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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.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Giving dīkṣā while Guru is still alive

Question - is it not allowed to give dīkṣā while one’s Guru is still alive?

Advaitadas: if individual Gurus do not find this the proper etiquette then that should be respected, but there are examples of disciples of living Gurus giving dīkṣā - Yadunandana-ācārya initiated Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī when Raghunātha was still at home, and later Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī even met with Advaita-ācārya, who is Yadunandana-ācārya's Guru in Puri. Advaita-ācārya > Yadunandan-ācārya > Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. Antya-līlā, chapter 6, 242, "When Raghunātha dāsa met them all, Advaita-ācārya was very kind to him". Antya 6 verses 158 - 161, make clear that Yadunandana-ācārya was already the Guru of Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī -

vāsudeva-dattera teṅha haya ‘anugṛhīta’
raghunāthera ‘guru’ teṅho haya ‘purohita’ Antya 6.161

“Yadunandana Ācārya was the priest and Guru of Raghunātha dāsa. He had accepted the mercy of Vāsudeva Datta.”
Then, much later -

raghunātha-dāsa yabe sabāre mililā
advaita-ācārya tāṅre bahu kṛpā kailā   Antya 6.245

“When Raghunātha dāsa met all the devotees (in Puri, later), Advaita Ācārya showed him great mercy.”

Another example is Śyāmānanda Prabhu, who was deputed to Orissa for preaching. In a village called Rohiṇī on the banks of the river Subarnarekhā, the village chieftain Acyuta and his son Rasikānanda became the disciples of Śyāmānanda Prabhu. One day the news came that Hṛdaya-Caitanya, Śyāmānanda Prabhu’s Guru, had passed away. Shortly after that, Śyāmānanda Prabhu installed Śrī Rasikānanda as the Mahānta of Śrīpāṭa Gopīballabhpur. This is confirmed in Śrī Rasika Mangala. Rasikānanda had received dīkṣā from Śyāmānanda Prabhu long ago. Hṛdaya Caitanya (or Hṛdayānanda, according to Rasika-mangala) passed away later. All this is very clear from Rasik-mangala.

Most importantly, there is no prohibition on giving dīkṣā while one’s own dīkṣā-guru is still alive, in any śāstra I know of.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Manjaris husbands, similar services and complexions


Question – "In previous blogs, like those of December 4, 2007, April 19, 2015 and June 15, 2015 you said manjaris have no husbands, but in his commentary on Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī writes -

paroḍhānāṁ śrī-rādhādīnāṁ dāsyaḥ kāścana śrī-vṛṣabhānv-ādibhir vivāha-kāle dattāḥ kanyakā eva kāścana tad-anyā rūpa-mañjary-ādayaḥ paroḍhā eva jñeyāḥ. bimbādhare kṣatam anāgata bhartṛkāyāḥ [vilāpa-kusumāñjali 1] iti śrī-dāsa-gosvāmy-ukteḥ. 

“Some of the servants of Rādhā, who were given at the time of her marriage by Vṛṣabhānu, were not married, and others like Rūpa-mañjarī, were married. Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī has said:

tvaṁ rūpa-mañjari sakhi prathitā pure'smin
puṁsaḥ parasya vadanaṁ na hi paśyasīti
bimbādhare kṣatam anāgata-bhartṛkāyā
yat te vyadhāyi kim u tac chuka-puṅgavena

“My dear friend Rūpa Manjari! In the township of Vraja you are well known for your chastity. You don't even look at the faces of other men! It is therefore surprising that your lips, that are as beautiful as red Bimba-fruits, have been bitten, although your husband is not at home. Has this maybe been done by the best of parrots?” (Vilāpa-kusumāñjali 1). He quotes exactly the same verse that you quote to prove the opposite.”

Advaitadās: “Look at the next sentence in his commentary - arvācīnānāṁ sādhaka-bhaktānāṁ tu bhāvo yathā-ruci yathā-sampradāyaṁ vā phaliṣyatīti boddhavyam – “It should be understood that the bhāva of present day sādhakas will bear results according to taste and sampradāya.” It is not that there is only one way or there is only one Rūpa Manjarī. There are as many Rūpa Manjarīs as there are liberated manjarīs to serve and follow her. Viśvanātha also writes in the same commentary: ‘Some were not married, some were married.” It is not that every single manjarī MUST be married. Śrīla Narottama dāsa similarly sang: kobe ei yāvat grāme āmār pāṇi grahaṇa hobe? (“When will I be married in Yāvat?”) – this is also optional.

Question – “Sceptics of siddha praṇālī say that sometimes disciples of the same Guru find they have all gotten the same manjarī-service.”

Advaitadās – “So, what is the problem? That Guru-manjarī may specialize in providing a certain service to Śmt. Rādhārāṇī’s lotus-feet. We should not forget that every sādhana-siddha (previously conditioned soul who reached perfection) has his/her own Rādhārāṇī to serve, there is no surplus of any service-offerings. Śrīla Sanātan Goswāmī writes in his Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta (2.5.52) –

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

“Just as the one Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa exists in many forms and many places, so also do we, His servants.” 

Those sceptics cannot conceive of the unlimited nature of the spiritual sky. Most manjarīs also have the same name. Even in the material world it is like that – how many Jacks and Johns are there not in America, how many Vladimirs and Irinas in Russia? They are still all different individuals! Again here, each Rati- or Guna-manjarī has her own Rādhā to serve. A rāgānugā guru may have 1000s of manjarī disciples, surely they will not all have different names and services. But they do each have their own Rādhā to serve. It can also happen that two manjarīs serve together, as we can see in verses 55 and 72 of Vilāp-kusumanjali for instance. These scenarios are not mutually exclusive. We have our limited concepts here that only one thing can be done at a time by one person. In the Bhāgavat (10.69) it is described how One Kṛṣṇa performed different pastimes with 16.108 queens in Dvārakā all at the same time – can you explain? So if one Guru gives the same manjarī-service to all of his disciples, then that is his/her specialty! This will only work with faith – a man was told he could walk across water by holding a closed tree-leaf in his hand, and it worked, until he opened the leaf and lost his faith. As soon as he lost his faith he drowned. Of course the spiritual world being unlimited does not mean that anything goes – rasābhāsa (perverted mellows) and viruddha siddhānta (bogus theories) should and cannot be carried along to that realm."

Question – I heard some manjarīs also have a black complexion?

Advaitadās – Sādhu Bābā gave one of my Guru-sisters a black complexion, yes. Mostly manjarīs have fair, golden complexions, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be orange, pink, green, or śyāma colored. Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī writes in Vṛndāvana Mahimāmṛta (3.107) - nānā-divya-vicitra-varṇa-tanubhir.......premāndhaiḥ parimaṇḍite’tilalite rādhā-sakhī-maṇḍalaiḥ” “Rādhā’s sakhīs (manjarīs are included) are decorated with blind love, are very delicate and have various divine, variegated or wonderful complexions.”

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Reincarnation, festival timing and Lakṣmī

Reincarnation, festival timing and Lakṣmī

Question –
I am delighted with the stories about Jada Bharata and Ajāmila and if your time allows it please give me some illuminations. First, please tell me - these stories are true stories? Both stories confirm the statement of the Bhagavad-Gītā 8.6, if I understand it properly? Now according to this I began to think on what is actually most important in our dhyāna? What is the priority during dhyāna, meditation on our svarūpa deha or on Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa? Logical is on both, but, if I understand properly, both Jada Bharat and Ajāmila got bodies according to their thinking at the time of death. If I properly understand Jada Bharata thought of a deer and therefore he got the body of a deer, and Ajāmila pronounced the name of Nārāyana and got a body similar of Nārāyana in Vaikuṇṭha? What if at the time of death I think of a cow – will I get the body of cow? Or the body of a dog if I think of a dog? What if I think of Kṛṣṇa, will I get the body of Kṛṣṇa? If I at the time of death pronounce the words 'Ha Gurudeva' will I get the body of Gurudeva? If I say Rādhe, Rādhe, will I get the body of Rādhā? What if I constantly meditate on my siddha deha but due of misfortune just at that moment of death I think about my wife or about my father, will I not attain my siddha deha but I will be born in the body of my wife or my father?

Advaitadas –
The proper way to understand reincarnation as described in Bhagavad-Gītā 8.6 is the word bhāva – bhāva means attitude. Behavior like a dog brings a dog-body. It’s also not casual thought that brings such a body but deep absorption. The stories in the Bhāgavata are true because details of time and place in which they took place are given, but such stories have a lesson to teach and that is the value of them. Stories we should meditate upon as a sādhana are Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa nitya-līlā only. The rest of the Bhāgavata is for learning lessons. Next lesson about Gītā 8.6 is ‘sadā tad-bhāva bhāvita’ – it’s what you always think of that you will attain. If you always think of your manjarī-svarūpa but at the time of death of father-mother it’s not that you will miss your manjarī-svarūpa then. Also you cannot BECOME your father mother, Rādhā or Kṛṣṇa, but you would attain their vicinity only, due to bhāva. We practice manjarī-bhāva – it is the feeling, attitude, consciousness of a manjarī that results in a manjarī-svarūpa. Mṛga evābhiniveśita-manā (Bhāgavat 5.8.27) – Bharata was absorbed, engrossed in thoughts of the deer at the time of death. It was not just a flash, casual remembrance. mṛtam anu na mṛta-janmānusmṛtir – after death he did not forget his previous birth. Meditation on both Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and one’s own kinkarī-svarūpa have been recommended in śāstra. Ajāmila did not attain a body like Nārāyana, but one of an associate of Nārāyaṇa (pārśva-vartī, Ś.B. 6.2.43).

Question –
 I have hear that devotees recently organized Śrī Jagannātha's Ratha Yātrā almost one month earlier than the exact date of Ratha Yātrā. Is it proper to hold such a festival or any other festival in a time which is not according to the Panjikā (Vaiṣṇava almanac)? I have heard the explanation that in July when Ratha Yātrā falls most people will be on vacation on the Adriatic coast and will not attend so they hold the festival early. Somehow I think that it is not correct to prepare sevā to Kṛṣṇa and celebrate festivals led by the schedule of non-devotees. In August when falls Śrī Kṛṣṇa Janmāṣṭamī people, kids, students are also on vacation, so is it proper to celebrate Janmāṣṭamī in May so that all they can attend? Please tell me your kind opinion. 

Advaitadas –
Yes, it’s very disturbing that Janmāṣṭamī and other festivals are held on Sundays, when working people have a day-off, while Janmāṣṭamī may be on Tuesday. It is wrong. There will be no benefit from such observance. It must be observed on the exact tithi. Such a Sunday could be a dwādaśī- or caturthī tithi or so. Totally wrong. They may as well do the Ekādaśī-fast on Sunday, even if it may be aṣṭamī or amāvaśyā then. Ratha-yātrā is also on a fixed tithi. Working people should serve Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa should not serve working people. Take a day off work on Janmāṣṭamī and if not possible, observe it after work in the evening. And what do they do on the Janmāṣṭamī-tithi then? Eat 3 slices of bread for breakfast, go to work and fast the next Sunday till midnight?

Question -
I wish also to hear your kind opinion about the use of Śrī Lakṣmī-devī's name for money. Money is money and if there is still need to use Sanskrit term then dhana is Sanskrit word for wealth or money. Somehow I find it offensive to address money with Lakṣmī's name. Lakṣmī is the goddess of Fortune, calling money with Her name suggests that fortune lies in money and it gives wrong the conception in the mind - subconsciously we think that our fortune is money. What is your kind opinion about it?

Advaitadas –
Yes Lakṣmī is the Goddess of Fortune and should not be employed for luxury cars or hotel rooms or Swiss bank accounts for so-called Swamis. No need even for words like dhana or vitta. Just Euros and Dollars. Nowhere in śāstra is the name Lakṣmī used to indicate money.