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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.

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