājyaḥ - ‘But if the Guru does something inappropriate, he should be punished (rebuked) in private with the proper reasonable philosophy. He should not be rejected, though.” The 3rd offence to harinām is guror avagya, disregard of the Guru, and Śrīmad Bhāgavata 7th and 11th canto clearly condemn a human conception of Śrī Gurudeva - yasya sākṣād bhagavati jñāna dīpa prade gurau martyāsaddhiḥ śrutaṁ tasya sarvaṁ kuñjara śaucavat (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 7.15.26) “Whoever has the foolish notion that the Guru, the bestower of the lamp of divine knowledge, who is God Himself, is a mere mortal, has all his learning lost, just as an elephant throws dust all over himself after bathing.” ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān nāvamānyeta karhicit na martya buddhyāsūyeta sarva devamayo guruḥ (Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Śrīmad Bhāgavata 11.17.27) "You should know the ācārya to be Me, never slight or disrespect him or find faults in him, considering him to be an ordinary mortal, for Śrī Gurudeva is the aggregate of all the Gods."  
How then can a śiṣya approach Guru and get on his case, even in private? Narahari even uses the word daṇḍya, Guru is punishable. I find that hellishly offensive. Either love Guru or leave him. Narahari later writes - loka-sva stavaiḥ kṛṣṇam anukaroti – “If the Guru praises himself to the people as Kṛṣṇa, or imitates Kṛṣṇa”. This must be judged on a case-by-case basis. If this refers to a sahajiyā who has His private Rāsa-līlās, then such a Guru can be abandoned. But in other cases it can be accepted. My Guru accepted Śiva-abhimāna, which is onthologically correct, considering his family lineage. 

Devotee – Some say the hare-kṛṣṇa mantra should be chanted, in kīrtan, completely, and not in 2 halves or so.

Advaitadās – Śrīman Mahāprabhu said in Śikṣāṣṭakam – nāmnām akāri bahudhā nija sarva-śaktis tatrārpita niyamitaḥ smaraṇe na kālaḥ - ‘You have invested all Your transcendental energies within Your holy name and there are no hard and fast rules for chanting them.’

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Doership in sādhanā

In Śrīmad Bhāgavata (12.8.40) Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi said:

kiṁ varṇaye tava vibho yad-udīrito 'suḥ saṁspandate tam anu vāṅ-mana-indriyāṇi
spandanti vai tanu-bhṛtām aja-śarvayoś ca svasyāpy athāpi bhajatām asi bhāva-bandhuḥ

“O Almighty Lord, how can I possibly describe you? You propel the vital air, which impels the mind, senses and power of speech to act. This is true for all embodied souls including Brahmā and Śiva and even me. Still, you become the intimate friend of those who worship you.”

This verse jams the post of non-free-will and non-doership again deeper into the ground. It shows that even our sādhana is not done by us, but also by Kṛṣṇa. The mind is remembering Kṛṣṇa’s rūpa-guṇa-līlā, the senses perform active devotional service to Kṛṣṇa and the speech chants the holy name in japa or kīrtan. They are all propelled, pulsated, by Kṛṣṇa however, as is clear from this verse. You are chanting the holy name because the holy name, which is non-different from Kṛṣṇa (abhinnatvān nāma-nāmino), allows you to chant it. Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmīpāda quotes the Padma-purāṇa in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhuḥ (1.2.234) -

ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyaṁ indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ

“Kṛṣṇa and His names cannot be grasped by the material senses, but when a person develops a service-attitude, or the tendency to accept the Lord’s name and form, Kṛṣṇa spontaneously appears on the tongue and in the other senses.”

In his commentary on this Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu-verse, Śrīla Jīva Goswāmīpāda quotes examples of even animals to whom the holy name appeared. There is a description of Bharata as he gave up the body of a deer. This illustrates this spontaneous appearance of the Lord’s name.   

nārāyaṇāya haraye nama ity udāraṁ hāsyan mṛgatvam api yaḥ samudājahāra

“He gave up his body of the deer while smiling broadly saying, “All respects to Lord Nārāyaṇa Hari.” (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 5.14.45)

There is also the case of Gajendra:

evaṁ vyavasito buddhyā samādhāya mano hṛdi
jajāpa paramaṁ jāpyaṁ prāg-janmany anuśikṣitam  

“Thereafter, the King of the elephants, Gajendra, fixed his mind in his heart with perfect intelligence and did japa of a mantra which he had learned in his previous birth as Indradyumna and which he remembered by the grace of Kṛṣṇa.  (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 8.3.1)

So the holy name isn’t chanted by us, it descends to the surrendered soul.

The description of ‘the mind and speech being pulsated or propelled by Kṛṣṇa’ should serve as consolation for any devotee who is nervous before having to give a class. I experienced many times while giving class that Kṛṣṇa was speaking through me, and, after he gave class, Sādhu-bābā used to say ‘āmi ki bollām? Āmi ki bollām?’ ‘What did I say? What did I say?’ It was like he came back from another planet. He was not aware of any control that his own mind or speech had had on the lecture. 

Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī comments on this verse in the Bhakti-sandarbha (144), quoting Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad (4.4.18): prāṇasya prāṇam uta cakṣuṣaś cakṣur uta śrotasya śrotraṁ manaso manaḥ “He is the life of the vital air, the sight of the eye, the audibility of the ear, and the mental discernment of the mind.” The fact that the life air, mind and senses function only on the inspiration of the Lord is true not only for materially conditioned beings but for Brahmā and Śiva also. Therefore, Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi acknowledges that it is certainly the case for himself as well. Thus, although nobody is independent in any respect, the Lord is the bhāva-bandhu, or the loving friend, of those who serve Him. The significance of the Lord being referred to as bhāva-bandhu is that even devotees have no independent power to serve the Lord. But the Lord is their friend because He gives them bhāva, meaning that He gives them bhakti by which they are able to serve Him. Furthermore, the speech and other senses with which they serve Him are also impelled by Him. Thus, the devotee is like a wooden puppet moved by the strings of the puppeteer.”

Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comments – “By you, the life air is made to move, and the voice, mind and senses.  Śruti says śrotrasya śrotram:  "The Lord is the ear of the ear." (Kena Upaniṣad 1.2) yadyapyevaṁ tathāpi bhajatām janānāṁ bhāvena premṇā bandhur bandhur iva vaśyo'si. prāṇa buddhīndriyādibhis tvam eva sva bhajanaṁ kārayasi punas tādṛśa bhajanasya pratyupakāre'samartho ṛṇīva bhūtvā tat prema vaśyo bhavasītyadbhutaṁ tava kṛpā vaibhavam iti bhāvaḥ.  “Like a friend, you are controlled by the love of those who worship you. You alone enable them to worship you by enlivening their minds and senses, yet you feel unable to repay the debt of their worship and become indebted and controlled by their love. That is most astonishing. That is the greatness of your mercy.“

It once again confirms there is no such a thing as minute independence. It reveals why souls take to bhakti, why they leave bhakti, why they may be weak and why they may be strong devotees. 

One should also understand that spiritual advancement cannot be planned, scheduled or forced down. It all happens at its own pace.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Hari is Hara


Vaiṣṇava – Why do you say that Kṛṣṇa and Śiva are one while śāstra says the opposite –

yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ brahma-rudrādi-daivataiḥ
samatvenaiva vīkṣeta sa pāṣaṇḍī bhaved dhruvam

'A person who sees gods like Brahmā and Śiva to be on an equal level with Nārāyaṇa is surely a heretic.' (Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 18.116, quoting Padma-purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa)?

Advaitadas – Kṛṣṇa and Śiva are one, courtesy of the 2nd offense to the holy name, śivasya śrī viṣṇor ya iha guṇa nāmādi sakalaṁ dhiyā bhinnaṁ paśyet sa khalu hari-nāmāhitakaraḥ - “Whoever sees difference between the attributes, names etc of Śiva and Śrī Viṣṇu certainly does not benefit the Divine Name of Hari.” But that applies to Sadāśiva, and that verse yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ applies to the guṇāvatāra Śiva. There are several interpretations of this 2nd offence to the holy name, plus a completely opposite meaning circulating, but the above translation is the mukhya artha, main meaning which includes the primary meaning of the word bhinna, difference. 

Śiva is also superior to Brahmā, as is stated in Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda’s Sārārtha-darśinī-ṭīkā of Śrīmad-bhāgavata 1.2.24, and in his book ‘Mādhurya-kādambinī’, 3rd shower –

tathā pārthivād dāruṇo dhūmas tasmād agnis trayīmayaḥ. tamasas tu rajas tasmāt sattvaṁ yad brahma darśanam. ityatra tamasaḥ sakāśāt rajasaḥ śreṣṭhyo'pi vastuto rajasi dhūma sthānīye śuddha tejaḥ sthānīyasyeśvarasyānupalabdheś ca. sattve saṁjvalanāgnau śuddha tejasaḥ sākṣād iva pārthive dāru sthānīye tamasyapi tasyāntarhitatayopalabdhir astyeva. tat kārya suṣuptau nirbheda jñāna sukhānubhava ivetyādi vicārya tattvam avaseyam

“Śrīmad-Bhāgavata (1.2.23) says: “Smoke is superior to wood, a transformation of the earth. Fire, the base of sacrifices prescribed in the Vedas, is superior to smoke. Similarly rajo-guṇa is superior to tamo-guṇa and sattva-guṇa is superior to rajo-guṇa. One can realize Brahman by sattva-guṇa.” This verse establishes the superiority of rajo-guṇa over tamo-guṇa. However, the realization of the Lord, representing pure effulgence, is not possible in rajo-guṇa, which is being compared here to smoke. Representing pure effulgence, the Lord can be realized by sattva-guṇa, which is like a burning fire. In tamo-guṇa, which is compared to wood, one gets a subtle realization of the Lord. As in the state of suṣupti (sound sleep), an effect of tamo-guṇa, one gets the same bliss as if in the realization of nirbheda-jñāna, knowledge of the oneness of jīva and non-personal Brahman. One should ascertain the truth by considering the facts in this way.”

Fire does not exist in smoke, which is compared to rajo-guṇa. It exists in a hidden form in wood which is compared to tamo-guṇa. The fire hidden in wood can make its appearance by rubbing or honing the wood. Thus the transcendental truth exists in Śiva, the presiding deity of tamo-guṇa. The author gives the example of sound sleep, which is an effect of tamo-guṇa. In that state, one realizes the bliss one gets from the knowledge of oneness of spirit and non-personal Brahman. One should ascertain the truth of Brahmā and Śiva in this way.

Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda also states in his book Bhāgavatāmṛta-kaṇa (6): kiñca sadāśivaḥ svayaṁ rūpāṅgo viśeṣa svarūpo nirguṇaḥ sa śivasyāṁśi ataevāsya brahmato’py ādhikyaṁ viṣṇunā sāmyaṁ ca jīvāt tu saguṇatve’sāmyaṁ ca “Sadāśiva is a specific expansion of the Original Supreme Lord who is nirguṇa, beyond the modes of material nature, and is the origin of Śiva the guṇāvatāra. Hence He is superior to Brahmā and equal to Viṣṇu. He is not equal (superior) to the jīva, who is under the modes of nature.” The Vāyu-Purāṇa confirms that Sadāśiva's abode is beyond the mundane universe:
śrī mahādeva lokas tu saptāvaraṇato bahiḥ; 
nityaḥ sukhamayaḥ satyo labhyas tat sevakottamaiḥ 

"But Śrī Mahādeva's planet is outside of the seven layers of matter that cover the universe. It is eternal, blissful, real and attainable by His devotees." 

sadāśivākhyā tan mūrtis tamoguṇa varjitā 

"Unlike the ordinary Śiva, Sadāśiva is beyond tamo guṇa." (Laghu Bhāgavatāmṛta 43)

śivaloke vaikuṇṭha dhāmni

"Śivaloka is Vaikuṇṭha-dhāma." (Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa)

Vaiṣṇava - Who are you worshipping in your ashram?

Advaitadas - Sadāśiva.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Navadwīpa free from offence?

Vaiṣṇava - Some people in Navadvīpa told me "If you commit offense in Vṛndāvana you have to come to Navadvīpa to get atonement....they quoted the story of Siddha Jagannāth Dās Bābājī.  They told me a story where Jagannath Das Bābājī once accepted Prasadam from sweepers then later he realised it's an offence then he asked his disciple to carry him to Navadvīpa to make atonement. In Vṛndāvana Radha-Govinda will be there, they are very strict and in Navadvīpa Gaur-Nitāi will be there and they are very liberal to forgive the offences done in Vṛndāvana."
  
Advaitadās - About Navadvīpa being free from offences - Mahāprabhu never forgave Gopāl Chāpāl or Chota Haridās, for offences they committed in Navadvīpa or Puri, not in Vṛndāvana.  So how is there no offense in Gour-līlā or Navadvīpa? What atonement is there other than harināma? Look at what Mahāprabhu taught Subuddhi Rāy -

prāyaścitta puchilā tiṅho paṇḍitera gaṇe; tāṅrā kohe,-tapta-ghṛta khāiyā chāḍo' prāṇe

When Subuddhi Raya asked brahmins how to atone for being sprinkled by a Muslim they said 'Drink boiling ghee and die'. (Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 25.195)

prabhu kohe,-ihāṅ hoite yāho' vṛndāvana; nirantara koro kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana

But instead Mahaprabhu said: 'Go to Vṛndāvana and always chant the holy name there.' (Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 25.198)

1. Mahāprabhu didn't say “Go to Navadvīpa” but “Go to Vṛndāvana”. 
2. There's no prāyaścitta for a nāma sādhaka. It's a nāmāparādha to think harināma needs support from practises like atonements (dharma-vrata tyāga-hūta sarva śubha-kriyā sāmyam). Harināma is cira niṣkṛta, the ultimate atonement, according to the Bhāgavata (6.1.19).
3. nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa buddhiḥ – It is an offence to the holy name to commit sin on strength of the holy name. This offence applies to all items of bhakti-sādhana, including living in the holy dhāma. One should not exploit the idea that Gaur-Nitāi are ‘not taking any offence’ to commit offences or sins in holy places like Navadvīpa.

Another version of that sweeper-story is that Jagannāth Dās Bābājī insisted all sweepers of Braj are glorious and that there was nothing wrong in eating their grains. In any case, no śāstra says Navadvīpa is free from all offence. We see so many devotees falling down there as well. If this theory were true, why don't all sādhakas in Navadvīpa have prema then? If there were no offense there would be immediate prema. Then why not everybody in Bengal has prema?

Vaiṣṇava – But your Guru lived full time in Navadvīpa?

Advaitadās – “Yes but not because offences are not counted there. He was born there. Nor do we say everyone should live non-stop in Vraja. Familiarity DOES breed contempt. Ultimately whether you live in Navadwīp or Vraja, or even in a mundane place elsewhere, one should think of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Mahāprabhu worshipped Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa also in Navadwīp and Puri.”

Vaiṣṇava - But whatever it may be, is it correct to accept grains from sweepers as Jagannāth Das Bābājī has done? Kindly answer.

Advaitadās - Mahāprabhu would not eat food even from His śikṣā-guru Rāmānanda Rāya (see Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 8.47-48 heno kāle vaidik ek vaiṣṇava brāhmaṇa, daṇḍavat kori koilo prabhure nimantrana). Rūpa and Sanātan Goswāmīs begged food only from brāhmins. (See Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 19.128 'vipra-gṛhe' sthūla-bhikṣā, kāhāṅ mādhu-karī

Monday, October 10, 2016

The flowers on the desire-vine of prema.


The whole of Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa is pervaded by manjari bhāva like no other place. Śrīla Raghunāth-Dās Goswāmī said in his Rādhākuṇḍāṣṭakam (5): praṇaya suralatā syāt tasya goṣṭhendra sūnoḥ sapadi kila mad īśā-dāsya puṣpa praśasya – “The divine creeper of prema for Kṛṣṇa instantly yields excellent flowers of my īśā-dāsya (Rādhā-dāsya) for anyone who renders any service there. It expands on the bhakti-latā analogy of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, which He taught Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmīpāda: 

brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva; guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
mālī hoiyā kore sei bīja āropaṇa; śravaṇa-kīrtana-jale koroye secana
upajiyā bāḍe latā ‘brahmāṇḍa’ bhedi’ yāya; ‘virajā’, ‘brahma-loka’ bhedi’ ‘para-vyoma’ pāya
tabe yāya tad-upori ‘goloka-vṛndāvana’; ‘kṛṣṇa-caraṇa’-kalpa-vṛkṣe kore ārohaṇa
tāhā vistārita hoiyā phale prema-phala; ihā mālī sece nitya śravaṇādi jala

(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 19.151-155)

“Some fortunate soul who wanders through the cosmos (taking birth after birth in different species of life) may, by the grace of the Guru or Kṛṣṇa, receive the seed of the vine of devotion. Becoming a gardener, he plants that seed and waters it with his practices of hearing and chanting (Kṛṣṇa’s glories). The vine will then grow and pierce the shell of the cosmos, crossing the intermediary cosmic river Virajā and Brahma-loka, and attaining the Para-vyoma (spiritual sky, or Vaikuṇṭha). Crossing even that divine realm he attains Goloka-vṛndāvana, ascending to the desire-tree of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus-feet, clinging on to it. There it will sprout the fruit of prema, divine love for Kṛṣṇa. Meanwhile the gardener continues to water the vine with his practice of hearing and chanting (Kṛṣṇa’s glories).”
After the latā grew up, what kind of flowers will it sprout? That was too confidential for Caitanya-caritāmṛta, written by Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī, who wrote a lot about manjarī-bhāva in his Govinda-līlāmṛta, but deliberately kept it out of Caitanya-caritāmṛta.

Śrīla Raghunāth-Dās Goswāmī continues the analogy - mad īśā dāsya puṣpa praśasya – the service of my mistress’ service is the flower of the devotional creeper. praśasya means excellent, excellent flowers. The crux is that it is a part of 'jīvera swarūp hoy kṛṣṇa nitya dās' (‘The true form of the soul is being Kṛṣṇa’s eternal servant’)- it is it’s culmination and eternally remains an integral part of it. Sādhu-bābā said that rādhā-dāsya is ultimately also kṛṣṇa-dāsya, for that is the one and only swarūp of the soul. Preferring Rādhā over Kṛṣṇa is MOST pleasing to Kṛṣṇa.

Some claim the words api jana (anyone) in this verse mean that any backpacker with a bottle of vodka and a chillum in the backpack can / should live full-time in Rādhākuṇḍa, having illicit sex with one partner after the other, and this will yield the flowers of manjarī-bhāva, but in my opinion it means that the service rendered at Rādhākuṇḍa, indeed even by taking a single bath there, will yield these flowers in the long term, also after doing sādhana OUTSIDE Rādhākuṇḍa. The seed of manjari bhāva may be planted in Rādhākuṇḍa but may have to be watered elsewhere, in order to avoid the hazard of ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. Aparādha is another factor that limits, delays or blocks the benefits offered in this verse. We also see thousands taking that single bath in Rādhākuṇḍa that should yield rādhā-prema but it does not happen. The same condition and restriction counts for this verse.