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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

On siddha praṇālī

On siddha pranali, Muralidhara das states today in Audarya-fellowship:

In fact there is a situation where, generation after generation, the successive gurus in various "traditional communities" of Gaudiya Vaishnavas are giving instruction about "siddha-deha" to new initiates, with the gurus telling the disciples about their own "siddha name" and "siddha form", as well as the disciple's form and name: "you are such-and-such manjari"; but in reality these so-called gurus have no real vision of either their own real spiritual form or the spiritual body of their so-called disciples. The so-called gurus haven't realized their own real "siddha form". Nor have they attained the realized the stage of Prema (pure love). But they are initiating new disciples and telling the disciple "you are a manjari and your name is such-and-such-manjari". The practices of these people are in fact a mere imitation of the practices of Gopal Guru Goswami, Dhyanacandra Goswami and other devotees of the past who had a real and direct understanding of the transcendental form of their innermost self (swarup siddha).

This is objectionable. How does Muralidhara das know whether or not these 'so-called' Gurus are self-realized and have prema or not? It is insinuating, which is dangerous in relation to Vaiṣṇavas. There lies the chance of Vaiṣṇava aparādha. Let Muralidhara come forward and tell us which 'so-called Guru' is not realized and has no prema, yet gives siddha pranali.

"In his commentary (on Bhakti Rasamrita 1.2.291), Srila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Prabhu points out that in this verse Sri Rupa Gosvami has clearly defined raganuga bhakti. Here, Sri Rupa Goswami states that those individuals who in their intrinsic nature feel an intense longing and firm attachment for service following in the wake of the feelings and sentiments of the residents of Vrindaban, with no thought or attraction for the majesties of the Godhead, are alone eligible for following in the way of raganuga bhakti. The person eligible for raganuga bhakti may spontaneously follow Sri Radha and other Gopis in madhura rati, Nanda-Yasoda and others in vatsalya rati, Sridama-Sudama and others in sakhya rati, or Citraka-Patraka and others in dasya rati."

Factually, however, Viśvanātha Cakravartī says nothing of the kind. He says:

prasaṅgato rāgātmikāyā lakṣaṇam uktvā prastutayā rāgānugāyā lakṣaṇam āha - rāgātmikāyā iti. rāgātmika bhaktau eka-niṣṭhaṁ yeṣāṁ teṣāṁ vrajavāsināṁ śrī kṛṣṇe yo bhāvas tat sājātīya bhāvāptaye lubdha ityarthaḥ.


"In the course of discussing rāgātmikā bhakti, rāgānugā bhakti is also defined, in this verse rāgātmikaika etc. The greed to attain the same feelings towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa that the exclusively fixed rāgātmikā vrajavāsī bhaktas have (is called rāgānugā bhakti)."

The word 'spontaneous' is not there, 'attraction for the majesties' is not there, nor is there any mentioning of Yaśodā, Sudāmā and Patraka etc.

Also, it is not that the siddha deha comes just falling out of the sky, like it's pure divine revelation and no sādhana or preliminary meditation is involved. Śrī Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja has written in his commentary on Kṛṣṇa Karnāmṛta, verse 3, that in the unripe stage, preceding bhāva, one may meditate on one's own desired siddha deha -

rāgānugā mārge anutpanna-rati sādhaka-bhaktair api svepsita siddha dehaṁ manasi parikalpya bhagavat sevādikam kriyate. jata ratīnam tu svayam eva tad deha sphūrteḥ

"In the ripe stage of bhāva it becomes manifest by itself." This is confirmed by Narottama Dāsa Thākur in his Premabhakti Candrikā:

sādhane bhāvibo yāhā, siddha dehe pābo tāhā

 pakkāpakka mātra sei vicāra 


'What I think of in my sādhana is what I will attain in my siddhi. The only difference is ripeness or rawness." On the other hand again, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī says that one does need to be pure-hearted in order to be able to meditate on anything. So the truth lies in the middle. Nor the stern approach of Bhaktisiddhānta nor the 'anything goes'- approach of some bābājīs is balanced.

Muralīdhara then continues:

Baladeva quotes the Chandogya Upanishad, which states:
"Thus does that serene being, arising from this body, appear in its own form, as soon as it has approached the highest light, the knowledge of Self. He, in that state, is the highest person (uttama purusha). He moves about there laughing or eating, playing, and rejoicing in his mind, be it with women, carriages, or relatives, never minding that body into which he was born. - Chandogya Upanishad 8.12.3.
In his Govinda Bhasya commentary Sri Baladev Vidyabhusan then quotes the following verse from the Padma Purana:
anur nityo vyapti-silas cid-anandatmakas tatha
aham artho 'vyayah saksi bhinna-rupah sanatanah
The soul is atomic, eternal, is present by consciousness everywhere in the material body, is by nature full of spiritual bliss and knowledge, has a sense of individual identity, is unchanging, is a witness within the body, and is different from the Supreme.
Srila Baladev Vidyabhusan states that the spiritual form of bliss the liberated being attains is the original form of the soul that lay dormant within when the soul was in illusion. The Vedanta Sutra tells us that the spiritual body of the liberated being is the soul's original form. This form is a form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, as is mentioned in the verse above (cid-ananda-atma). It is not that the soul attains liberation and enters into a spiritual body or a form of existence which is an external imposition, an external state of being different from the self itsef. Not at all. The liberated soul realizes the spiritual nature of one's own inner being."


This, however, does not contradict the 'superimposition of a siddha svarūpa'. The above quotes of Narottama and Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja make it clear that one does meditate on details of the siddha svarūpa in an unripe state. The quotes from Baladeva and the Upaniṣads simply state that the soul is unchangeable, intrinsically spiritual etc, and there is neither acceptance or rejection of meditating on the details of one's siddha-svarūpa in these quotes.

By saying It is not that the soul attains liberation and enters into a spiritual body or a form of existence which is an external imposition, an external state of being different from the self itsef. Not at all. The liberated soul realizes the spiritual nature of one's own inner being." Muralidhara contradicts himself, as in the beginning of his essay he did acknowledge the validity of the siddha praṇālī-process given by "Gopal Guru Goswami, Dhyanacandra Goswami and other devotees of the past who had a real and direct understanding of the transcendental form of their innermost self (swarup siddha)."

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