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Monday, December 25, 2006

Compassion - astonishing bliss

I recently found another very noteworthy commentary on Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, that I forgot to include in the blog reviewing its section. Verse 2.5.105 describes the incomparible bliss the devotee feels when he perceives the happiness of others. Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments: sva-para bhedenānirṇaye'pi sati yadā parakīya duhkādayaḥ svīyatiyā sphuranto'pi te prauḍhānanda camatkāra carvanām eva tanvate prakāśayanti : "Two verses (105-6) describe another facet of rati's incomprehensibility. When the suffering of other persons become the devotee's own suffering by not distinguishing himself from the character in the drama or poetic work, that suffering also produces a taste of astonishing bliss."

Then he quotes SB 2.2.27: "In that planet Satyaloka, there is neither bereavement, nor old age nor death. There is no pain of any kind, and therefore there are no anxieties, save that sometimes, due to consciousness, there is a feeling of compassion for those unaware of the process of devotional service, and who are subjected to unsurpassable miseries in the material world."

Visvanātha: "There is no fear or suffering except for suffering from the heart, because there is a feeling of compassion for the endless suffering of saṁsāra of those who do not know about bhakti. But that display of suffering, which arises in the hearts of the śānta bhaktas in Lord Brahmā's assembly in Satyaloka, for those caught in samsāra, also reveals deep bliss."

Then he quotes Prahlāda (SB 7.9.44): 'My dear Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the Himalayas or the forest to meditate with vows of silence. They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated alone....."

Later, Viśvanātha continues: "As well in the Ninth Canto, Rantideva is famous for his desire to deliver others from suffering. Therefore the appearance of unhappiness in the hearts of these devotees is actually a form of the highest bliss, not a direct experience of suffering, because it is an established fact that the cause of material suffering is previous and present commission of sin. Where is the question of sin for these devotees, by remembrance of whom others become free from sin?" To illustrate, he quotes SB 1.19.33 "Simply by remembering you, our houses become instantly sanctified......"

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, the northern section.


In the fourth and final quarter of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda discusses the 7 secondary rasas, like pity, anger, disgust and so. There are very few purports, Viśvanātha Cakravartī's ones have already ceased for some time by now. His last ṭīkā was at 3.3.128.

In the fifth wave of the northern sector the sub-rasa of anger, raudra-rasa, is discussed. Some interesting verses here: 4.5.7: "Except for the strong Govardhana Malla (husband of Candravalī) all the inhabitants of Vraja possess the highest stage of rati for Govinda." Jīva Gosvāmī comments: "Govardhana was only the apparent husband of Candrāvalī. He was somewhat notorious as a cowherd of Kamsa, who came to live in Vraja as a stranger. Therefore, he is excluded from being a devotee in this verse....." As far as I remember this is also the only verse which was excluded in the Nectar of Devotion.

Another odd one comes just two verses later: "Those who are responsible for protecting Kṛṣṇa but, because of being absorbed in some service, become careless in their duties are called anavahita (inattentive)." Jīva Gosvāmī comments: "In protecting Kṛṣṇa,  sometimes a devotee becomes inattentive by mental confusion, caused by his absorption in a bhāva relating to Kṛṣṇa.  The devotee cannot put aside that state even though it is extremely detrimental for himself and Kṛṣṇa. This person is called inattentive."

Chapter 8 of the northern section distinguishes friendly from inimical rasas.
Verse 4.8.48 says: "However, the primary rasa for a particular devotee, which manifests in the heart of a devotee by the power of beginningless previous experiences, does not disappear, as the vyabhicārī bhāvas or secondary rasas do." In his ṭīkā, Jīva Gosvāmī writes: anādīty upalakṣaṇaṁ pūrva-siddhatve tātparyam. sañcāri gauṇavad iti vyatireke dṛṣṭāntaḥ yathā sañcāri-gauṇo līno bhavati tathā na mukhyo līno bhavatītyarthaḥ sañcārīvad gauṇavacca netyarthaḥ
Bhānu Swāmī translates: "The word anādi (without beginning) is indicatory only (the Monier Williams dictionary says for the word upalakṣaṇa: "The act of implying something that has not been expressed, implying any analogous object where only one is specified; using a term metaphorically or elliptically or in a generic sense. Jīva often uses the word upalakṣaṇa to indicate the presence of non-literalism, Advaitadas).
Bhānu Swāmī adds, between brackets, "It represents the condition of the eternal associates, but the principle should also apply to those who have achieved a primary rasa by sādhana as well." Bhānu Swāmī then continues the official ṭīkā-translation:"Thus anādi indicates only that the primary rasa has been previously firmly established. It is not like the vyābhicārī bhāvas or secondary rasas. This comparison is used to indicate the difference of the main rasa in the devotee from the others. Though the vyābhicārī bhāvas and secondary rasas disappear, the main primary rasa does not."

The last chapter, 9, deals with rasābhāsa, a semblance of rasa, or just plain 'bad taste'.

In his commentary to verse 18 Jīva Gosvāmī shows that a pratiloma love (high-class girl with low-class boy) is considered bad taste even in the transcendental kingdom of rasa. It is for this reason that the wives of the sacrificing brahmins ultimately failed to get intimate with Kṛṣṇa. vaidagdhyādivirahaityupalakṣaṇaṁ gurutvādīnām, yathā yajñapatnyādiṣu vairūpyam matam.

Concluding: Bhānu Swāmī's translation of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu is the first and only comprehensive English translation because, apart from all the exact verse-translations it also contains all the commentaries and is very accurately and sincerely done. It is also a very honest translation and will make clear, more than any of its English predecessors, perhaps along with Bon Mahārāja's edition, what Rūpa Gosvāmī's purpose was for writing the book.

Thus ends the review of the northern section and thereby of the entire Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu. Edited December 21, 2006 22.10 CET.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Primary Bhakti Rasas


Turning to the second volume of Bhānu Swāmī's Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu translation we come to the western section, that describes the 5 main sthāyi bhāvas, starting with śānta rati.

In the śānta rati chapter is an interesting ṭīkā of Jīva Gosvāmī's to verse 3.1.44, where he mentions mauṇḍya (shaving the head) as a rejectable item of advaita-vādī-practise. Funny that now nearly all Vaiṣṇava ascetics and even gṛhasthas have adopted this shaven head practise...

Chapter 2: Prīti bhakti rasa (dāsya rasa)

Analysing the word 'dāsa' in his ṭīkā to verse 3.2.16, Jīva Gosvāmī reminds us that there is a verb called dās (also mentioned in Vilāpa Kusumānjali) which means 'to give'. The dāsas are those to whom desired results are given by the mercy of the Lord....

Verse 3.2.62 is the famous verse that describes how Dāruka condemned the bliss he felt when he fanned Kṛṣṇa. Jīva Gosvāmī comments "He did not welcome the increase of paralysis in his limbs due to prema." Prema has two qualities: stambha and other symptoms, and the desire to please the Lord. The servants cherish the desire to please the Lord, because this fulfills their goal of serving the Lord. They are not attached to the symptoms of paralysis because this can become an obstacle to service. Thus Dāruka did not welcome prema in its portion which causes paralysis, but he did welcome that part of prema which causes pleasure to the Lord.....

In BRS 3.2.160-161 Jīva Gosvāmī says about the servants: "It is not absolutely forbidden that they do not hear Kṛṣṇa's private talks, but they are checked from understanding the sentiments present in those conversations."

Chapter 3, Preyo bhakti rasa (sakhya rasa):

Both Jīva and Viśvanātha have written long ṭīkās to verse 3.3.128, which deals with prakaṭa and aprakaṭa līlā. Jīva Gosvāmī writes: "In the earthly pastimes however occasionally the Lord leaves Vraja and goes to other places. Thus the various bhāvas of the Lord along with His associates exhibited during His earthly pastimes, associated with the particular earthly pastimes, will also be occasional (and different from those in the eternal pastimes). Because of the differences in manifestation of these earthly pastimes from the eternal pastimes, Kṛṣṇa and His devotees during the earthly pastimes will take up identities different from their identities in the eternal pastimes, by the arrangement of the līlā-śakti. It is similar to Kṛṣṇa manifesting different identities for each Queen when He married sixteen thousand maidens."

In the important verse 3.5.2 -
nivṛttānupayogitvād durūhatvād ayaṁ rasaḥ
rahasyatvāc ca saṅkṣipya vitatāṅgo vilikhyate 

Jiva Gosvami comments nivṛtteṣu prākṛta śṛṅgāra rasa sāmya dṛṣṭvyā bhāgavatād apy asmād rasād virakteṣv anupayogitvad ayogyatvāt - "nivṛttas (those who are unattached to mādhurya rasa) are unqualified because they cannot understand that the Lord has such amorous feelings as well. They see it as being the same." The three other, Bengali, translations, from Caitanya Maṭh and Kuñja-bihāri dās Bābājī, say that 'non-devotee ascetics cannot appreciate mādhurya rasa, thinking it is mundane' . Frankly speaking, the word ' ascetics' is not mentioned in either Jīva's or Viśvanātha's ṭīkā, and Bhānu Swāmī may well be correct in his translation of just 'unattached'. If anyone knows where the other three translators got the 'ascetics' -idea from, please react.

Here ends the review of the western section.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Xerox suspension


I am sorry to announce that distribution of non-published (spiral-bound, photocopied) books will be suspended with immediate effect, for an indefinite period. My regular copyshop has hiked the prices considerably, they want to charge per 250-page box instead of per 2500 page-batch, a price hike of 50-60% into a much higher price scale, and the only other copyshop in town has given up after processing one single batch, their hardware has a problem with the paper. Those who visit Radhakund may get their copies from Yugalkishor Das. Remember: 1. The published books will remain available from me as always, and 2. The xerox books can still be obtained from me, but at much higher prices. This was beyond my control, apologies.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

sāttvika, vyābhicārī and sthāyi bhāvas


Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu: sāttvika, vyābhicārī and sthāyi bhāvas

In this final installment of the review of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu's first volume (the 2nd, southern sector), the last 3 chapters, dealing with sāttvika, vyābhicārī and sthāyi bhāvas.

At this stage Bhānu Swāmi starts skipping ṭīkās but I am fairly confident that he has incorporated them into the flowing verse translation. I have not checked it, frankly. The ṭīkās he skips are very short. Jīva's  ṭīkā  to the verse on stambha (2.3.21) is interesting. Stambha, or ecstatic paralysis means: "There is inactivity of the action senses and there is also inaction of the functioning of knowledge-gathering senses as well. There is, however, operation of the mind. This state differs from pralaya or fainting, in which there is no operation even of the mind because of disappearance of all functions."

In his ṭīkā to verse 2.3.30, Jīva Goswāmī says of the gopīs' husbands (quoting SB 10.33.37 nāsūyan khalu kṛṣṇāya): māyā-nirmita-tat-pratikṛter eva patir  'According to this hint, it should be accepted that Abhimanyu was a creation of the Lord's māyā, in the likeness of a husband."

I always felt it a bit awkward to read descriptions of Abhimanyu actually playing any role at all in the direct līlā though such a description is there too in Rūpa Gosvāmī's Vidagdha Mādhava. A bit mysterious.

Verse 54 is also quoted in Caitanya Caritāmṛta, and describes Rukmiṇī condemning the bliss that caused her eyes to fill with tears so that she could not see Kṛṣṇa. Jīva Goswāmī comments: "Here, ānanda is criticised because of the flow of her tears arising from bliss. However, it should be understood that ānanda itself is not actually criticised."

Verse 89 is sometimes quoted to describe sahajiyās (cheap sentimentalists). I am used to the word picchila in the verse being translated as 'slippery', as in sentimental, and that is also how Monier-Williams and Capeller translate it, but Bhānu Swāmī translates it as 'hard'. Habermann calls it 'insensitive' and Jīva calls it upari ślatham antaḥ kaṭhinam picchilam.... 'picchila means externally soft or slimy but internally hard."A similar glossary-confusion exists over the word sañcārī, the subject of the following, fourth, chapter: Bhānu Swāmī says:"Since they set in motion (sañcārayanti) the course of the sthāyi bhāva, they are called sañcārī bhāva." Habermann says:"they cause Foundational Emotions to vary". Viśvanātha Cakravartī should, among them, get the final word. He writes in his ṭīkā:"...vi stands for viśeṣa (special), abhi for abhimukhya and cāra for caranti. Thus it means those bhāvas which move (caranti) against the sthāyi bhāva while nourishing it in a special way (viśeṣena abhimukhyena) and are known by words, bodily movements and qualities of the mind (sattva). These bhāvas are also called sañcārī bhāvas....."

About moha, defined by Rūpa Gosvāmī in verse 2.4.98, Jīva comments: "When the devotees of the Lord develop moha they are still conscious of Kṛṣṇa, because without Him as their shelter, their various emotional states cannot exist." He then quotes SB 10.12.44: tat smāritānanta hṛtākhilendriyaḥ 'Śukadeva, immediately remembering subject matters about Kṛṣṇa within the core of his heart, externally lost contact with the actions of his senses." Jīva continues: "When the lack of external awareness becomes most prominent the state is called pralaya (sāttvika bhāva). When the lack of internal functions becomes prominent it is called moha. Thus in the definition of moha it was said hṛn-mūḍhatā, lack of awareness internally. mūḍha means a swoon or lack of consciousness. hṛt means internal. The meaning of this state of moha can be derived from the meaning of the roots."

A similar fascinating swap of consciousness is explained further on, in verse 2.4.176: "The state just previous to extinguishing of consciousness, in which there is the appearance of Kṛṣṇa without particular pastimes, is called nidrā for the devotees." Jīva Gosvāmī comments: "nidrā has been described as absence of external consciousness. This is normally the state of consciousness under the influence of the mode of ignorance, which is not possible for the highest devotees, since their consciousness is beyond the modes of nature. Why then do they have this state of nidrā? This verse answers. This state of nidrā is a state of concentration on the Lord found in the highest devotees of Kṛṣṇa (it reminds me of the phrase 'svapne rādhā-kṛṣṇa dekhe', in a Bengali song, "the Gosvāmīs saw Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa even in dreams.") It is not a material state of sleep. This is a state beyond the modes. The Garuda Purāna says:

jāgrat svapna suṣupteṣu yogasthasya ca yoginaḥ
yā kācin manaso vṛttiḥ sā bhaved acyutāśrayā 

"All the states of mind - waking, sleeping and dreaming - of the practising yogī take shelter of Acyuta."

Thus the state previous to extinguishing external consciousness in which there is a vision of Kṛṣṇa is called nidrā, not simply extinguishing consciousness....."

In the end of the chapter on vyābhicārī bhāvas (2.4), Rūpa Gosvāmī discusses receptiveness of the individual, saying: "Softness is of three degrees: like bee's wax, butter and nectar. In relation to these, bhāva is like the heat of the sun."The last paragraph of Jīva Gosvāmī's lengthy comment is fascinating: "Thunderbolt, gold and lac are used to explain the phenomenon of becoming liquid (receptive) to various degrees. The person hard like a thunderbolt is completely hostile to Kṛṣṇa. The person who is hard like gold has equal amounts of hostility and affection for the Lord. The person who is hard like lac is affectionate with a slight tinge of hostility. On the other hand, bee's wax, butter and nectar indicate three degrees of softness in affectionate devotees, who are respectively immature, moderate or advanced in their devotion....."

The fifth and last chapter of the first volume, and of the southern section, deals with sthāyi bhāva. In his commentary to verse 97, Jīva asks: "So, is there then no necessity of relishing poetic works for realising these bhāvas?" This verse answers. The taste will develop simply by a little hearing. Joy and sorrow arise invariably in people who are capable of experiencing joy and sorrow. Poetry and drama are easily appreciated by all. Spiritual taste with deep realisation can thus arise through poetry and drama. There are famous examples, such as Hanumān constantly hearing Rāmāyāna, Parīkṣit's testimony etc. Parīkṣit said: "Because of my vow on the verge of death, I have given up even drinking water, yet because I am drinking the nectar of topics about Kṛṣṇa, which is flowing from the lotus-mouth of your Lordship, my hunger and thirst, which are extremely difficult to bear, cannot hinder me." (SB 10.1.13) He also quotes the famous tava kathāmṛtam verse spoken by the gopīs in the Gopī Gīta (S.B. 10.31.9). One may rhetorically ask: "Then, without hearing poetic works, one cannot develop realization of the elements of rasa?" The answer is given. Among the causes, the strength of rati previously described is the real cause of attaining realization of vibhāva and other elements."

Further on in the chapter we find the fascinating description of sādhāranīkaraṇa, identification of the audience with the players of a drama. Verse 2.5.101 says: "Since the activities of rasa are by nature non-material, they are difficult to understand. The various ratis and other elements create a complete identity between the emotions of the contemporary devotee with previous devotees depicted in scripture." Śrī Jīva quotes Sāhitya darpan-verses in his comment to illustrate this point: "The actions of the elements such as vibhāva create total identity of the present devotee with the ancient devotee. By that identification the devotee plunges into the ocean experienced by previous devotees and there is an awakening of utsāha and other bhāvas with an experience identical to that of the ancient devotees. No man at all is condemned for entering that ocean. rati and other elements appear identical to those of the previous devotees. In tasting rati there is no distinction of vibhāva and the other elements of the previous persons and persons of the present time." The example of plunging in the ocean is given to show, from the normal perspective, that there should be no fear or shame at accruing for oneself rati and the other elements, and there should be no joy in identifiying with others' material emotions."

Viśvanātha Cakravartī's comment to this verse is famous: "Hearing during a recitation of Rāmāyana how Hanumān jumped over the ocean, sometimes a sympathetic devotee, absorbed in that mood, giving up all shyness, jumps up amidst the hearers in order to cross the ocean. Or in a drama, sometimes an actor taking the role of Daśaratha, on hearing that Rāma went to the forest, absorbed in the mood of Daśaratha, also gave up his life."

Verse 2.5.107: "However, it is correct when the literary experts say that rati depicted in characters through literary works will not in itself produce rasa, since mundane aspects are involved." Jīva Gosvāmī writes a long tīkā to this, saying that rasa is caused by the audience. the end of the tīkā is interesting: kintu lokātītānanta gunāḥ śrī rāma-sītādayo'pi yan nijānukāryādiṣu praveśyante tattva-yuktam eveti bhāvaḥ. tayoḥ kartṛ vaktrer yadi savāsanatvam syāt tadā teṣāṁ vā kathaṁ na syād... "This does not apply however to depicting characters such as Rāma and Sītā, who are full of unlimited qualities and who enter into the depicted characters. If the actors or reciters also have full sympathy with the portrayed character, they can also cause rasa."

This does hint that a good Rāsa-līlā performance, like the ones they perform in Vṛndāvan in Phālgun and Śrāvaṇa, should create rasa.

Sanātan Gosvāmī's point of separation being a higher bliss than union is also found in BRS 2.5.109 - "In separation, this rati develops its full form of rasa in astonishing bliss, and since it does not give up this form at all, any sufferings is an appearance only."

Jīva Gosvāmī comments: But how will these devotees experience rasa in the pain of separation, since rasa should be most blissful? This verse answers. It is a transformation of astonishing bliss because it is the essence of the highest bliss, and because it has its cause in Bhagavān who is the source of all bliss. It is called only an appearance of the greatest suffering because there is a superimposition of suffering on rati, caused by awareness of separation from the Lord. This suffering acts as a cause for further rati. As well, it disappears with the hope of attaining Kṛṣṇa permanently. vivarta (transformation) here means that the rasa develops its full form.The cause of rati not giving up its nature is mentioned: it is ūrjitā (strong). Because the rati (attraction for the Lord) is strong, it does not give up hope of attaining Kṛṣṇa. It is not possible for it to do so." Jīva then quotes SB 11.8.44 and 10.47.47 to illustrate his point.

Verse 2.5.118 gives a fascinating list of colours that match with the twelve rasas, especially Bhānu Swāmī's translations of the colours: śyāma colour he translates as 'indigo'. That I could never think of that in all the books I have translated!! Indigo by the way is almost the same word as Indīvara, a lotus flower with the same śyāma-colour as Kṛṣṇa. Coincidence? śyāma is the colour of madhura rasa. aruṇa is translated as 'orange', which also sounds similar to aruṇa. Problem is that no dictionary gives such a translation of aruṇa. It is mostly translated as tawny, red or brown. Jīva Gosvāmī comments: "In this verse the colours are assigned according to poetic conventions such as assigning the colour white to fame."

The following verse then ascribes different avatāras to the 12 rasas, of which surprisingly Narasiṁha is not the deity of bhayānaka (fear) but of vātsalya (parental love).

Then finally there is the famous verse about bhāvollāsa rati, 2.5.128, on which Jīva Gosvāmī comments that, despite it all, rati directed towards Rādhā is still a sañcārī bhāva. To my knowledge Kunjabihāri dās Bābājī came to the conclusion in his 'Manjari svarūpa nirupana' that mañjarī bhāva is actually a sthāyi bhāva.... Jīva in Bhanu's words: "This statement has been written here at the end of the topic of sañcārī bhāvas or vyabhicārī bhāvas, since it belongs to the same topic." ....tatrāpi puṣyamānā santatābhiniveśena saṁvarddhamānā syāt tadā sañcāritve'pivaiśiṣṭyāpekṣayā bhāvollāsākhyo bhāva īrṣyata iti; tad idam tvatrānusmṛtya likhitam api sañcārinām ante yojanīyaṁ tatraiva sajātīyatvāt


Thus ends the review of chapters 3, 4 and 5 of the southern sector of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, dealing with sāttvika, vyābhicārī and sthāyi bhāvas.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

vibhāva and anubhāva


Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, second, southern sector: 'Defining the components of rasa'

This sector is subdivided in five waves: vibhāva, anubhāva, sāttvika, vyābhicārī and sthāyi bhāvas.

The first chapter is huge, 384 verses, but there are hardly any comments on it, probably because the points and their illustrations are simple and obvious. In this way the review of a lengthy chapter remains relatively short. In sharp contrast to the huge vibhāva chapter, the following chapter, dealing with anubhāva, is only 21 verses long and requires no separate review. This blog reviews chapters 1 and 2, but actually only really chapter 1.

Jīva interestingly comments on verse 2.1.5 that "rati is an inclusive term, indicating as well prema, praṇaya and other stages up to mahābhāva. That is because of rati's extraordinary form." That means we must read carefully what Rūpa Gosvāmī means each time he uses the word rati, and especially peruse Jīva Gosvāmī's ṭīkās to such verses. In the next verse Jīva comments: "Even though there are impressions in this life for giving rise to rasa from the presence of rati in this life, it is necessary to seek out impressions from previous lives as well to explain the occurrence of rasa. This distinction between past life experiences of rati and present life experiences applies to those persons subject to disappearance (and not the nitya siddhas). This is the rule for most cases discussed in the book. The import is that rati has to be intense for bhakti rasa to appear."

Verses 2.1.7-10 are often quoted as 'adhikāra for relishing bhakti rasa in a nutshell." Jīva Gosvāmī's commentary is interesting: "Four verses explain the role of sādhana, the assisting factors, and the way in which rasa appears. The description of sādhana ends with the eighth verse. The assisting factors are the two saṁskāras, past and present life impressions of bhakti, mentioned after that (saṁskāra yugalojjvalā). The way in which rasa develops is explained starting from the second half of verse nine (niyamānā tu rasyatām). After being purified of all faults, a person becomes eligible for the appearance of śuddha sattva viśeṣa (hlādinī), indicated by the word prasanna (joyous). By that, he becomes equipped with all knowledge (samvit), indicated by the word ujjvala (bright). gatair anubhavādhvani (within the path of spiritual realisation) means that the ingredients of rasa such as vibhāva are dependent only on spiritual realisation, not on being an expert poet, as is the case with material rasa.

In his comment to verse 160, Jīva says: kavi samayānusārena narma-mayam eva na tu vastutaḥ "This is a playful image according to poetic usage, rather than a description of actual events." Another reminder that śāstra can be either poetry or literalism. (We must of course take care to follow the ācāryas' comments to separate fact from poetry).

In verse 188, Jīva reveals that the famous five types of suffering we have learnt of in Mādhurya Kādambinī, namely avidyā, asmitā, rāga, dveṣa and abhiniveśa (which Bhānu Swāmī translates as 'clinging to life'), originate from the Yoga-sūtra of Patañjali (2.3).

In verse 246 Rūpa Gosvāmī quotes from the Vaiṣṇava Tantra that Kṛṣṇa is without the 18 faults, and lists these 18 faults in the following two verses, but Jīva Gosvāmī comments there: "These same bad qualities are considered good qualities in Kṛṣṇa in relation to the devotees' prema." Then he shows that Kṛṣṇa's moha takes place when He loses the calves and the boys in the Brahma vimohan lila (SB 10.13.16). Sleep is illustrated in 10.15.16 where Kṛṣṇa falls asleep after fighting with the boys, error (bhrama) takes place in S.B. 10.8.22 where Kṛṣṇa as a toddler follows other people instead of His mother, fickleness (lolatā) becomes a virtue described in 10.8.29 which gives a long list of Kṛṣṇa's fickle pranks, intoxication (mada) is shown in 10.35.24 where Kṛṣṇa's eyes 'roll slightly as if from intoxication while respectfully greeting His friends", envy (mātsarya) is illustrated in 10.25.16, in which Kṛṣṇa challenges the raingod Indra, Kṛṣṇa lies to his mother in 10.8.35, where he flatly denies having eaten clay, anger (krodha) is displayed in 10.9.4 where Kṛṣṇa stops mother Yaśodā from churning butter, worry (āśaṅkā) is displayed when Kṛṣṇa lost the calves and boys to Brahmā in S.B. 10.13.17, prejudice (cronyism or viṣamatvam) when Kṛṣṇa declared in Bhagavad Gītā 9.29 that, although he is equal to all, he still favors His devotees, and dependency on others (parāpekṣā) takes place when He declares in S.B. 9.4.63 ahaṁ bhaktāparādhīno, that he is controlled by His devotees. Therefore it is said in the Bhāgavata (10.77.31): 'How can lamentation, bewilderment, material affection or fear, all born out of ignorance, be ascribed to the infinite Supreme Lord, whose perception, knowledge and power are all similarly infinite?"

Verse 305 and comment are fascinating. The verse reads: 'Though these bodily qualities are included in Kṛṣṇa's svarūpa, accepting them as separate from the svarūpa,  they are called uddīpanas (incitements)." Jīva's commentary: "Because they are qualities of the svarūpa,  they are included in the svarūpa (gunāh svarūpam). But the qualities are also accepted as different. When one thinks that Kṛṣṇa has a beautiful body, then the beautiful body is the ālambana with the emphasis on Kṛṣṇa.  But when we think of the beauty of the body of Kṛṣṇa,  the emphasis is on the beauty, which becomes uddīpana." Another wonderful way to experience acintya bhedābheda.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Prema Bhakti


Prema bhakti

Fourth and final chapter of the eastern sector of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu

This may well be the shortest chapter in the whole book (21 verses only), though it describes the highest goal of life. Of course, there are three more sectors in the book coming up, so no lack of explanation of prema prayojana.

Viśvanātha Cakravartī makes an impressive opening comment to the chapter, 1.4.1, which I will quote (almost) in its entirety: "A doubt now arises: If bhāva is the cause of prema, and if it transforms itself into prema, it is called the material cause of prema according to Sankhya philosophy. Then bhāva must give up its previous state and transform into prema. The effect cannot exist independently of the cause. It is similar to raw liquid sugar, which gives up its first state and becomes solid raw sugar. When the solid raw sugar appears, the raw liquid sugar no longer has a separate existence. The solid raw sugar then becomes white sugar, and then refined sugar. When the refined sugar exists, then liquid raw sugar, solid raw sugar and white sugar no longer exist. In this case also, bhāva becomes prema, and thus bhāva should no longer exist. When prema becomes sneha and sneha becomes rāga, then prema and sneha should both disappear, and only rāga should remain. Moreover, if the highest state of mahā-bhāva appears in Rādhā and others, then all the previous states should disappear. This is not true. bhāva becomes prema without giving up its previous state, because of the acintya śakti present in rati, prema, sneha, rāga, māna, pranaya, anurāga and mahābhāva, which are the supreme transformations of the hlādinī śakti. Thus, bhāva exists separately from prema. An example is given: The bālya body of Kṛṣṇa attains a little more sweetness and attains the paugaṇḍa state, but without giving up the bālya state. The paugaṇḍa body then attains more excellence and becomes the kaiśora body, without giving up the previous condition...... This is because all the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa during all His ages with all His bodies are eternal. When Kṛṣṇa enters His paugaṇḍa body, the bālya body disappears, and then appears in the universe in which His bālya pastimes are about to begin. The bālya body appears wherever the bālya pastimes begin, in the Vṛndāvana within a particular universe......among those who have bhāva prema and sthāyi bhāvas, when a particular sthāyi bhāva appears in a devotee under particular conditions or causes, one should understand that the older bhāvas are present in the devotee, but in unmanifest forms (they are not destroyed). Similarly, among material persons who have anger, lust and other emotions, when one emotion among them surfaces, the others still exist, but in the form of impressions.

Verses 6 and 7-8 then again patiently show that bhāva occurs in a parallel manner in both vaidhi (verse 6, the famous Bhāgavat verse evam vratah sva priya nāma kīrtya), and in verse 7-8,about the celibate girl Candrakānti. Jīva Gosvāmī comments on verse 6: "By following the rules of vaidhi sādhana bhakti, vaidha bhāva appears. From that vaidha bhāva appears a corresponding prema."

The end of Jīva Gosvāmī's ṭīkā to the famous 'ādau śraddhā' verses (1.4.15-16) is interesting too. He calls niṣṭhā 'continuous bhakti without confusion', ruci 'desire for the Lord, but with direction by the intellect', and āsakti 'desire which is natural or spontaneous (without intellectual direction)."

Thus ends the review of the fourth chapter of the Eastern sector of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, and with it of the entire eastern sector, describing the types of bhakti.

Friday, December 01, 2006

bhāva bhakti


Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu review, chapter 3, pūrva bhāga: bhāva bhakti.

In his lengthy tīkā to the first verse, Jīva Gosvāmī repeats his explanation of ceṣṭā rūpa (action) bhakti and bhāva rūpa (feeling). ceṣṭā rūpa bhakti has two types: sādhana rūpa for attaining bhāva bhakti, (actions as practise for attaining bhāva) and kārya rūpa (actions after attaining bhāva-the goal of practise). kārya rūpa bhakti takes the form of anubhāvas when one experiences rasa. sādhana rūpa has just been described. The anubhāvas of kārya rūpa bhakti will be shown in relation to rasa in the second wave of the southern section.
"bhāva rūpa bhakti has two types: sthāyi rūpa (permanent emotion) and sañcārī rūpa (transitory emotion). sthāyi rūpa has two types: 1. prema, which also indicates higher states such as praṇaya, and 2) bhāva, also called rati, which is the preliminary stage of the bud of prema. sañcārī rūpa bhakti will be discussed later in relation to rasa, in the fourth wave of the southern section."

Comments on the different components of verse 1.3.1 run as follows:

asau bhāva ucyate
...."in the present definition it is mentioned that bhāva creates a softening of the heart. The vyābhicārī bhāvas do not soften the heart but rather act upon those devotees whose hearts have already been softened....."

rucibhiś citta māsṛṇya-kṛd
"Furthermore, this bhāva softens the heart (mind) with its desires (rucibhiḥ) for meeting the Lord, serving the Lord favorably,and attaining the friendship of the Lord. This bhāva is also the sprout which will become prema and which will be described later."

prema sūryāṁśu sāmya-bhāk
"Though this bhāva is seen in the eternal associates of the Lord, the mental conditions of the devotees within this world become similar, by the mercy of the Lord and his devotees."

Jīva Gosvāmī's comment on verse 4 (āvirbhūya manovṛttau vrajantī tat svarūpatām) quoted to me by the Vṛndāvana-mahātma in September (see blog September 26): "Since this rati is self-revealing....since it reveals Kṛṣṇa and everything else it manifests within the functioning of the mind of the Lord's dear devotees in this world, and then becomes one with their minds - it becomes their minds and their emotions (tat-svarūpatām vrajanti). It appears (bhāsamānā) in the mind as if by the actions of the mind (prakāśyavat).....by its own arrangement (svayam) bhāva acts as previous and later states - as both cause and effect. Factually, bhāva is taste or delight itself, by its portion which experiences the sweetness of Kṛṣṇa  Still, rati or bhāva by another portion becomes the cause of tasting Kṛṣṇa s many forms and activities, which are most desired by the experiencer. Its samvit (awareness-) portion accomplishes this effectively. However, by the hlādini portion, rati, simply, remains as a blissful state - it is the experience of bliss (effect)." Bhānu Swāmi adds in a footnote: "By bhāva, one is able to perceive Kṛṣṇa  But in perceiving Kṛṣṇa one experiences bhāva, blissful love of Kṛṣṇa."

In his comment on the famous verse 1.3.6 sādhanābhiniveśena, Jīva Gosvāmī stresses the importance of the devotees' association and mercy in attaining bhāva, and Viśvanātha says that sādhanābhiniveśena means 'by bhakti at the stage of niṣṭhā, after anartha nivṛtti." In his tīkā to the following verse Visvanātha states that bhāva may arise by vaidhi sādhana or rāgānugā sādhana (they are parallel practises). tatra sādhanābhiniveśaja iti vaidhī mārgabhedena rāgānugā-mārga bhedena ca jāto yo dvividhaḥ sādhanābhiniveśastenajāto yo dvividho bhāvaḥ...."Without developing ruci and then āsakti, how will bhāva arise?"

In his comment to 1.3.9, a Bhāgavata 1.5.26 quotation, the verse where Nārada heard Kṛṣṇa kathā from the Vedantists, which swiftly brought him through the stages of ruci (manoharaḥ) and āsakti (anupadam viśṛṇvataḥ) to rati (mamābhavad ratiā), Viśvanātha points out that "though one should mention that faith, as the starting point of all stages, is the cause of rati, the description is given in this way to show the quick appearance of rati from absorption in the stages arising after anartha nivṛtti."

In verse 1.3.10, preceding a quotation of S.B 1.5.28, just following the aforementioned 1.5.26, Jīva comments that the word 'bhakti' in the last line refers to prema. Thus, in the context, rati, in this verse, means bhāva, since it is the preliminary state, and bhakti means prema because it is the superior state........bhāva is like the ray of the sun of prema (see 1.3.1)."

1.3.11 - As, according to Jīva Goswāmī in the previous verse, bhakti means prema, also in this verse, it means that prema is following directly after the dissipation of rajas and tamas - rajas tamopahā.

In his comment on verse 1.3.14 Jīva quotes evidence from Padma Purāna that Rādhikā is Kṛṣṇa's dearmost, dearer than the girl mentioned in this verse. He explains that the girl must be an expansion of Rādhikā.

In verse 1.3.49 one of the semblances of rati is being discussed, chāyā ratyābhāsa. Normally chāyā means 'shadow', but here Jīva calls it 'resemblance to beauty'. 'Little interest (kṣudra kautuhala) means that though the Lord and bhakti are spiritual, the person has interest in them only as material objects. Because there is curiosity relating to the Lord, even though material, there is an appearance of a little splendor (kānti). That is the meaning of chāyā here. Because of the slight attraction to the Lord there will be slight symptoms similar to those of real rati. However, because of its nature as chāyā, it is also unsteady (cañcala) unlike the pratibimba-ratyābhāsa. In pratibimba ratyābhāsa the attraction to material enjoyment and liberation is very strong, but in chāyā ratyābhāsa the material curiosity about the Lord is transient. Still, because of the influence of the Lord in chāyā ratyābhāsa there is gradually a destruction of the suffering of material existence." I suppose this is closest to what is called 'sahajiya' by some groups nowadays, though Rūpa and Jīva clearly distinguish different gradations of the symptom.

Verse 51 says: "Even this chāyā-ratyābhāsa which eventually bestows auspiciousness to those people, appears only with great good fortune."

The ṭīkās to the famous verses (1.3.52-4) which say that offences cause the moon of rati to wane are interesting: Jīva says: "By two types of grave offences - to the Vaiṣṇava and to Kṛṣṇa - even real bhāva is destroyed. By medium offence bhāva becomes bhāvābhāsa. By slight offence the bhāva degrades in category. Becoming an inferior type means that there will be degradation in terms of the five rasas and the eight stages from mahābhāva to rati."

Viśvanātha adds: "If the aparādha is slight, the bhāva changes type. madhura rati becomes dāsya rati. dāsya rati becomes śānta rati." Bhānu Swāmi adds an interesting footnote here: "sādhya rūpa or hārda rūpa bhakti has five types: bhāva, prema, praṇaya, sneha and rāga. In Ujjvala Nīlamani three more types are mentioned: māna, anurāga and mahābhāva. Thus there are eight types of sādhya bhakti. This is explained in Jīva Gosvāmī's commentary on BRS 1.2.1. However, since the topic is bhāva-bhakti, the lowest of the eight types, that bhāva could simply decrease in intensity. Furthermore, those at the level of bhāva still have impurities, and could make mistakes because of anarthas, whereas those at the level of prema are pure and could never commit real offence."

Verse 1.3.59 states that if some apparent fault is seen in a person who has developed real bhāva one should not be hostile to him, because he has accomplished the goal in all respects. Bhānu Swāmi writes in a footnote that the bhāva bhakta still has anarthas and could commit sin or aparādha. This distinguishes him from the prema bhakta. However, even if he makes mistakes, because of his level of advancement, Kṛṣṇa takes care of him. Jīva quotes the famous verse 'apavitra pavitro vā' in his comment.

Verse 1.3.60 continues on this theme and Jīva Gosvāmī comments here: "A person may show serious contamination. This means that it is seen externally that he performs forbidden activities. However, he shines with internal bhakti, which cannot be defeated by anyone......in the Harivaṁśa it is said: loke cchāyāmayam lakṣma tavāṅke śaśa saṁjñitam "The dark spot on the moon is called a rabbit. Though there is a fault in the beauty of the moon, that fault is only superficial."

Thus ends the review of chapter 3 of the purva vibhāga, named bhāva bhakti.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sādhana bhakti

Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu review, installment 2: sādhana bhakti.


In his ṭīkā of verse 1 of sādhana-bhakti chapter Jīva Gosvāmī quotes the same BRS (2.1.276), which states that sādhakas may have anarthas even while being qualified to see Kṛṣṇa directly. This is however, according to Visvanātha, not just an ordinary sādhaka, otherwise he would not be able to see Kṛṣṇa directly, but a bhāva bhakta who may be considered a sādhaka because he is not yet completely pure. This is a conclusion by Bhānu Swāmi, which seems feasible to me. Viśvanātha thus comes to the conclusion that bhāva bhakti does not fit either in sādhana bhakti nor in the class of sādhya bhakti. Hence there is a need for a threefold division of sādhana, bhāva and prema bhakti, not a twofold division as some have suggested, of just sādhana and sādhya bhakti.

In his ṭīkā to the verse smartavyaṁ satataṁ viṣṇuḥ (BRS 1.2.8, one should always remember Viṣṇu), Viśvanātha comments: satataṁ pratyahaṁ na tu prati-kṣaṇaṁ tasyāsādhyatvena vidher anuṣṭhāna lakṣaṇa prāmānyāpatteḥ "satatam does not mean every second but every day, because such non-stop smaraṇam is not possible for a sādhaka. They would produce loss of faith in the rules of bhakti, because they would be impossible to follow." An important consolation for a sādhaka....

In BRS 1.2.16 Bhānu Swāmī is the only one who translates the verse, about the 3 faith-adhikārīs, as: "There are three types of persons qualified for vaidhi sādhana bhakti..." Other translations I have here (1 from the Gaudiya Math and a verbal one from Satya-narayan) say that the three faith-adhikārīs are so for both vaidhi and rāgānugā bhakti.

Jīva Gosvāmī writes in the ṭīkā of verse 17 that logic should be understood as logic following the statements of the scripture, because independent logic is condemned in verse BRS 1.1.45, a statement I should have used in the big śāstra-debate with Jagat and friends in Gauḍīya Discussions in June 2004. A faithful madhyama is not a blind fanatic but a person who does believe in scriptures. Even the kaniṣṭha adhikārī has basic scriptural faith.

Bhānu Swāmī's translation of Viśvanātha's 1.2.19 tīkā seems odd: '...the person (kaniṣṭha adhikārī) is not completely unconvinced, otherwise he would not even be considered a devotee...' is a text I cannot find in Viśvanātha's Sanskrit ṭīkā, and also his final sentence: "Later the person regains faith in what the Guru has taught by his own judgement" seems to be different in the Sanskrit text: "anipuṇo balavad vādhe datte sati samādhātum asamartha. tathāpi śraddhāvān gurūpadiṣṭa bhagavat tattvādau manasi dṛḍha niścaya ...." 'The unskilled one is not able to defeat powerful arguments by opponents, but still he has firm mental faith in the bhagavat-tattva taught to him by his Guru from the beginning (ādau)."

In the ṭīkā of 1.2.63 Jīva Gosvāmī makes it clear that it is not a fault not to follow all the 64 aṅgas of bhakti: bhaktyaṅgānāṁ nityānām iti jñeyam "Limbs of devotion here means the eternal (main) ones."

In the tīkā of 1.2.102 Jīva Gosvāmī not only rejects the teachings and authority of Buddha (since he rejects the beginningless paramparā) but also plays down his status to one of āveśāvatāra, an empowered incarnation.

Among the sevāparādhas in BRS 1.2.119, paryaṅka bandhanam, 'clasping the hands on the knees' should be 'squatting' in front of the deities.

In the ṭīkā of 1.2.159 Jīva Gosvāmī writes that the difference between stotra and stava is that stotra is a part of śāstra and stava is self-composed (see Stavāvalī and Stavamālā).

Viśvanātha's ṭīkā to 1.2.174: 'As remaining alive is the cause of a good son receiving his inheritance, so the devotee remaining alive in this world with steadiness on the path of bhakti is the cause of his receiving freedom from saṁsāra and service to the Lord." He then quotes SB 10.87.17 as evidence.

In BRS 1.2.249 Jīva Gosvāmī comments "In vairāgya, one must renounce enjoyment by repeated toleration of suffering. The very nature of these practises is harsh and unpleasant, and thus the heart becomes similarly harsh." (this actually belongs to my blog 'Vairāgya needed?" of November 12), in verse 253 Jīva comes with examples of svargāpavarga mad-dhāma kathañcid yadi vañchanti (in this connection) "My devotee gets heaven, liberation or My abode if he accidentally so desires". Citraketu got svarga (heavenly pleasures), Śukadeva apavarga (liberation) and Prahlāda the Lord's abode. Citraketu is quoted in SB 6.17.3 as reme vidyādhara strībhir gāpayan harim īśvaram "Singing the name of Lord Hari, he enjoyed with angelic women". He balances this out in his comment on the following verse, though, saying: "...if vairāgya is forbidden, the bhakta will be filled with material desires, and that is against śāstra......having a taste for bhakti will destroy the attachment to material objects. Thus, the hardness of heart caused by vairāgya will not take place, and still detachment will take place. At the stage of ruci material attraction will be destroyed for the most part (prāyaḥ)...."

Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments on 1.2.272: "That love-filled thirst, or actions inspired by it, such as stringing garlands for Kṛṣṇa,which generates complete absorption in the object of love, is called rāgātmikā bhakti". There is no fault in this rāga even though it may not conform to expected rules. That comes closest to the statement in 'The Nectar of Devotion" that "in rāgānugā bhakti one does not follow the rules so strictly." Sanskrit: evaṁ sati tṛṣṇārūpa rāgasyānusaraṇāsambhave'pi na kṣatiḥ 'There is no harm or loss if it is not possible to anusaraṇa in this thirst-filled passion." anusaraṇa is, according to Monier-Williams: following , going after; tracking, conformity to, consequence of; custom, habit, usage.

In a footnote to page 304 Bhānu Swāmī claimed that the Vṛṣṇis mentioned in this part of BRS are actually Vrajavāsīs and he seems to be vindicated by Jīva Gosvāmī's comment on BRS 1.2.276-77, wherein is stated that the Pāṇḍavas, despite their intimate friendship with Kṛṣṇa, cannot really be counted as pure rāgānugā role-models 'because that affection is predominated by awareness of the Lord's powers, that sneha should be considered predominantly on the path of vaidhi.".... "If the word sneha is taken to mean general prema, it is impossible to follow such prema since no particular details are given about actions that are unique to such prema. Thus it would not be fitting for rāgānugā sādhana because of the lack of any unique features to support it (upajīvyatva)."

Back to the Vṛṣṇi-controversy, from the comments on verse 1.2.288 of both Jīva and Viśvanātha, it is clear that the Vṛṣṇis mentioned in the Bhāgavata 7.1.31 verse, quoted in BRS 1.2.275 are the ballaba, or Vrajavāsīs and not the Yādavas. Visvanātha ends his tika 288 with: rāga-viśeṣa kāmātmikānām udāharaṇe pradhānatvāt gopya uktās tathaiva rāga viśeṣasya sambandhasyāpy-udāharane pradhānatvād ballabā niveṣanīyāh "The best example of kāmātmikā bhakti is the gopīs of Vraja and of sambandhānuga bhakti the cowherds." The word upalakṣaṇa in the verse is used by Jīva Gosvāmī in relation to the word Vṛṣṇaya (the Vṛṣṇis) means, according to Monier Williams: "The act of implying something that has not been expressed , implying any analogous object where only one is specified". Jīva Gosvāmī calls it an ajahal lakṣaṇa: the original meaning of the word is not given up completely. Bhānu Swāmi explains the controversy in a footnote, reminding us that both the Vrajavāsīs and Yādavas descend from Mahārāja Devamīḍha, and so the Vrajavāsīs are often referred to as Yādavas as well. Satya-nārāyan's statement that the Vṛṣṇis are perhaps rāgānugīs but not pure ones (see blog of July 31) still stands though, because of Jīva's comments on 1.2.276-77, śuddha rāgānugāyāṁ nopayogaḥ (see the above paragraph). My final quotation in the June 6 blog, BRS 1.2.307, is explained by Jīva and Visvanātha as the old carpenter from Hastināpura actually becoming an elderly cowherd parent of Kṛṣṇa during the pastime in which Brahmā stole the boys and calves. (bāla-vatsa-līlāyām tat pitṛṇām iva siddhir jñeyaḥ). The previous verse had already stated vrajendra subalādīnāṁ bhāva ceṣṭita mudrayā - "sādhakas in sambandhānuga take Nanda and Subal as their rolemodels." (The fact that the carpenter lived in Hastināpura does not make him a Yādava) In his footnote here Bhānu explains that 'the definition of rāgānugā bhakti has already specified that the ideal person whom one follows is an inhabitant of Vraja, and not Dvārakā. Thus identifying oneself as a father in Dvārakā is excluded from sambandhānugā bhakti - which is a branch of rāgānugā bhakti."

On to the famous definition of greed as cause of rāgānugā bhakti (1.2.292), ever-fascinating: Jiva Gosvami comments: 'When a person realises to some degree the sweetness of the love and activities of the inhabitants of Vraja...." note the words 'to some degree', which indicate that greed or lobha is not immediately an all-consuming fire in which the devotee is completely pure to qualify for rāgānuga sādhana. Bhanu Swami's translation is however, a bit played down, since yat kiñcit means 'slightly' more than 'to some degree' and he also fails to translate Jīva's important final words in the comment: tad eva lobhotpatter lakṣaṇam iti - 'This alone is the symptom of lobha or greed.' Viśvanātha comments: One can infer (lakṣaṇam) that greed has arisen in the person from recognising this symptom. Nevertheless, it is not possible to say that the condition described is the real essence (svarūpa) of that greed, since that greed does not always include disregard for scriptural injunctions and logic as a necessary component." na tvatra lakṣaṇaṁ lobhotpatteḥ svarūpam iti vyākhyātuṁ śakyam śāstra yuktyapekṣābhāvasya svarūpatvābhāvāt.

On verse 293, Jīva Gosvāmī comments: "Because of following after the rāgātmikas, those practising rāgānugā bhakti practise bhakti without limitations. That means that there is no specific rule concerning the time at which they will give up dependence on the rules of scripture. rāgānugādhikārino rāgātmikānugāmitvāt niravadhir eva tādṛśī bhaktih...Is there a limit to how long those practising vaidhi bhakti should depend on the rules? This verse answers. bhāva here means rati or the stage of bhāva bhakti after sādhana bhakti." Where does that leave the distinction between vaidhi and rāga then?" one might ask. In Bhānu Swāmī's opinion (footnote 68): "At the stage of rati the devotee would not commit sin by his nature, and thus would not have to consider the rules of scripture. However, his vaidhi sādhana would influence his bhāva and prema, coloring it with awareness of Kṛṣṇa as the Lord." In his tīkā, Viśvanātha points out that rāga is far superior to vaidhi because vaidhi needs to wait till the rati stage before the sādhaka can give up śāstra and yukti while the rāga sādhaka can do so as soon as the greed manifests in him. Viśvanātha then repeats his point in the Rāgavartma Candrikā: "However, whenever this greed has appeared, it is understood that the person must have studied the scriptures in order to attain that greed. It is also necessary to study the scriptures in order to understand the proper sādhana for rāgānugā bhakti."

In verse 294 we learn that the BBT translation– “and one should choose a very dear devotee who is a servitor of Kṛṣṇa in Vrndavana.´ - is wrong. Instead it is – “Remembering the Vṛndāvana form of Kṛṣṇa and His dear associates who have inclinations for service similar to one’s own.”  Viśvanātha specifically comments that one should meditate on Kṛṣṇa's kiśora (adolescent) form. Both Jīva and Viśvanātha say that if unable to live physically in Vraja, one can live there mentally.

To verse 295 Bhānu gives a footnote that is rather revolutionary for his milieu: "The siddha rūpa is given by a Guru on the path of rāgabhakti when he sees the qualification for rāgānugā bhakti and a particular inclination in a particular disciple....Along with the form, specific dress and service for Kṛṣṇa throughout the day would be given.....forms of mañjarīs, assistants to the sakhīs of Rādhā, seem to be the most prominent forms given....." Quite a departure from previous versions of this book...... In the next footnote Bhānu writes about serving in the sādhaka-body and the siddha-body: "The idea here is it is simultaneous in rāgānugā bhakti, not at the same instant, but during the same period. For instance, for some hours he will meditate and the rest of the day he will chant, read, and do deity services." This I regard as one option only, because it is well-known that one is able to meditate and practise external sādhanas at the same time.

In his comment on verse 298 Viśvanātha makes the important point that there is a difference between anukaraṇa (imitation) of the gopīs, like not following Ekādaśī or taking initiation, and anusaraṇa, following in the footsteps of their feelings of spontaneous love for Kṛṣṇa. In footnote 74, Bhānu repeats the unfortunate habit of spelling out the secret dīkṣā-mantras in mass publications, in this case the 10-syllable mantra, which is even meant for - born - brāhmins in the first place. In Hari-bhakti-vilasa, verse 2.147 (96), Śrīla Sanātan Goswāmī quotes Sammohana-tantra:

gopayed devatam iṣṭaṁ gopayed gurum ātmanaḥ
gopayec ca nijaṁ mantram gopayen nija-mālikām

"One should hide one's iṣṭa-deva, one should hide one's Guru, one should hide one's mantra, and one should hide one's japa-mālā."Except for a few glitches Bhānu Swāmī did an excellent job on this most important chapter, perhaps performing some ground-breaking work at it.

Bhānu Swāmī made an incorrect translation of Jīva Gosvāmī's comment on the last verse of the chapter:


mātra padasya vidhi-mārge kutracit karmādi samarpaṇam api dvāraḥ bhavatīti tad vicchedārthaḥ prayoga iti bhāva


"The use of the word mātra (only) is used in this sentence to defeat the false proposition that offering of karmas sometimes acts as a cause for vaidhi bhakti (and thus, offering varṇāśrama karmas, certainly, cannot be a cause of rāgānugā which is indifferent to rules)."

The text between brackets is clearly by Bhānu Swāmī, and seems flawed to me because rāgānugā is not indifferent to rules.

Karma does give entry into vaidhi bhakti, as the Bhāgavata (1.2.13) says:

ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ
sv-anuṣṭhitasya dharmasya saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam

"O best among the twice-born, therefore, one can please the Lord Hari by nicely performing the duties prescribed for one's own varna and aśrama."

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sāmānya Bhakti


Bhakti Rasāmrta Sindhu 
with full commentary-translations by H.H. Bhānu Swāmi.

First installment of review, Chapter one, sāmānya bhakti.

Thanks to the generous donation of Mālati dāsī from Australia I am now the happy owner of the Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu translation of H.H. Bhānu Swāmi, which I promptly and enthusiastically started reading. It comes in two volumes, the first one, east and south sectors, 959 pages, because here the tīkās are much longer, and the second one, west and north sectors, just 542 pages. A whopping 1501 pages altogether!

In his commentary Bhānu Swāmī doesn't seem to skip over any of the commentaries and has made very pleasant breaks between the different topics in the commentaries, making them very readable and surveyable. Wisely, he has kept out the ṭīkās of Viśvanātha Cakravartī that are verbatim copies of Jīva's (I never understood why Viśvanāth did that copying - was it out of pure allegiance?). His own added footnotes seem to be in context and to the point. The ṭīkā of the first verse is very lengthy, no less than 15 pages, and Bhānu expertly discerns which Bhāgavat-quotation by Jīva Gosvāmī pertains to which attribute of Kṛṣṇa's found by him in the śloka, though this is not easy to discern in the Sanskrit ṭīkā.

In the pivotal verse 1.1.11, "anyābhilāṣita śūnyam", Bhānu Svāmī unfurls the secrets of Jīva's commentaries, which were only explained very briefly by Habermann (actually, all of Habermann's comment-translations are too brief). A single line in Jīva's ṭīkā becomes an entire paragpraph in Bhānu's English commentary, not including Bhānu's patient and impressive footnotes. Bhānu's translated ṭīkās look very impressive and credible too, though some of Jīva's original Sanskrit  ṭīkās are so cryptical we will just pray that Bhānu understood it properly. I could not tell either way. The simple Sanskrit line 'sattvāsattve tu parasparam upamardditvācceṣṭāntargata eva', for instance, carries this lengthy translation: "However, emotional states of sattva, and even non-sattva, are included in ceṣṭā rūpa anuśīlanam (active devotional service) because both are suppressed by action (sattvas are intense emotions, which overcome the heart, but under the pressure of a limited body, spontaneously manifest bodily transformations (action) called sāttvika bhāvas. Even though the action is unconscious and the origin is emotion, it is classed as ceṣṭā rūpa because of the consequent and obvious active element. Other emotions, which are not so intense, and are not classified as sattvas, if they are similarly eclipsed in favor of conscious actions, are called anubhāvas. Though the immediate cause is emotion, anubhāvas are classed ceṣṭā rūpa because of preponderance of conscious action." Footnote: "sāttvika bhāvas have a strong internal emotional component called sattva, which forcibly interacts with prāna, which in turn affects the elements earth, water, fire, ether and prāna (air) in the body, which causes external symptoms in the body, voice and mind. Because they are not conscious actions, though they involve action, they are distinct from anubhāvas." Speaking of 'hidden meaning in the śāstras/Gosvāmīs writings!! All I could read in the one-line Sanskrit ṭīkā was: 'Whether sattva or non-sattva, because they suppress each other, they are counted among ceṣṭā rūpa anuśīlana." Studying the whole book may take a long, dark winter!

Further on in the 1.1.11  ṭīkā Bhānu translates Jīva: 'Thus aṅgas of bhakti such as taking shelter of Guru's lotus feet may be included in bhakti, even in bhāva-rūpa anuśīlanam', to which he makes the footnote: "Though these other items are mentioned in preliminary stages of bhakti (ceṣṭā rūpa) the inclusion of service to things related to Kṛṣṇa in anuśīlanam applies even at a more advanced stage, in bhāva rūpa bhakti. This subclass of ceṣṭā rūpa bhakti on the advanced level is called kārya rūpa (perfectional stage) and such actions are called anubhāvas. This is explained in the commentary on BRS 1.3.1."

Bhānu Swāmi also properly translates Jīva Gosvāmī's comment on BRS 1.1.22, writing: "Now it is a fact that the sinful person dissolves the prārabdha karmas producing bad birth and qualities which are unfavorable for conducing sacrifice. But since he does not have the second birth because of lack of virtuous behaviour (if he actually wants to perform sacrifices) he must take another birth in the future and then undergo the second birth-rites which will bestow the particular purity which will destroy the lack of qualification inherent even in sons of brāhmaṇas. In that sense, commenting on the words savanāya kalpate in BRS verse 1.1.21 (quotation from SB 3.33.6), Śrīdhara Swāmī says 'being immediately qualified for sacrifice means that he is given the respect due to a qualified person."

Jīva's  ṭīkā to verse 1.1.23 mentions that karma is anādi (beginningless, and thus we did not fall down from the spiritual sky), tat-tac-cānādi-siddham, and Bhānu not only neatly translates it, he even repeats it in a footnote (40:"The karma is anādi because the jīva's existence in the material world is anādi").

In the Bhāgavat 3.33.6 verse quoted in verse 21 sins are said to be destroyed at once (sadya), but in verse 23 it is said kramena, gradually. Jīva Gosvāmī explains that with the kamala-patra-śata-vedha nyāya: When one pierces 100 lotus petals it takes some time before all 100 leaves are pierced, though on the surface it seems they are all pierced at once. Similarly, in the eternal existence of the jīva, endless time, it is happening at once, though in our limited time-view it seems to be happening gradually. It is another good example of Jīva Gosvāmī rejecting literalism, and in the same Bhāgavata- ṭīkā (3.33.6) where he also rejects the notion that a chanting dog-eater can actually perform a fire sacrifice.

In verse 29, the famous yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavad akincana-verse, Jīva Gosvāmī gives another explanation of the words samāsate sura than the conventional 'all the qualities of the demigods are in him". He says that the word samāsate means vaśībhūta, controlling. Bhānu translates it as follows: "...bhakti puts at the command of the devotee all good qualities, the Lord and others as well. sura refers to the Supreme Lord and others (Jīva says that in the ṭīkā, surā bhagavadādayaḥ). samāsate means they remain under his control." In his footnote, Bhānu writes: "If bhakti gave only the qualities of the devatās that would not be remarkable. Even devatā-worshippers can obtain these qualities, which will be predominantly material sattva guna....."

The ṭīkā to 1.1.35 solves the mystery of how bhakti is rare in two ways, since it only says that it is rare if one continues with a huge amount of sādhana without attachment (such as pramāda japa). Jīva Gosvāmī says it is even rarely attained when one practises it with attachment, though there is then a delay instead of non-attainment. Jīva offers consolation in the following tīkā for those who may despair after reading this, quoting several Bhāgavat-verses that assure easy and quick success. After quoting SB 11.14.20, na sādhayati mām yogo, he explains that 'tad artha viniyukta karmādikam evocyate. ataeva sādhana śabda eva vinyasto na tu bhajana śabdaḥ'. "bhāva bhakti is rarely attained by those who employ karma and other such practises in their endeavour. That is why the word sādhana is used in verse 35, not the word 'bhajana.'

Thus ends the first installment of the review of Bhanu Swami's translation of Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, dealing with chapter one of the eastern sector.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Gaur Līlā Eternal


I found this exchange on Vilāsa Kunja:

QUOTE(Madhavananda Das @ Nov 17 2006, 02:57 AM)
I do not know why you bring in the topic of non-eternity of Gaura-lila in this context; while the topic has only recently surfaced on the internet, the issue itself is old. The first related documented controversies in the samaja date approximately one and a half centuries back. The Gaura-lila issue has only been brought up by Advaitadas, who follows the views of his guru and param-guru on this topic.


Gaurasundar: Speaking of which, I was under the impression that Advaitaji's views were based on his sampradaya's unilateral focus on Radha-Krishna (with it's accompanying disapproval/de-emphasising of Gaura-smaran/puja). I had no idea that the "No eternal-Gauralila" was an active feature of his sampradaya too, is this what you are saying?

I would like to offer the following comments: 'Sampradāya' means the tradition on the whole, which means the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya, whose authorised theologists are the Six Gosvāmīs. Through these authorised theologists the Sampradāya has emphasised the worship of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and also acknowledged that this is the great gift of Śrīman Mahāprabhu. The shift to a bigger role of Śrīman Mahāprabhu in one's worship has been introduced by various personalities in the not so distant past, namely the 19th and even 20th century (as mentioned above). As for there being 'no eternal Gaura līlā', I do not know why such ideas are being ascribed to me and my Guru paramparā, I have never said anything of the kind. When I asked my Gurudeva about the sthiti of Gaura he said it is eternal, but not present in the spiritual sky, rather it is rotating like a firebrand throughout the mundane universes, each of which have a planet earth, each of which have a town of Navadvīpa. As Śrīman Mahāprabhu is svayam Bhagavān, naturally His attributes, pastimes and form are eternal, that goes without saying. Except for one or two poetic eulogies in Bengali song or prose booklets, indeed no major Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava śāstra describes a planet of Śrīman Mahāprabhu in the spiritual sky. Holding on to paramparā-given practises is not a question of 'de-emphasising', as we are not obliged to go along with practises that have been introduced by others at a later stage.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The spider and its web


The spider and its web

From Kānupriya Gosvāmī's 'Jīvera Svarūpa o svadharma'

'Through his own energy the spider expands his web and withdraws it again. Though the spider is not fixed in one place (and not always present on the web, ed.) he is not false or unreal. Similarly, although the universe is temporary it is not false like a dream; it is simply a transformation of the Lord's energy, called maya or matter. Just as the spider's offspring can freely traverse the web without getting entangled in it, because they are of the same substance as the spider, but its enemies, like flies and other insects, get bound by it and die, liberated souls can freely traverse the Lord's material creation without getting entangled, while those who identify with the body and who are opposed to Him get bound to it. The srutis (Upanisads, that are usually considered 'impersonalist' scriptures, ed.) accept the reality of the world and have also clearly described the creation as a particular energy of the Lord:

yathornaṇābhih sṛjate gṛhnate ca yathā pṛthivyām oṣadhayaḥ sambhavanti
yathā sataṁ puruṣāt keśa-lomāni tathākṣarāt sambhavatīha viśvam

(Mundaka Upanisad)

"Just as a spider spreads a web from its own body and withdraws it again, the earth brings forth herbs and a living being sprouts hairs from its pores, so also this universe is born from the akṣara (the imperishable)."
Ref.: S.B. 2.9.26-27, 3.21.19 and 11.9.21

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Criticism or offence - where to draw the line?

I received some pretty heated comments recently, and today this comment came in so it is perhaps a good opportunity to set the record straight. Dr.Phil wrote this:

An off-topic question... On the one hand I consider you senior, on the other hand I sometimes see contradiction in you. I never intend to offend anyone or hurt anyone. When does asking questions in an unorthodox way become offensive ? When becomes critique offensive ? Where to draw the line ? I for example use bold language in speech which can easily be misinterpreted as an attack. I try to be more subtle and polite but it is not easy. Your criticisms are also by many (mis)understood as being offensive. Where do you draw your line ? How tough can we be in speech ? How hard can our line be in defending the truth, while we our liable to make mistakes. Maybe in the future you can devote a post on this topic. I am also interested in the viewpoints and experiences from the respected visitors on this blog. We all had our clashes and had to find a balance.... between shutting up, standing up, admitting mistakes and maybe even forgiving an offense or asking for forgiveness for offenses committed by ourselves. Forgive me any offense at your feet. And maybe you can shed some light or share experience, in your own time when you feel like it. (you can, but don't have to post this comment)

My response, here in public:
Dear Phil, I have the same problem indeed. My criticism or just plain comparisons between recent teachers and the foundational acaryas (the Six Gosvamis in particular) are often seen as offensive. I have also needed time to learn where to draw the line, and I have withdrawn, on the recent advise of Satyanarayan Prabhu, from off the internet into the private realm with this type of comparitive criticisms. Still I am reaping the fruits of previously made comments on the internet, as I experienced recently with a spate of unpleasant comments by readers. I have also learned to show some respect to teachers that I really dont agree with or that I even really dont appreciate personally, because some of them have a huge flock of followers, some of whom do not know the border between devotional indignation and dangerous fanaticism. The internet is a world wide web and there is no telling as to how many (sometimes dangerous fanatic) people actually surf to one's weblog. My opinion is that one should speak out frankly but without mentioning people by name and without insulting people, and as much as possible in the private realm. Otherwise one may disturb devotees' tender faith in their devotional leaders prematurely and thus do more harm than good. I may have caused such disturbance in the past, for which I offer my apologies once more. And yes, indeed, I can at least speak for myself that I am still in the process of learning, so some of my past criticisms have been misplaced, and I may well realise that for other points in the future as well.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

vairāgya needed?

Srī Kānupriya Gosvāmī, Jīvera Svarūpa O Svadharma:

bhakti śāstre evaṁ bhaktaganera ācaranera o upadeśera madhye-o ye bahula parimāne sutīvra samsāra vairāgya-bhāva paridṛṣṭa hoy, tāhā kevala bahirmukha -viṣayāsakta o moha-grasta jīva sakalera mohanidrā bhanga koribāra janya evam pravṛtta bhakta o sādhakadigake sādhana pathe satvara agrasara hoibāra utsāha pradāna koribāra janya bujhite hobe, yehetu 'jnāna vairāgya bhaktira kabhu nahe anga' (CC Madhya 22). nidrita vyakti sahita tāhāra kona-o paramātmīya, madhura ālāpādi dvārā tāhāke ānanda dāna korite āsileo, yemon tāhāra nidrā bhangera janya prathame kathin o karkaśa śabdādi dvārā tāhāke jāgrata korite hoy, tadrūpa visaya madirā pāne nidrita o nirutsāhi jīvake krsna bhajane utsāhita karāi bhakti-pathera tīvra vairāgya vānīra abhiprāya.

"In the devotional scriptures and in the conduct and instructions of the devotees we see many examples of extreme renunciation from material life, but that is only to awaken the conditioned souls who are in the grip of illusion, being attached to sensual enjoyment. It is also meant to enthuse practising devotees who are somewhat attached to material life (pravṛtta) to speed up their progress on the path somewhat. After all, the Caitanya Caritāmṛta (Madhya 22) says: "Neither renunciation nor knowledge are integral parts of bhakti". It may be possible to please a sleeping person with sweet, confidential words, but to wake him/her up in the first place one first needs to make a loud shrieking noise. Similarly one must speak words of stern renunciation to persons that are drunk with the wine of sensuality or who are complacent about worshipping Kṛṣṇa."

Corroborations:
Rūpa Gosvāmī, Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.249

jñāna-vairāgyayor bhakti-praveśāyopayogitā
īṣat prathamam eveti nāṅgatvam ucitam tayoḥ


'Knowledge and renunciation are helpful for entering the path of devotion, but only in the very beginning. They are never integral parts of devotion."

Jīva Gosvāmī's commentary:
prathamam evety anyāveśa-parityāga-mātrāya te upādīyete tat-parityāgena jāte ca bhakti-praveśe tayor akiñcitkaratvāt tat-tad-bhāvanāyā bhakti vicchedatkatvācca

'"In the beginning" means: only to help the person give up other (mundane) absorptions. Knowledge and renunciation are only marginally helpful in entering the path of devotion. Meditating on these things form an obstacle to devotion."

verse 1.2.250:
yad ubhe citta-kāṭhinya-hetū prāyaḥ satāṁ mate
sukumāra-svabhāveyam bhaktis taddhetur īritā

'Both cause the heart to be hardened, while Bhakti itself is very tender by nature."

Verse 1.2.251:
Quote from S.B. 11.20.31: "Therefore, knowledge and renunciation are generally not the best means for the yogi who is full of devotion for Me and whose mind is fixed on me."

And:
anāyāse govinda bhajibo (Narottam, Prema bhakti Candrikā 21) "I will effortlessly worship Govinda"

Sādhu bābā disapproved of dry renunciation. he rhymed : Betā - khā, por, bhajan kor" 'My child, eat and dress and do bhajan."

The point of all this? I was deeply impressed with the truth Kānupriya Prabhu thus revealed to me this morning. It reminded me of my blog of 1st november, "Failed Parīkṣā." Perhaps I am taking it all way too seriously and should just chill out a bit?

(Corroborations were added by advaitadas, and are not a part of the text of Kanupriya Gosvami)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu comes clean - finally.



After the "Nectar of Devotion" (1969) and Dhanurdhara Swāmi/Victor di Cara's sequel 'Waves of Devotion', it seems the ISKCON-branch of our sampradāya finally has access to a proper representation of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī's 'Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu', translated this time by Bhānu Swāmī. I could only have a brief look at it in the Jīva Institute the day of my departure from India, but in that brief time I naturally curiously browsed to verses 1.2.291-309, and was glad to see that eligibility for rāgānugā bhakti and the difference between it and rāgātmikā bhakti are finally properly presented. Most interestingly, in one of the many footnotes (the one of 1.2.295) it is actually acknowledged that the siddha deha is received from the Guru and the manuals of Gopāl Guru and Dhyānacandra are mentioned. This is not a review (yet), just a preview, because the book is very big and expensive so I didn't buy it. It appears to me at first sight that the complete commentaries of Jīva Gosvāmī and Visvanātha Cakravartī are included, without the original Sanskrit text, but that is no problem because I have these already anyway. By coincidence the only book I brought from India this time is the Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, but then the Bengali edition of the Gaudiya Math.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Failed parīkṣā

I suppose that going to Rādhākund is all about passing the test of tolerance - blasting loud music (Rām-nām, mayoral elections, Bollywood), pert kids, monkeys tearing your clean clothes off the line, no water due to a broken pump, ants pervading your (and Giridhārī's) meals, strangers passing stool in your toilet without even flushing, or stealing your precious water, mosquitos stealing your night's rest, the nicest guys turning out to be rip-offs, always having to lock the door against monkeys, rats and mosquitos, frequent power cuts , too hot to cook a meal (the gas-stove requiring the fan to be switched off), being sick without a nurse around - none of this I tolerated - so far for taror iva sahiṣṇunā. As for tṛṇād api sunīcena - during my whole trip I felt indignation about a bābājī (who are themselves not all famous for their high birth) telling me to sit separately from the others. That test I also failed. This isn't dhyāna-bhūmi (a land of meditation) either - how can you meditate when you are caught between two gangs of big monkeys, ready to tear each other apart? This country is just about tolerating the intolerable. I get the feeling Madangopāl and Sādhu Bābā will not be pleased with me unless and until I pass these tests - and not just for a few weeks but permanently.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mahāprabhu's own words

ekadā śrīvāsādi yoto bhaktagana
mahāprabhura guṇe gāya korena kīrtan

"One day Śrīvāsa and the other devotees sang the glories of Mahāprabhu in kīrtan"

śuni bhaktagaṇe kohe sakrodha vacane
kṛṣṇa nāma guṇa chāḍi ki koro kīrtan?

When Mahāprabhu heard it He angrily said: 'Why are you abandoning Kṛṣṇa kīrtan? What are you singing?

auddhatya korite hoilo sabākāra mana,
svatantra hoiya nāśābe bhuvana

"Everyone has become so arrogant! This independent behaviour will destroy the world!"

(Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Madhya 1, 269-271)

āmā prati sneha yadi thāke sabākāra
kṛṣṇa nāma vinā nā gāibe āra

"If you all really love Me, then sing of nothing but Kṛṣṇa!"

(Caitanya Bhāgavata)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Continued debate on Gaura Nitya Līlā

The ongoing discussion on Gaura-nitya lila et al:
Mādhava writes in Vilasa kunja 30 september 2006-

Mādhava: "The friction arises to a great extent from the fact that the Gosvāmīs themselves wrote very, very little of Mahāprabhu at all, what to speak of touching on the specifics of Gaura-upāsanā and līlā.

Advaitadas: "This provides food for thought. Shouldn't we follow suit and thus be real rūpānugīs? Their format should be followed: They offered obeisances to Gaura once in the invocations of their books and then spoke of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa all the way.

Mādhava: "ārati-songs for Gaura and so forth are also in practise in the line Advaitadas belongs to.

Advaitadas "That is precisely the Gosvāmīs`program - obeisances to Gaura once and then just Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Also our adhivāsa kīrtans are the same as in the other lines - Gaura all the way. But this is sādhana bhakti!

Mādhava: In general, there is evolution in mantras in the sampradāya - additional mantras are often learned from śikṣā-gurus and passed on to others.

Advaitadas: When you speak of evolution, isn't that like the `bold innovators` we have left other groups for? Can we call a line that `evolves` like that still a paramparā (succession)? Isn't succession meant to be unchanging?

Mādhava: On dīkṣā-mantras, the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa only mentions Kṛṣṇa-mantra and Kāma-gayatri, with passing mention of some Rāma- and Nṛsiṁha-mantras. Gaura goes undiscussed in the work (as does largely Rādhā), for it seems to be aimed at the broadest audience, not only Gaura's followers.

Advaitadas: This is untrue. In Caitanya Caritāmṛta (Madhya 24) Mahāprabhu gives elaborate instructions to Sanātan Goswāmī about the compilation of Hari-bhakti-vilāsa  It has a Gaura maṅgalācaran and is a distinct Gauḍīya Grantha. As Gaura mantra is not there and you admit the mantra`s been in use for just over a century, the conclusion is clear.

Mādhava: Curiously, Gaura-mantra is spoken of in Advaita-prakāśa, one of the very esteemed texts in the line of Advaitadās.

Advaitadas: "This I have already explained on Gaudiya Discussions and on my website www.madangopal.com: It was a procreative mantra meant only for Śacī-mātā and Jagannātha Miśra. Otherwise, it would have been received by us all nowadays, but it isn't.

Madhava: The existence of Gaura's nitya-līlā as an aprakaṭa-prakāśa is questioned. It has not been specifically addressed in any foundational works of the sampradāya, but there is no reason to assume it couldn't be there for those so willing.

Advaitadas: Can it be a spiritual reality without being mentioned in any authorised śāstra?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sinning in ignorance and Gaur-līlā - Satya-nārāyan

I ask Satya Nārāyana Paṇḍitjī about nāmāparādha and sinning in general in ignorance. He says nāmāparādha in ignorance is not as severe as deliberate nāmāparādha  He compares it to the woman with the baby who contaminated the kitchen , causing me to decide not to use the kitchen anymore. She displeased me, be it in ignorance, and that is just what aparādha is: displeasing. So it is with inadvertent nāmāparādha  He agrees with my point of ignorance being an excuse (see my blog of April 19) He says that in Manu Smṛti greater punishment is given to a brahmin for drinking alcohol than to a śūdra, for instance. An insane person who commits murder is not punished as harshly as a deliberate murderer. It is the intention that counts. Punishment has a purpose, it is a lesson. So yes, a westerner is not punished for drinking and meat-eating as a Hindu or Vaiṣṇava is.

About Gaura līlā he says that the personality of Gaura won't be perceived anymore as one immerses oneself in Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa līlā, but the spirit of Gaura, in which one has done Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa sādhana, will remain forever.

Satya-nārāyan Paṇḍitjī confirms that disputes have always been there in the Gauḍīya Sampradāya, though they have not been mentioned in the Gauḍīya granthas.