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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sītā Caritra and Nandinī-Jangalī

Thanks to Yadupati for sending me an essay by Rebecca J. Manring, called Sita Devi, an Early Vaishnava Guru, about Sri Sita Devi, the spouse of Advaita Prabhu. Here are some interesting paragraphs from it, explaining the origin of Nandini and Jangali, the ‘cross-dressing’ disciples of Sītā-devī, which were mentioned in Prema-vilāsa and Advaita Mangala, stories that were quoted in my book ‘The Glories of Sri Advaitacarya’:

“The author of the Advaita Mangala even describes the first feast Advaita Acharya held after his marriage, to introduce his disciples to his new wife. The texts in fact state that Sita treated these boys and young men as if they were her own sons. And so it would not have been much of a stretch for these students to take the next leap of faith, once their guru had departed, to align themselves with the person who was closest to that guru in some clearly visible ways — his widow. That is apparently exactly what happened: Her husband’s students, her foster sons, in a sense, shifted her into the position of authority recently vacated by her husband.”
……………….
“According to Lokanatha Dasa’s Sita Charitra, her problems begin when two male seekers—Yajneshvara and Nandarama—approach her for instruction, and she is obligated to refuse them on gender grounds. Their story is rich in clues to Sita’s theological identity and the ways her movement chose to accommodate and contain that identity. Nandarama is a brahman, and his friend Yajneshvara is a shudra (the fourth major caste group) from a farming family. Both are great devotees of Krishna, and have decided to seek out a suitable guru. Nandarama remembers having been given a mantra some time previously by Sita, in Shantipur, so the pair set out in search of her. Sita greets them warmly, but tells them that she can only teach other women. Nevertheless she gives them the Radha mantra and some rudimentary advice: to worship Radha and Krishna, visualizing themselves as attendants in the divine couple’s trysting place.”

(Commentary by Advaitadas: This is odd, because the Advaita Vaṁśa does not bestow initiation in Rādhā mantra. It could be Sītā-devī’s personal gift to these two devotees, a special case to accomplish the following līlā:)
……………..
“The two disappear, only to reappear a short time later dressed as gopis, the young cowherd women of Vraja who were Krishna’s close friends and lovers, complete with braided hair, anklets, bangles, skirts and bodices. They announce that the practice of repeating Radha’s mantra has effected a sex change in them. This is an amazing claim!”
……………..
“Not satisfied simply to take their word that the two men are now women, Sita examines the evidence, Lokanatha writes, and then agrees that she can now instruct them. And from this time on Nandarama and Yajneshvara are known as Nandini and Jangali, and live out the remainders of their lives as women. So great was their devotion and their desire to learn from Sita rather than from any other guru that these two were willing to relinquish their very maleness to do so.”
…………………
“The author of the Sita Charitra, writing at a time when the sakhi bhavas were coming under sectarian assault, used Sita’s hagiographical image to define the sakhi bhavas as women and then to connect their sect to a venerable branch of the greater Gaudiya Vaishnava community.”

(Commentary by Advaitadas: With sakhī bhāvas the author means sakhī bhekhīs, men who dress like gopīs. Nandinī and Jangalī are not sakhī bhekhīs, because they actually had a gender change. Sakhī-bhekhīs are physically men, though some go as far as castration, but they never mystically change gender. The author mentioned in the previous paragraph: “Sītā-devī examines the evidence”, which means that an actual gender change took place, and this must have been a mystical sex change caused by their practice of the Rādhā-mantra, because in those days no surgeon would have had the know-how or the instruments to perform such an operation on them. Concluding statement: The members of the Advaita Parivāra are not cross-dressers - the above pastime is a special Līlā performed by Sītā-devī and her disciples, it does not stand as a general rule. I just posted this story because it was new to me and sheds more light on the origins of Nandinī and Jangalī)

The author informed me that unfortunately she has no copy of Sītā Caritra herself, otherwise I would have asked her to send me a copy and much more may have been learned about Sītā Devī.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Remembering the perfect gentleman

My friend Madanmohan quoted this brilliant verse from Śrīmad Bhāgavata 4.17.20 -

praharanti na vai strīṣu kṛtāgaḥsvapi jantavah
kim uta tvad vidhā rājan karuṇā dīna vatsalaḥ

“People do not beat women, even if they have done wrong. What to speak of persons like you, O king, who are so compassionate and kind to the poor?"

(Goddess Earth to King Pṛthu)

This reminded me of an incident in Sādhu Bābā's līlā, so I added this text as a footnote to his biography, page 52. See link tab Nikunja Gopal Gosvami on www.madangopal.com

Monday, December 05, 2005

Intellect led by śraddhā

From a recent lecture by Swami Tripurāri in the USA:

“On symbolism and Kṛṣṇa līlā, Swami said this morning that it is unavoidable that we will project symbolic meanings into a world beyond intellectuality. Acaryas such as Sanatana Goswami too questioned the līlā in the same way or even more intently - these were highly intellectually inclined personalities.”

While the whole lecture of Swamiji was marvellous, I beg to place a question mark here – in what way did Sanātan Gosvāmī "question the līlā" at any point? Am I not reading the Swāmī here properly?

Swamiji continues: “But they were primarily bhaktas, and they worked their intelligence into the essence of these narrations and brought their refined understanding back to us. So intelligence is necessary but, intellect is a razor’s edge that can greatly help just as it can greatly harm……some devotees have difficulties in their spiritual lives precisely due to too great intellectual activity. He explained that intelligence is a part of ego that has to be left behind just as any other part.”

Yes, I believe that the problem with many Indian Vaiṣṇavas is under-education, which leads to racism, tribalism and blind acceptance of hearsay, and the problem with many western Vaiṣṇavas is over-education, which leads to shoreless blabla, speculation and arrogant challenging of the śāstras.

Swamiji: “From this presence of Kṛṣṇa a different kind of intelligence comes into play. Intelligence is then spiritualized, functioning under the jurisdiction of the heart, of śraddhā. “

This is corroborated in the Gita (10.10) bhajatam prīti pūrvakaṁ dadāmi buddhi yogaṁ tam.

Swamiji: “From such position one will understand śāstra progressively. In such a position one will be nipuna, brilliant in understanding, creative in presentation, a scriptural genius. Understanding of śāstra then will not be limited but expansive and comprehensible, not intellectual and reasonable only, but mystical in nature, capable of transformation and revolution. This has been shown by our acaryas. Intelligence rooted in faith may appear to some as arrogance and pride. Such misunderstanding of the devotee’s words and actions can come from intellectual activity taking precedent over faith. “

Right on. The Gosvāmīs have shown through their books that an intellectual can also have simple faith and need not be an arrogant challenger of authority.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Wrong Road

From Jīva Gosvāmī's Bhakti Sandarbha 238 -

guror apyavaliptasya kāryākāryam ajānataḥ
utpatha pratipannasya parityāgo vidhīyate

Synonyms : guroḥ - Of the Guru; api - even; avaliptasya - of the arrogant; kārya - to be done; akāryam - not to be done; ajānataḥ - not knowing; utpatha - wrong road (deviant); pratipannasya - of the ascertainment; parityāgaḥ - wholly rejected; vidhīyate - compulsory.

"One must wholly reject the Guru who is arrogant, who does not know what is to be done and what is not to be done and who is deviant."

The word ut-patha means 'the wrong road', 'off the track', 'evil ways' or 'deviant'. Having lost the way, either deliberately or out of ignorance. So any Guru who deviated from the six Gosvāmīs and other foundational ācāryas' teachings must be rejected. This is an elaboration on Jīva Gosvāmī's own edict 'vaiṣṇava vidveṣī cet parityajya eva' - "If the Guru is a Vaiṣṇava-hater he must be fully rejected."

But there is more to it than that - with the word utpatha the parameters are widened. If he lost the way he should be wholly rejected, too.....

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Mādhurya Kādambinī

The new English edition of Mādhurya Kādambinī should be on sale now, so I withdrew my translated and edited version from my book catalog as promised to Rasarāja Dās on November 9th. (A new catalog was uploaded today to www.madangopal.com). I have read about 150 pages of the book so far. Jagad and Mādhava have certainly done a good job on the editing and lay-out respectively. Unfortunately it is material perfection only, which is largely undone by the (faithless and offensive) mentality of the two. Unfortunately it is the translator's attitude to which the reader of a translation is exposed, not the attitude of the original author. It is always like that. It is the attitude that a devotional book breathes out which will win the hearts, not the perfect language or the perfect lay-out. Besides, Jagad can't help using his irreverent scholarly language, calling Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda repeatedly just 'Visvanath' as if he is his classmate or so. Also translating the word ' jñāna' as ' gnosis' is a bit too Theosophical I think.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Utthānaikādaśī - end of Niyam-sevā

Niyam Sevā 2005 completed successfully, without lapses - 30 days Rādhākund-vāsa, Dīp-dāna, and no ponghots at all (partly due to being sick, but still...)

November 12 - Utthānaikādaśī -
Everywhere people walk around with long stems of sugarcane. Viśvanāth closes his series of Vidagdha Mādhava-pāṭhs.

November 11 -
Two days before the end of Niyam-seva I finally start to attend the Kunjabhanga kirtans at Śyāmasundara Mandir. Amruds are back in season - yummy! Just before the end of Niyamseva I complete (the gist of) Rādhā-Govinda Nāth's C.C. Antya līlā -.

Antya 20.12 - pratipadaṁ pūrnāmṛtāsvādanam - Mahāprabhu got the full relish of even just 2 syllables - ja ja ga ga. Not even the full name Jagannāth!

vidyā-vadhū - vidyā = kṛṣṇabhakti. A bride is tender, always serving, sweet, always smiling, satisfied and always tries to conceal herself, and those to whom queen Bhakti appears, also become like that.

Antya 20.22 - Rādhā-Govinda Nāth: 'Grass feeds cows and thus serves the Lord, but I am lower than that, because I cannot serve in that way."

Antya 20.37 - Mahāprabhu told Sītānāth to bestow prem on Rūpa and Sanātan in Caitanya Bhāgavat, Antya 9 -'amāyāy kṛṣṇa bhakti deho e donhāre'.

As the honeybee is the only creature able to receive honey from the lotus, the bhakta is the only one to receive prem from Kṛṣṇa.

Antya 20.55 - "Other girls cannot serve Kṛṣṇa - they may hurt Him with their bangles!"

Antya 20.57 - When the sun was blocked by the chaste wife, Brahmā Viṣṇu and Śiva promised her that if she would allow the sun to rise her husband would be revived, with a healthy body and no more attachment to the prostitute.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Gopāṣṭamī

November 9, 2005
Gopastami
Rādhārāṇī's annual Caran Darśan. Goṣṭha-līlā kīrtans in Gopīnāth- and Śyāmasundar Mandirs. Rasarāja gives me a copy of the newly printed English Mādhurya Kādambinī, he says there are no immediate plans for further publishing (of new titles) for now.

November 8, 2005
I meet Rasāmṛta, who was thrown out of Gauḍīya Discussions for helping me defend the Gosvāmīs and the Bhāgavata against Jagāi and Mādhāi. He says he did not want to post anymore after and because of such behavior.

Yadunātha tells me that Rohini serves Śyāmakund by cleaning its steps with a pooper-scooper.

November 7, 2005
I dreamt tonight that Bābā had come back...

The 12th day of this bout of cold. In despair I walk to Gauradhām hospital, where I get tabs that cure somewhat. Half of my trip (27 out of 54 days) lost in illness. So sad, as I looked forward to this trip for 6 months (in perfect health).

November 5, 2005
The trip to Vṛndāvana is wholly in vain, materially and spiritually (as far as anything in Vraja is in vain). Parimal Bābu does not have the texts I am looking for - he has four notebooks full of beautiful kathā, but none of it is named. It is from Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī's time though (1943), but most of the topics wouldn't fit into our upāsanā, so its unlikely to be his.

Studies of Rādhā Govinda Nāth's commentaries on Caitanya Caritāmṛta -
Antya 19.53 - govinda - "You always protected our senses with Your flavor, touch, sound etc.How can we gopis survive in separation from you? Dāmodar - Remember once those who are bound with ropes of affection to you! mādhava - Even Lakṣmī devī cannot tolerate separation from You! So she always dwells on your chest as a golden stripe. How can we simple girls then tolerate the pain of separation from you? You must protect us! Or: You are not () our husband (dhava), so you cannot do with us whatever you want!"

Antya 19.63-64 Perhaps Mahāprabhu was into vāsaka sajjikā bhāva and wanted to eagerly go out of the kunja to see if Kṛṣṇa was coming.

Antya 20.8 - Mahāprabhu chanted hare kṛṣṇa out loud, as in Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa's tika of Stavamālā - hare kṛṣṇeti mantra pratika grahanam. ṣoḍaśa nāmātmana dva-triṁśad akṣarena mantrena uccair uccāritena sphurita kṛta nṛtya rasanā jihvā yasya saḥ "He made His tongue dance with the 32-syllable, 16-word Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra."

Sanātan Gosvāmī's ṭīkā to HBV 11.247 - vācikasya kīrtanāntargatatvāt mānasikasya ca smaraṇātmakatvāt. Real japa is upaṁśu - vocal japa is counted as kīrtan and mental japa as smaraṇa. But for that one needs a pure and steady mind.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Diwāli's 4 milksweets


Annakut at Amiya Gopal's



Annakut at Govinda Mandir


Diwāli at Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī's Samādhi.

November 4, 2005
After 2 days of sickness finally out and about again, hearing Vidagdha Mādhava pāṭh by Viśvanāth. Yugal records them for DVDs, MP3s and VCDs. Viśvanātha just started this on Ekādaśī, halfway Niyam Sevā.

November 3, 2005
Unexpectedly Parimal Viśvāsa visits me at night. He doesn't know if the manuscripts I look for are with him. He got them from his grandmother. He is himself a śiṣya of Ananta dās Bābā from Govinda Kund.

November 2, 2005
Due do eating some sweets late last night I wake up with a head full of mucus. I have darśan of only the main Annakuts and eat just a small amount of Girirāja's prasād, that are free from dairy products. Giridhārī misses the abhishekh, but the caraṇāmṛta would have increased my mucus anyway. I sleep for 28 hours.

November 1, 2005
Diwāli on the bank of the kund is, like Bahulāṣṭamī, less crowded than in previous years.

Studies Rādhā-Govinda Nāth's commentaries on Caitanya Caritāmṛta 
Antya 18.18 - Prema dances on the waves of joy and sorrow, separation and meeting, vāmya and dākṣiṇya, softness and hardness, the 20 bhāvas like kila kiñcit, sañcārī bhāvas etc. All this is caused by prema.

ek ṭhāi - In Braja, or within Mahāprabhu (does he refer to the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa milita tanu here??)

Antya 18.79 - ardha bāhya is like waking up from a dream - one is just returning to the 'real' world and is still half dreaming too.

Antya 19.46 - A child cannot make a house - it would be unfit to live in, especially in the long term. Fate also is unable to create lasting and successful love-affairs.

Antya 19.38 - The moon doesn't illuminate the caves' interiors, but Kṛṣṇa's moon-like face shines in the caves of the people's hearts, destroying the darkness of sorrow there.

Antya 18.98 - virodha alaṅkāra is an apparent, but not real contradiction - virodhaḥ sa virodhābhāḥ virodhābhā iti na vastuto virodhaḥ virodha iva bhāsata ityarthaḥ (Alaṅkāra Kaustubha 8.26). Generally friends don't attack friends and no one protects an enemy. But actually there's no contradiction, because Kṛṣṇa's hands attack the gopīs' breasts, and the gopīs protect them with their hands, that is natural.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rādhākund Snān

I meet my Gurubhāi Ṛtu Vijay, who says he lived with me in the āśram, but that escapes my memory. He lives in Bahulā-van with Brajabāsī Gurubhāis.

October 25
There is a clear decline in the number of Bahulāṣṭamī-bathers - it's much less than last year.

October 24
A new concrete casing is made around Bābā's smṛti-phalak.

The eve of Rādhākuṇḍa-Snān is cosy. In the Samādhi Mandir an unlikely alliance of Aindra's Iskcon kīrtan-group with Brajabāsīs raises the roof there, while Anup Gosai enters the village from the other side with his supporters holding a banner with his name on it. Like most other devotees, I don't bathe at midnight but just go to bed.

October 23
In Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta, Śrī Rādhikā complains that after the light has shone, the darkness gets even deeper. I experience that in the material sense when I drive back to Rādhākuṇḍa on the bike in the dark. When a tractor with its big light on drives towards me I get blinded and when it passed by I see even less in the dark than before.

Studies - Rādhā Govinda Nātha commentaries on Caitanya Caritāmṛta -

CC Antya 14.45 - dwādaśa is the name of a yogi's daṇḍa.

CC Antya 14.67 - Now the object has outgrown its vessel. Rādhā's bhāva is able to tolerate the whirlwind of rādhā-bhāva, but Kṛṣṇa (as Gaura) isn't. Rādhā is a solid gold vessel and Kṛṣṇa a gold-plated copper vessel. mādana mahābhāva is like nitric acid, which a solid gold vessel can easily handle, but a copper one cannot. Rādhā's complexion is a protective shield. In Braja Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa are separate entities, but in Gaura līlā they are joint, that's why Gaur's bones slacken (?) From here on Rādhā-Govinda Nāth gets very confusing. Rohiṇī-nandan calls it 'unnecessary comments'. The point is, Gaur isn't Rādhā but Kṛṣṇa with Rādhā's bhāva, going through a learning process - He discovers Mahābhāva. Hence Rādhā-Govinda Nāth's bewildering comparisons (not mentioned in this blog) don't work. Why is there otherwise Gaur-līlā? The vikāras take place because Kṛṣṇa learns mahā-bhāva for the first time.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A land of thieves

In the evening Navadvīp Gosvāmī, the grandson of Tinkuri Gosvāmī, shows me he only got a tiffin with some prasād and no dakṣinā from Mathurā Prasād. He affectionately consoles me that in a 'corer desh', a land of thieves, this is a donation to a Brajabāsī. At least Giridhārī, Bābā, my mother and myself get a big feast today. Navadvīp Gosvāmī invites me for a kīrtan in front of Tinkuri Bābā's āśram. They do sing the name of the Guru in kīrtan, like in Iskcon, too.

Studies -
CC Antya 5.82 - Rādhā Govinda Nāth - nija labhe mane - It's an exchange of love between the Lord and the bhaktas as in Gītā 4.11 - ye yathā māṁ prapadyante.

CC Antya 5.118 - Once a rich devotee had abhiṣekh done of his deity as a part of its installation. He asked the pujārī to do the abhiṣekh for the 2nd time, and only when he saw the deity blinking His eyes, as ordinary people do when they are showered, he had the abhiṣekh stopped, knowing that now Kṛṣṇa was really present in the deity.

CC Antya 6.9 - Mahāprabhu is only occasionally in Kṛṣṇa-Bhāva - His Rādhā-bhāva is predominant. Also, the gopis went into Kṛṣṇa-bhāva when Kṛṣṇa left them during the Rāsa-dance.

CC Antya 6.47 - Nitāi called Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī a thief because he tried to attain Gaura without first taking shelter of Him (Nitāi).

October 21 - Vaiṣṇava pada Dās tells me that Ānandī is not the same person as Prabodhānanda - he lived in the 18th century. He didn't write a tika to Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi because that, plus Vilāp Kusumāñjali, was locked up until just 50-70 years ago!

CC Antya 6.169 - chale - Mahāprabhu earlier told Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī (Madhya 16) that Kṛṣṇa would show him the trick to escape. That is now happening. Kṛṣṇa made Yadunandanācārya forget the possibility that Raghunāth could escape.

CC Antya 6.198 - śuddha vaiṣṇava nohe - They tried to tie Raghunāth down by marrying him with an attractive teen and they withheld 8 lakhs of Rupees from the Governor for their own use.

Antya 6.236 - One should not eat nicely, because prasād is for honoring, not enjoying. The sun-rays are straight, but may get crooked when they are reflected on a crooked object. Similary prasād is pure, but the way in which we eat it may not be. Haridās Thākur honored prasād by just taking a little piece (Antya 11.20)

Antya 10.8 - Disobedience can be pleasing. If I am sick and I tell my relative to go to sleep but instead my relative stays up all night to nurse me, that is very pleasing. Nitāi's example should not be imitated by ordinary sādhakas, though.

Antya 12.118 - 'I actually brought the oil for you, but since you don't accept it, it is as if I didn't bring it at all."

Antya 14.23 - According to Rādhā Govinda Nāth Mahāprabhu didn't mind the Oriyan woman mounting his shoulder because he hadn't yet returned from an āveśa in Rāsa līlā. Whereas he was grateful to Govinda for stopping him embracing the deva dāsī who sang Gita Govinda.

Antya 14.34 - Kṛṣṇa held no flute and Subhadrā and Balarām were there, so Mahāprabhu's vraja-āveśa was broken.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bābā's tirobhāva

My feast for Bābā's tirobhāva and my mother's memory is more or less a feast for Mathurā Prasād and his clan. I don't see any other invitees taking prasād. First rabari, then puris - Brajabāsī style! Rādhā-charan Pānḍā doesn't show up. I present sweets to my friends too.

Gauḍīya Maṭh's B.P. Puri Mahārāj says that mediating on a gopī-body in an unripe stage results in a material woman's birth, but Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj writes in his Sāraṅga Raṅgadā-ṭīkā to Kṛṣṇa Karṇāmṛta that one should meditate on one's own desired siddha deha also before rati (the stage of enlightenment) is there. So what will happen with all those who follow Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja then?

October 19, 2005
Rādhācharan Pāṇḍā isn't pleased that I hold Bābā's virahotsava in Mathurā's place. When I tell him we can do it in his place next year he says: "Who knows who will be around then?" It's embarrassing.

StudiesCC Antya 4.221
Rādhā-Govinda Nāth thinks that Gopāl Bhaṭṭa Goswāmī had already compiled a Vaiṣṇava Smriti, so Sanātan Goswāmī was satisfied that Mahāprabhu's order to him (Sanātan) was already fulfilled and he just wrote a ṭīkā.

CC Antya 5.17
abhyaṅga, according to Viśvanātha Cakravartī, is a massage with oil and turmeric - abhyaṅgena taila haridrādinā mardanam.

CC Antya 5.20
Rāmānanda Rāy projected the role of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa upon the dancing girls, to keep them in respect, just as Braja's audiences worship the Rāsa-līlā-actors as swayam Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. He projected a maidservant-mood upon himself, in order to render all the intimate services to the girls - being another girl serving girls.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Candragrahan - Rādhā-Govinda Nāth Antya 4

This time, for the candragrahaṇa, it's easier to finish puja in time. The grahaṇa is now in the early evening, for just 24 minutes. The Brajabāsīs jump into the kund afterwards with all their clothes on. This time it's dark during the snāna. After this, all is illuminated by a strong full moon.

Studies -
Rādhā-Govinda Näth, CC Antya 3.260
Previously Brahmā was deluded by māyā and ran after his own daughter, but now, in Gaura-līlā, as Haridās Thākur, he was the heir to prema-bhakti and defeated Māyā, becoming her Guru.

Antya 4.131 iha loka, para-loka - By failing to offer respect one becomes condemned in this life and thus loses one's bhakti, and this again causes great suffering in the next life.

4.159 vyavahāra - pāramārthik - Sanātan Goswāmī was senior to Jagadānanda Paṇḍit both in age and in bhakti. 4.161 saubhāgya, and 4.163 ātmīyatā sudhā-dhārā - Parents chastise their own child, but not others' children. Punishment is a sign of intimate love.

4.166 - Mahāprabhu was really angry with Jagadānanda Paṇḍit, and confirms how important maryādā is to Him - maryādā laṅghana āmi nā pāri sohite. " I cannot tolerate breach of the protocol."

4.171 - Jagadānanda Paṇḍit is Satyabhāmā, with samañjasā-rati, but Sanātan Goswami was Labaṅga Mañjarī, with (superior) bhāvollāsa rati.

SB 10.29.34 - Viśvanāth Cakravartī on vicikirṣito - nirguṇaḥ kartum ārabhyamānā eva sa śanaiḥ śanair bhaktyābhyāsavān niṣṭhā rucyāsaktir iti bhūmikārūḍha eva samyak nirguṇaḥ syāt " Getting a spiritual body is a gradual process, leading through to niṣṭhā, ruci and āsakti."

Sunday, October 16, 2005

More studies of Rādhā-Govinda Nāth

More studies of Rādhā-Govinda Nāth's commentaries on Caitanya Caritāmṛta - He considers doing kirtan for money the nāmāparādha 'considering harināma a mundane pious activity' or karma-yoga.

Antya Lila 3.164 -
The whole village had to suffer along with Rāmcandra Khān because they tacitly condoned his aparādhas to Haridās Thākur and Nityānanda Prabhu. (parokṣa anumodana) If they were afraid to stand up to him because he was in charge of the place then that was due to bodily consciousness.

Ajāmila did lots of nāmābhāsa before his death too, by calling his son Nārāyan, but that never destroyed his tendency to sin. Only his deliberate bhajan at Gangadwār after being freed by the Viṣṇudūtas purified him forever.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Meeting Līlā Dās

Rādhā-Govinda Nāth, C.C. Antya 3.87 - This verse resembles SB 10.14.38, which is spoken by Brahmā, who is again Haridās Thākur...

October 13, 2005

On the bank of the kund I meet my Guru-sister Līlā Dās; I never met her before. She joined about 3-4 years before me. She tells me how Bābā sat at the foot of the Bel-tree when the sky grew dark of rain-clouds. Bābā just stared at the sky and when the rain came down it showered all directions but would not fall within the āśram boundaries.

One time Bābā wanted to give dīkṣā to Līlā Di's younger brother at Rādhākuṇḍa, but his śiṣyas mistook the departure time of the train and Bābā missed it. He was furious. Līlā Di invited him to her home but he angrily said: " No I will stay here and wait." Finally he took the train back to Navadvip. He told her her daughters should sing for Madangopāl. They sang in her house while Bābā played the tablas.

On Rādhāṣṭamī day there was a big utsava in the āśram, with abhiṣekh, many invitees, getting the kolsis from the Ganga and big kirtan.

She confirms that Bābā used to do mauna and write on a slate.

When Līlā Di wanted to sponsor a feast in the āśram Bābā told her: " I am not anything like a Vaiṣṇava or a brāhmin, but I will invite others to partake of the feast."

October 12, 2005

For Dussera the Brajabasis treat me on puris, kacuris, halva and subji. I bring half of it to Rohini and Yadunath, who were themselves treated on puris, puas, khir and dahi, but even my half, with hot milk and cold coke, proves again too much for my stomach. A bad night follows.

Caitanya Candrāmṛta verse 16 does not imply that Mahāprabhu was chanting japa and coming and going to see Jagannath at the same time. Two separate activities may be described here.

October 11, 2005

Nirapekṣā, means, according to Rādhā-Govinda Nāth  CC Antya 3.23, that if a rich man comes to your door when you are doing sādhana, you don't interrupt your sādhana to speak to him.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Tīrtha-svarūpa and tilaka

October 9, 2005

Viśvanātha lectures on S.B 10.36.15, saying that Kṛṣṇa is called cakrī not because He wears a disc in His hand, but because He has one on His foot-sole. It removes all obstacles of the bhaktas.
He also says that each tīrtha has two svarūpas - jalamaya svarūpa (the visible liquid form) and deva/devīmaya svarūpa, the presiding god or goddess.

On the bank of the kuṇḍa I have iṣṭagoṣṭhi with Madanmohan. He says that in Caitanya Candrāmṛta Prabodhānanda Saraswatī wrote more verses like Rādhā-rasa Sudhānidhi 9, which warn against bhakta sanga. He also feels that mahābuddhaya in Rādhā-rasa Sudhānidhi verse 82 means ' highly intelligent', despite the socio-ritual ramifications. One can wear tilaka and neckbeads either for profit, adoration and distinction or out of obedience. Fact is that Bābā rarely wore tilak, though he had huge neck-beads. Also the words guror bhajana vikramāt, on the strength of the Guru's worship, are mysterious.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Racing on the bike / Haripriya / Rādhā-Govinda Nāth

I notice Rādhā-Govinda Nāth's svakīya vāda-blunder in his tika of CC Antya 1.81, where he claims that Mahāprabhu endorsed it by empowering Rūpa Gosvāmī to write Lalita Mādhava, in whose final act Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa get married. He completely overlooks that just a few verses earlier Mahāprabhu told Rūpa Goswāmī that Kṛṣṇa in Vraja and Kṛṣṇa in Dwārkā are separate persons and that the parakīya-Kṛṣṇa never leaves Vraja.

October 7Visvanātha says in the path that Mahāprabhu wanted to go to Vraja alone or with just one servant because with or in a crowd on cannot relish or realise the place.

Courtesy visit to Hari Priya Ma and Jay-kṛṣṇa Dās Bābā. Jay-kṛṣṇa Dās Bābā says the bindu in the kāma bīja stands for Goloka, because it is round like a planet (?). He also says that (Rādhā's) meghāmbara can mean many colors, not just śyāma blue, because autumn clouds are white f.i. (I don't necessarily support this. In Holland clouds are usually boring grey!) He does say one nice thing though - calling oneself narādhama, the lowest of men, is still proud because it leaves all animals plants and birds below you. The real humble thing to say is jīvādhama, the lowest of creatures. For the time being I won't say anything like that about myself, though.

Haripriyā says that Bābā gave her (mañjari svarūpa) a śyāma-complexion because she's more inclined towards Kṛṣṇa.

October 6
Two young bābājīs dig up a few buckets of Rādhākuṇḍa-clay from the bottom of the kuṇḍa and give me a full plastic bag of it. That will last me for years.

October 4
Going around Girirāja by bike is a gas! On the open road it's speedy, but in markets its quite an adventure to get through the crowds, especially without a bell to ring! If you say Rādhe Rādhe instead people just say Rādhe Rādhe back! Also to keep to the left must be remembered. In Govardhan town I sink wheel-deep into a sewage canal, but manage to stay clean myself. It takes about 75 minutes to complete a bike-parikramā.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

On the bike


Renting a bike in Rādhākund is cool! Its a gas to speed over the road to Govardhan, which I tread so many hundreds of times on foot in the past! Only be careful that the traffic is on the left of course. Blogs of past days -

October 3 -
Sūrya grahan

After 74 minutes of japa in a corner of my room where the sun doesnt enter, I take a loṭā-snāna at the kuṇḍ (I don't enter the water for health reasons and because Bābā also did not do it). There is a large crowd gathered to take a bath, Brajabāsīs and Bengalis alike. Its my first bath this trip. During the eclipse all the temples are closed but the Vaiṣṇavas are out and about.

Rādhā-govinda Nāth's CC

Rādhā-govinda Nāth suggests that Rāmānanda Ray, Svarūp Dāmodara, Śikhi Māhiti and his sister were considered 'Rādhikā's party' instead of Rūpa and Raghunātha because they preceded them historically (I don't necessarily support this).

He also says that Śivānanda Sen considered the dog a great Gaura bhakta who was on his way to see Gaura, like them, so he gave him full respect. On the strength of Vaiṣṇava saṅga Mahāprabhu took the dog to Him before even the Vaiṣṇavas arrived from Bengal.

October 2, 2005

Viśvanātha lectures brilliantly on uttar goṣṭha, precisely in time, at 4 pm, SB 10th canto chapter 35. 'Just as moss increases the beauty of a lotus flower in the water, the dust of Vraja beautifies Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet."

After path I meet Madanmohan Dās, whom I have known well for 12 years but ever met in the flesh. We have a nice iṣṭa-goṣṭhī on the bank of the kuṇḍa.

Rādhā-Govinda Nāth on CC Antya 2.12 - yogya bhakta means that only a heart purified by viśuddha sattva can be the receptacle of the Lord's empowerment.

Antya 2.5. The jīva uses its aṇu svātantrya, minute independence, in the material world to act whimsically, and its indepedence is eternal, so in the spiritual sky it can decide which flowers to string a garland of in mañjarī svarūpa. (I don't necessarily support this, but it sounds sweet)

Rādhā-Govinda Nāth says there's no question why the jīva has its minute independence, otherwise it could not be anādi, beginningless. (I do not necessarily support this)

Antya 13.7 Jagadānanda Pandit could not tolerate Mahāprabhu sleeping on the banana-leaf bed, hence he went to Vṛndāvana (Interesting, but also not necessarily true)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Sūrya grahaṇa

The panch announces the times of the upcoming sūrya grahana (solar eclipse) next monday. From 4.20 to 5.34 p.m. But, they say, all deity service must be completed by 4.20 a.m. Since I have just taken 10 days to recover from my jetlag I am not able to go through yet another vigil again, so I ask Amiya to take care of my Giridhārī for that occasion. He will do a vigil to complete his own deity service. I find interesting things in Rādhā-govinda Nāth's Caitanya Caritāmṛta. He says that though harināma is the yuga-dharma for Kali yuga, the name has its efficacy in all other yugas as well, because it is transcendental and thus eternal. It is the best thing to do in all yugas. But since the people of Kali-yuga are so low and uncontrolled it is the only way in which they can be saved, so that is why it is especially recommended for this age. The strongest medicine is needed.

Speaking of Kali, this is what Mahāprabhu says about today's weekend-sannyāsīs:

tabe śrīnivāsa tāra vṛttanta kohila;
yaiche sankalpa kori triveṇī praveśilā
śuni prabhu hāsi kohe suprasanna citte;

prakṛti darśana koile ei prāyaścitta


Then Śrīvāsa Pandit told Mahāprabhu that Choṭa Haridāsa had drowned himself in the Triveṇī. When Mahāprabhu heard that he was very satisfied and said: " This is the atonement for (a sannyāsī/vairāgī) looking at a woman (what to speak of going all the way with them)." (Caitanya Caritāmṛta Antya 3.162-163)

And for those who give up Vaiṣṇava-sanga for a beef-eating college professor there is this merciful advice of Svarup Dāmodara:

yāo bhāgavat poro vaiṣṇavera sthane;
ekānta āśray koro caitanya carane
caitanyer bhakta-ganer koro nitya sanga;

tabe to jānibe siddhānta samudra taranga


" Go and study the Bhāgavat from a Vaiṣṇava. Take exclusive shelter at Caitanya's lotus feet. Always associate with Caitanya's devotees, then you will know the waves in the ocean of our philosophy." (Caitanya Caritāmṛta Antya 5.123-124)

rasābhāsa hoy yadi siddhānta virodh;
sahite na pāre prabhu mone hoy krodha

"If there are mixed mellows or bogus philosophy the Lord cannot tolerate it but will get mentally angry."
(Caitanya Caritāmṛta)

Friday, September 30, 2005

Settling down, finally

Today, for the first time in 10 days, I could offer a warm meal to Giridhāri....

Rādhākuṇḍa, September 29, 2005

The Vrajbasis I stay with are cool. They have three little noisy kids and a TV though, so its sometimes kinda noisy, but they are very friendly. They grow very fragrant Karnikāra flowers in the garden - I stick them in Giridhārī's ears, as it should be, since the Bhāgavat says karnayoh karnikāram. In his book Prākṛta Rasa aranya chedini, Narasingha Swami quotes Bhaktisiddhanta as saying that the word dhīra in the final  Rāsa līlā verse means ṣaḍ-vega-jayi acañcalaḥ rāgānugā gosvāmī, which is allright, but he creates the impression that being dhīra (steady, calm) is a prerequisite of hearing Rāsa līlā, instead of the result of hearing Rāsa līlā  I dont know in which context Bhaktisiddhanta speaks like that, but the Caitanya Caritāmṛta Antya 5,44 clearly mentions the word dhira as a result of hearing the Rāsa līlā. tina guna ksobha nahi, mahā-dhīra hoy. Apart from all the twisted, unsupported and counterfeit arguments he presents, Narasingha does make a good point when he states that the ācārya is not materially omniscient, quoting from Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu that sarvajñata, or omniscience, is a quality of Śiva, which is unattainable for the jīvas.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Birthday




Today is my dīkṣā-anniversary, Advaitadās is 23 years old and still - Prabhu Sītānāth's only western kṛpā-pātra! Anup Gosāi arranged for a great feast - rice, 2 subjis, puris, kacauris, jilāpis and rāja-bhog. He also gives dakṣiṇā to everyone, while Dhruva Gosāi chants Klasien Okken ki jay! Finally some brahmin bhojan after all the stuff I ate so far!

I do some bhajan under the beautiful Advaita Vaṭ (Banyan) tree - (see images above) where else would Advaita Prabhu (who is Shiva) reside and worship?

I read Swāmī Narasiṁha's Āranya Chedinī, he quotes there the Sanskrit of ' better one moon than so many stars ' - ekaś candras tamo hanti na tārāḥ sahasrasaḥ.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Kīrtan at Śṛṅgāra Bat



The kīrtanīyas at Śṛṅgār Bat perform fine kīrtan for my mother's viraha utsava, memorial festival.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bhāratīya dina-pañji

Indian diary, Volume seventeen, part two

(For the first time online!)

VṚNDĀVANA -  Little sleep still to recover from 2 sleepless nights. Bhajan seems to go very well though, back in the holy dhama, by its grace. In the lounge of the Guest house I meet Dhanurdhara Swāmī. He is interested to know that many ' prominent' western rāgānugīs got into rāgānugā bhakti more due to academic pursuits than due to lobha, though some lobha must certainly be there.

The weather is warm and partly cloudy. In the afternoon I visit Kuśakratha Dās in the MVT to pay my respects. I have never met him. He is to depart soon and it can be seen on him too. He looks like an inmate of Auschwitz, totally emaciated, yet he is totally blissful and very friendly. He says he did not read my work. Because he can hardly speak due to throat cancer I don't want to tire him too much and take my leave.

Śītalā Dāsī tells me that throwing ashes into a holy river redeems the soul and she felt that strongly when she threw her father's ashes into the Yamunā.

With Dwarikanath Das I plan a trip to Navadwip via Bendel to celebrate Sādhu Bābā's birthday utsava,

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Śrīla Haridās Ṭhākur’s disappearance day


From Advaita Prakāśa –


eka dina haridāser mane cintā hoilo;
ek sthāne bahu din vāsa nahe bhālo
ālāp saṁsarge hoy māyār sambandha
krame saṁsār āsaktite jīv hoy andha
udāsīner dharma tāhe nā hoy rakhan
ataeva jana saṅga tyāg sarvottam


"One day Haridāsa thought to himself: “It is not good to stay in one place for a long time. One gets into small talk and develops false relationships. Then gradually one gets attached to material life or family life and the soul becomes blind. Then the life of a carefree renunciant cannot be maintained. Therefore the best is to live in solitude, outside of society.”

Monday, August 29, 2005

Klaziena Vraja gallery - her finest hours!

Some photos of my late mother in Vraja -

Vrindavan, Krishna Balaram Mandir, March 1986.
Kusum Sarovar, September 1988
Dhira Samira, Vrindavan September 1988

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A perfect departure.


Klaziena Margaretha Okken

Born Groningen February 4, 1922
Deceased Zoetermeer August 28, 2005

This morning I was mailed by my brother that my mother is terminal and my ex wife would come and pick me up by car to go and see her in her nursing home in Zoetermeer, one hours drive from Zeist. 

When we arrived at 11 a.m. there was a large group of relatives in her room, my own family and the family of my stepfather, about 8-9 people in total. I had always prayed that I could be present when my mother would leave her body, because she was the only member of my family who appreciated my spiritual life. Hours went by and she did not seem to have any intention of leaving her body. A few times my ex and me had her for ourselves, so we could do some chanting in her ear. I was glad to see her mouth was opened wide throughout the dying process, so she was expected to leave her body through her mouth - upwards! My ex was so smart to decorate her 'like a lady', with necklaces including a garland of Tulsī-beads. When my stepfather asked her what beads those were I gave her a bump as a hint not to tell him, so she gave an evasive answer. So far so good. The best was yet to come, because my deepest wish, to chant with her alone while she left her body, was to be fulfilled. After an exhausting 6 hours my relatives and my stepfather and his relatives all went to do different things at different places, and me and my ex were left all alone with her. We were singing hymns like rādhe kṛṣṇa rādhe kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa rādhe rādhe rādhe śyāma rādhe śyāma śyāma śyāma rādhe rādhe, sitting on either side of her. After a while the nurse came in and I decided to take a leak because it was now anyway impossible to keep chanting. When I came back my mother had deceased, but the nurse and my ex both told me that she deceased already when I was still there - all my desires fulfilled!As I realised what had happened, a mixture of feelings rushed through me - joy and sorrow at once, tears and laughter. Joy for being able to chant rādhā-kṛṣṇa nāma in my mother's ears and sorrow for losing her. I could imagine how Mahāprabhu felt when He experienced bhāva śābalya, a mixture of simultaneous contradicting feelings! 

After this my mother was bathed and dressed in clothes of my choice - a purple blouse and a black flower dress. She lay in state in such a majestic way, it was indescribable. A real lady. I feel deeply honoured and deeply loved that she chose to leave her body in my presence, with no one else around. I need to explain that my mother was not an ordinary person - though not a fulltime Vaiṣṇava, she was a member of the Theosophical society and had deep interest in spirituality, religion, art, history, politics and literature. She came to Vraja bhūmi twice, in 1986 and 1988 and each time she stayed for three weeks. She took a bath in Rādhākund and spontaneously bowed down before Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī's samādhi, without us telling her to do so. She never forgot the Vraja-experience either.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Nandotsava meditation


kalyānānāṁ nidhānaṁ kali-mala-mathanaṁ pāvanaṁ pāvanānāṁ
pātheyam yan mumukṣoḥ sapadi para-pada-prāptaye procyamānam
viśrāma-sthānam ekaṁ kavi-vara-vacasāṁ jīvanaṁ saj-janānām
bījaṁ dharma-drumasya prabhavatu bhavatam bhūtaye kṛṣṇa-nāma


"May Śrī Kṛṣṇa's blessed name, which is a reservoir of all joy and auspiciousness, the destruction of Kali-yuga's sins, the most purifying of all purifying things, the saint's food as he traverses the path to the spiritual sky, the pleasure-garden where the voices of the greatest saints, philosophers, and poets play, the life of the righteous, and the seed of the tree of religion, bring divine auspiciousness to you all."

Quoted by Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī in Padyāvalī, verse 19

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Unclear text in Vilāpa Kusumāñjali

I received a question about a few sentences in my Vilāpa Kusumāñjali translation of verse nr. 50, page 200. The text runs:

"The mañjarīs are love personified. What to speak of the kiṅkarīs, the whole of Vraja-dhāma is the kingdom of love, therefore ...."

What is really meant here is -

 'The kiṅkarī is the embodiment of love herself.' Next sentence: 'Not only Rādhā's maidservants are love personified, the whole abode of Braja is the kingdom of love divine.'

I suppose that is a bit clearer.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Śrī Rādhikā travels to Barsāṇā - Śrāvan Pūrṇimā


TODAY IS JHULAN PŪRṆIMĀ. ŚRĪ RĀDHIKĀ TRAVELS TO BARṢĀNĀ

AS IN VILĀPA KUSUMĀÑJALI, VERSE 88:

BHRĀTRĀ GO'YUTAM ATRA MAÑJU-VADANE SNEHENA DATTVĀLAYAM
ŚRĪDĀMNĀ KṚPAṆĀṀ PRATOṢYA JAṬILĀṀ RAKṢĀKHYA RĀKĀ-KṢAṆE
NĪTĀYĀḤ SUKHA ŚOKA RODANA BHARAIS TE SAṀDRAVANTYĀḤ PARAM
VĀTSALYĀJ JANAKAU VIDHĀSYATA ITAḤ KIṀ LĀLANAṀ ME'GRATAḤ

bhrātrā - by Your brother; go - cows; ayutam - ten thousand; atra - there; mañju - beautiful; vadane - face (fem.); snehena - with affection; dattvā - having given; ālayam - the abode; śrīdāmnā - by Śrīdāma; kṛpaṇām - to the miser; pratoṣya - for satisfying; jaṭilāṁ - to Jaṭilā; rakṣa ākhya - known as Rakṣa; rākā - full moon; kṣaṇe - moment; nītāyāḥ - taken; sukha - happiness; śoka - sorrow; rodana - crying; bharaiḥ - with abundance; te - Your; saṁdravantyāḥ - melting; param - greatest; vātsalyāt - out of love; janakau - parents; vidhāsyata - will do; itaḥ - here; kiṁ - whether; lālanaṁ - fondling; me - of me; agrataḥ - before.


O Mañju-vadane (fair-faced girl)! On the full moon day of Śrāvaṇa (August) named Rakṣa Pūrṇima Your brother Śrīdāma comes to Yāvata with ten thousand cows to satisfy the greedy Jaṭilā before affectionately taking You along to Varṣānā, where Your parents lovingly fondle You in front of me as You melt with weeping from happiness and sorrow.


(Note by editor: Rakṣa Pūrṇimā is an auspicious family festival in India, during which brothers and sisters swear protection to each other by binding a decorating string around each other’s wrists)

Commentary by Śrīla Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī: Śrīdāma-Candra is called bhagini vatsala, he who is very fond of his sister. One day before this auspicious event Śrīdāma goes to Yāvata, the abode of Śrī Rādhikā's mother-in-law Jaṭilā. Eager to satisfy Jaṭilā, who is very miserly, and does not want to let his sister go, Śrīdāma asks her: "What do you want as a gift?" Jaṭilā is very greedy and demands cows, so he gives her ten-thousand cows just to appease her. In this way he can take his sister along. All this is arranged to facilitate Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes - in Śrī Rādhikā's parental home there is less control over Her than in Yāvaṭa. There it is easier for Śrī Rādhikā to go out to meet Kṛṣṇa. Rādhikā’s father and mother are staring down the pathway for their daughter to come. When Svāminī arrives mother and father bless Her so affectionately! Svāminī cries of happiness and sorrow. Happiness because of coming back home and sorrow because of Her long stay at Her in-laws' abode. Svāminī melts at the bosom of Her mother Kīrtidā, as if She merges with her and weeps, saying with choked voice: "Just forget about Me, ma!" Kīrtidā-Mā sobs: "Can I ever forget You?" Mother Kīrtidā’s chest is inundated with tears. Svāminī is vraja go gopa gopālī jīva mātraika jīvanam: (Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī's '108 names of Rādhikā) the very life of the cows, cowherders, cowherdwomen - nay, of all creatures of Vraja! How much then isn't She the life of the life of Her mother, who is the very form of parental love?! Tulasī prays: “It is my strong desire to see Your father and mother give You so much affection and love.” How close are the maidservants to Svāminī!  Unless She accepts you this cannot be understood.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda's viraha tithi

Disappearance day of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda

śrī caitanya mano'bhīṣṭam sthāpitaṁ yena bhū-tale
so'yam rūpa kadā mahyam dadāti sva padāntikam

"When will that Rūpa, who came to establish Śrī Caitanya's heart's desire on the earth,
grant me a place at his lotus feet?"

(Prema Bhakti Candrikā, Narottam Thakur, verse 2)

Jhulan Time


Jhulan means Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are enjoying on the swing. The Vrajavāsīs celebrate it on the 12 days preceding the full moon in Śrāvan (August), the Bengalis from Ekādaśī to Pūrṇimā - 5 days, this year 4 days from August 16 to August 19.

The above picture shows this year's Jhulan at Rādhākuṇḍ, in the Rādhābinod Mandir of Prānkṛṣṇa Dās Bābājī...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Sādhu Bābā


Sādhu Bābā
comes over to blogspot.com!