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Thursday, June 22, 2006

64 rounds

The problems with the hard and fast rule that devotees all have to chant 64 rounds are -

1. It is a huge bulk- often it becomes a drag to daily do such a mountain of sadhana, and when one gets upset with it that results in nāmāparādha (prīti rahita, having no love for the chanting).

2. The mind is fickle and is hard to concentrate for so many hours.

3. Humans are created in the mode of passion – rajasi pralayaṁ gatvā karma-saṅgiṣu jāyate (B.Gītā 14.15) karma-saṅgiṣu karmāsakta manuṣyeṣu (Viśvanātha ṭīkā) The body is passionate and restless and when one has such a huge quota to do one starts wandering around with one’s beads, combining japa with other things, thus making the offense of pramāda japa, inattentive chanting.

4. One may get into a mechanical daily routine (again the prīti rahita-aparādha)

5. Often one becomes proud of one's high quota of chanting, and
5.a. when pride comes in the whole sacrifice is lost or becomes little more than a pious activity.

6. One often simply lacks the ruci and thus the spiritual energy to chant 64 rounds.

7. Chanting one lakh of japa is completely impracticable for a busy householder or even for a sādhu who is busy serving the Guru, the deities, the Vaiṣṇavas or the cows in an āśram.

8. Quantity does not guarantee quality. It is not like karma yoga. Vallabhācārya teaches – na hi sādhana sampattyā hariḥ tuṣyati karmavat – ‘It is not a huge amount of sādhana that will please Hari, as if it is karma.’ bhaktānāṁ dainyam evaikaṁ hari-toṣana sādhana – ‘It is only the devotees’ humility that can satisfy Hari.’ This point is also made in Caitanya Caritāmṛta –

heno kṛṣṇa nāma yadi loy bahu bāra,
tabe yadi prema nohe nohe aśru-dhāra
tabe jāni aparādha tāhāte pracura;
kṛṣṇa nāma bīja tāte nā hoy aṅkura

“If one takes that Kṛṣṇa-nāma many times but there is no love and one sheds no tears, then I know that there is ample offence there, that blocks the sprouting of the seed of the Kṛṣṇa-nāma.”

Sādhu Bābā was not against chanting a high quota of japa, but he cautioned: mūla-kathā lakṣya bhraṣṭa hoiyā lakṣa nāme-o lakṣya pauñchāno jāy nā  “When one loses track of the essence one can chant 64 rounds but will still not attain that target.” With that he meant that one must continue to think of the mantra-devatā (Kṛṣṇa) while chanting the mantra, otherwise what is the use?

If one is able to sit down in peace and chant 64 rounds then that is great. Sādhu Bābā taught his followers:

japārthe śrī-śrī hari-nāmera mālā loiyā pathe ghāṭe hāṭe bājāre loka saṅgharṣe pādukā pāye, golpo juḍiyā tāmbūla carvaṇa korite korite colā niṣedha. tāhāte śrī śrī nāmera maryādā-hānī hoy nāme ruci to kasmin-kāle-o āse nā, baraṁ 'ahaṁ' abhimāna bṛddhi pāy evaṁ śrī-śrī nāmera caraṇe mahā aparādha ghaṭe

“It is forbidden to take one’s japa-mālā out on the road, to the market, to the bathing-places, to public gatherings, wearing shoes, talking to others or chewing betel-nuts – it will be disrespectful to Śrī Harināma. In this way ruci for harināma will never come, rather there will be an increase of ego and it will create a big offence at the lotus-feet of Śrī Harināma.”

If one can still do 64 rounds, within such parameters, then what could be greater than that?

55 comments:

  1. With some practice, one lakh of names takes around four hours, one sixth of our twenty-four hours. I believe many of our busy householders could easily manage them time for a lakh of names if they gave up anarthas such as watching TV and indulging in mundane music and literature.

    Would you want to comment on Mahaprabhu's wish for chanting a lakh of names, why did he say he wouldn't eat in the house of someone who wasn't a laksapati if such a practice isn't practicable for the bulk of his followers?

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  2. Madhava: "Would you want to comment on Mahaprabhu's wish for chanting a lakh of names, why did he say he wouldn't eat in the house of someone who wasn't a laksapati if such a practice isn't practicable for the bulk of his followers?"

    I couldnt give you more of a fullproof comment than the following one: First of all, Mahaprabhu said he would anyway only eat from brahmins, that is clearly written in the Caitanya Bhagavat text, so since you and I and none of us are even Hindus at all, let alone brahmins, will Mahaprabhu not eat from us you think? Secondly, in 16th century India the brahmins may not have had a heavy 9 to 5 job with hours of commuting time added to it (I do grant you that some grihasthas do boogy a lot of spare time away, but that is why they are grihasthas - grihasthas are fallen souls). Thirdly, a clever guy who chants one lakh in 4 hours. Chanting what? ramramramramramramram? Doing one lakh would take me and most other sadhakas at least 8 hours. Fourthly, I made no less than 8 objections, you have reacted to just one of them. Seems like I still have a pretty strong case.

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  3. The question of people being able to currently chant a lakh of names aside, do you see that as something we should work towards? After all, one would expect that in the course of one's practical services a taste for the object of the service, Krishna, would increase – which would naturally also reflect in increased taste for the name.

    As for four hours – you are very welcome to come and sit around to listen the ram-ram-ram. Most sadhakas I've discussed with, who are in the habit of doing upamsu or manasika-japa, quote around 4 hours for an average time a lakh takes. At a moderate speed, if one does not pause for breathing but rather does upamsu or manasika while inhaling (that is, if he does full vacika at other times to begin with), it comes to around 25 mantras per minute, or four minutes per mala, which makes 64 minutes for 16 rounds.

    I have no objection to your objections, they are for the most part valid objections. However, I see them more as issues to be tackled rather than principles etched in stone. Rather than "Oh, because of this I shouldn't", I would tend to think of "What shall I do to rectify these" as the desirable approach.

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  4. Madhava: "The question of people being able to currently chant a lakh of names aside, do you see that as something we should work towards?"

    A: "Sadhu Baba was not against chanting a high quota of japa..."
    "If one is able to sit down in peace and chant 64 rounds then that is great."
    "If one can still do 64 rounds, within such parameters, then what could be greater than that? "

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  5. I am trying to work towards doing 64 rounds a day. My Guru Maharaj said I could do 64 when he gave me Harinama. As you said, Advaitadas, if you are busy (I am very busy) you simply don't have enough hours in the day to do archan, nama-seva, 9-5 work (or 8-5:30, which is what i do), etc etc. But again as Madhava said we can chant quickly without saying ra ra ra. I make sure I hear every syllable and if I cant I repeat that syllable. I am no saint I am a sinner but I'm trying to chant attentively. Like your Sri Gurudev said, I don't chant on my beads outside of my house. In fact my son recently chastised me for lying down on my back and chanting on my japa-mala. He caught me doing that.

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  6. I'm not sure I agree with this point per se given that Mahaprabhu enthusiastically desired for his followers to become 'laksheshvaras', although I appreciate the practical problems that some people may face.

    Even so, I think it would take me a long time to finish that quota because I personally enjoy giving my full attention to Their Lordships while performing japa. When I get absorbed like that, it takes me around 15 minutes to do just one round. :-/

    I was very interested to her Sadhu Baba's comments about not doing japa putside and so on. I wonder what is the convention for doing japa in the land of Gauranga? Is it just to sit down in one place and not do any more on the mala anywhere else, unless you return to sit in that place? I wonder why there is such disparity in places like ISKCON, where they chant anywhere and everywhere while doing all sorts of mundane things too. I know of a devotee who drives his car while chanting on mala. Some people might find it admirable, I find it accident-prone. ;-)

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  7. @ Madhava: Sorry, despite it all I still insist on the quantity matter - is Krishna such a calculator machine that he will ONLY accept a person who chants His name exactly 36.5 million times a year, 365 million times a decade, and not one syllable less?

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  8. What did Sri Chaitanya say was the criteria for one to be considered as a vaishnava?

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  9. "I wonder what is the convention for doing japa in the land of Gauranga? Is it just to sit down in one place and not do any more on the mala anywhere else, unless you return to sit in that place? I wonder why there is such disparity in places like ISKCON, where they chant anywhere and everywhere while doing all sorts of mundane things too."

    Unfortunately the practise of pramaada japa is widespread, all Vaishnava groups commit it, not just ISKCON. They consider quantity more important than quality, and, at any cost want to finish their quota. Whether Mahaprabhu would eat from a person who is doing such japa is my question.

    "I know of a devotee who drives his car while chanting on mala. Some people might find it admirable, I find it accident-prone. ;-) "

    You might like to peruse my blog 'pramaada japa' of May 14th.

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  10. Jijaji: "What did Sri Chaitanya say was the criteria for one to be considered as a vaishnava?"

    yAra mukha hoite ek krishna naam - sei to vaishnav taate koroho sammaana - 'From whose mouth emanates one name of Krishna, he is a Vaishnava - give him honour."

    I think, though, that a Vaishnava could do more than that, perhaps not 100.000 but a bit more than 1....

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  11. Despite the comments "of course it's great", I get the vibes, reading this blog entry, that 64 rounds is not something most people should even bother trying to do, because it's so hard.

    Besides, from one lakh there's still a long way to go to what Namacarya Haridas Thakur did, the three daily lakhs.

    Certainly it's a quality thing, but with increased quantity chances are you will get at least some of it straight, as you'll have to really sit down and focus to get larger quantities done – while a small quota you can blurb through without taste anytime. Larger quotas just don't work if nama-ruchi is weak, and weak nama-ruchi generally is due to aparadha; chanting more then forces you to face those issues and to remedy them, and that can only be beneficial in so many ways.

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  12. Larger quotas just don't work if nama-ruchi is weak, and weak nama-ruchi generally is due to aparadha

    This is an excellent point.

    How many people say, "As a householder, I am so busy that i can only find an hour or two each day to sleep?" How many say, "I'm so busy that I can't take time to eat?" Very few. Yet people commonly say, "I'm so busy that I can't find time for japa."

    The reality is that people make time for what they enjoy doing. People find time to "overeat" and "oversleep" if this is what they enjoy, and similarly there is plenty of time in the day to "over-chant" if that is the priority. Certainly our bodies require food and rest, but I rarely meet any people who could not devote four hours per day to japa if this were their priority.

    Have you chanted 64 rounds today? How many minutes have you spent on the computer today? How many rounds of japa could you have chanted in the time you spent on the computer?

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  13. Is the last paragraph addressed to a particular individual, or is it a general statement for all readers?

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  14. I didn't save the earlier post, Advaita.

    As far as the japa topic, I do like the point you have somewhere (blog or one of the pdfs) about chanting a set number in front of your Thakurji, as a part of daily sadhana. I think that is a nice approach--try to create a regular, attentive practice.

    A friend told me recently of a japa "workshop" in which participants chanted 64 rounds daily for a week or so. They apparently had a very good experience doing so, although on the first day one person threw their beads away in disgust! Regular, periodic attempts to chant 64 rounds seems like a good approach: ekadasis, niyam-seva, etc.

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  15. About the 'workshop'-idea - the idea to chant any amount of japa, small or large, in the company of others gives me the creeps. In the company of beloveds one would start chatting with each other, in the company of (semi-) strangers one would feel uncomfortable, check eachother out with the eyes. The best is just yourself and Thakurji.

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  16. This remind sme of a story I read in regards to BP Puri Maharaj. His tip for chanting 64 rounds rounds was to chant 16 rounds in four sittings.

    One in the early morning, one around noon, one in the afternoon and other in the evening, or something like that. In any case, you could try doing it at the sandhya times even though there are only three sandhyas.

    Still, I thought it was a nice tip.

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  17. Yes, though this again is only possible for an unemployed single, not a woman with three children or a man who commutes for hours to his 9-5 job.

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  18. Radhe!!!

    I know that 64 rounds is a good thing, a wonderful thing.

    I admit that I could chant much more than 16 rounds and I admit that Madhavaji is totally right about TV and mundane books...

    But I would love to hear him speak as a man with my working hours:
    6:30 am leaving, 15:00h coming home.
    After a tough day as a school teacher, the mind is really strained and honestly, sometimes a good movie and a good book is very welcomed.

    Yes, I know that this is "maya", but I am not at a level of getting up at like 2:00am or chant some 32 rounds AFTER a tough school-day...

    But it is a goal to be focused on...

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  19. ..."6:30 am leaving, 15:00h coming home. After a tough day as a school teacher, the mind is really strained and honestly, sometimes a good movie and a good book is very welcomed"....

    This is the common reality of most adults today who have kids in the world. I don't think 64 rounds should be mandatory nor should those who cannot chant 64 be discriminated against.

    This is one thing I feel should be altered for westeners. ;)

    as Tarun says:
    ..."But it is a goal to be focused on"....

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  20. Why westerners only? Indians have large extended families and 9-5 jobs plus commuting too. I dont know any Indian grihastha who's doing one lakh. Doesnt mean that they dont exist, but still.......

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  21. It's not a question of its being mandatory per se, as a social requirement or the such. Its only mandatoriness comes from its effect on bhajana, and that cannot be changed with resolutions or dissolutions.

    As I said elsewhere, people choose their lifestyles. If one needs fancy houses, fancy cars, fancy clothes, opulent food and so forth, he'll need to live with the long working hours it takes to get the necessary money together.

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  22. Unfortunately in certain circles it is really a social must to do one lakh. That actually opens a whole new can of worms - social pressure in certain circles to be seen to be doing 1 lakh. What quality will come forth from that?

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  23. Could you please specify the circles — do you mean the samaj at Radha-kunda? If so, when is the last you've checked in on how many are actually doing that lakh, and how much it is expected?

    While social pressure generally does not translate into quality per se, that doesn't mean it cannot have a useful function as a maintainer of daily devotional routine. How many "raganugiyas" have degraded some of their standards since their IGM days?

    This social impetus comes in two flavors, social pressure and social support, and the distinction between the two is a fine line indeed.

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  24. Madhava: "Could you please specify the circles — do you mean the samaj at Radha-kunda?"

    As I have stated in my blog of June 17, my sites are "not meant as an affront to any particular Vaishnava camp." and "When we differ in opinion from a major modern GV Acarya this will be
    expressed in a polite, non-offensive manner, respecting the maryada.." So in this case I am obliged to decline an answer.
    Rather, I will add another question:
    And what will be the motivation of the chanter in chanting 64 rounds under such social circumstances of expectation or subtle pressure?

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  25. The motivation will undoubtedly be In an environment where chanting a lakh is called for, the chanting of those without a natural inclination to do so is undoutbtedly mixed with a desire for approval from other devotees.

    However, is that necessarily bad?

    etan nirvidyamānānām icchatām akuto-bhayam |
    yogināṁ nṛpa nirṇītaṁ harer nāmānukīrtanam || BhP 2.1.11

    You have to start somewhere. The name will gradually purify the heart.

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  26. "a desire for approval from other devotees."

    That is one thing, a hurdle of acceptance is another. And nirvidyamAna = being tired of material existence. Seems a bit out of place when we speak about a thing like social acceptance. (This is about as far as I want to head in this type of sensitive direction)

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  27. It is both for those, who are tired of material existence, and those filled with desires. Jiva Gosvami: icchatāṁ kāmināṁ tat-tat-phala-sādhanam etad eva, nirvidyamānānāṁ mumukṣūṇāṁ mokṣa-sādhanam etad eva ityAdi...

    I understand you don't want to name any particular "circles". That aside, in my personal view, one should not become a vairagi if he cannot accomplish a lakh of names, and it is well justified to expect a vairagi to chant at least that much.

    The duty of a vairagi, according to Mahaprabhu, was — vairāgī karibe sadā nāma-saṅkīrtana / māgiyā khāñā kare jīvana rakṣaṇa //. Better one become solid in sadhana before adopting the garment of a renunciate.

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  28. Madhava: "The duty of a vairagi, according to Mahaprabhu, was — vairāgī karibe sadā nāma-sankīrtana.."

    1. nama sankirtan actually refers to loud group chanting with drums and cymbals, which brings me to another objection I have to 'certain circles' - they spend lots of time doing (mostly pramAda) japa but practically no time in harinam sankirtan. I know actually just one member of that circle who is really devoted to fulltime Harinam Sankirtan. For me, half an hour of riproaring kirtan does more to me than 8 hours of japa.
    2. As for Haridas Thakur chanting 3 lakhs of japa, well he obviously had that particular function within the circle of Mahaprabhu's parikaras. The others werent seen doing such an exclusive japa sadhana, but rather engaged in kirtan, writing books, preaching and so many other services.

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  29. The term nama-sankirtan is also used for japa done with full attention and relish. See Sri Ananta Das Babaji's vyakhya on the first sloka of Siksastaka for explanation of the dual use of the word.

    As much is evident from Mahaprabhu's words to Haridas Thakur (Caitanya-caritamrita 3.4.101):

    pratyaha kara tina-lakSa nAma-saGkIrtana |
    sabAra Age kara nAmera mahimA kathana ||


    "Every day, you are doing three lakhs of nama-sankirtan, narrating the glory of the Name before everyone."

    Now, three lakhs of nama-sankirtan with khola and karatalas would be a feat indeed!

    Prema-vilasa (ch. 17) notes that Mahaprabhu was also in the habit of chanting three lakhs, giving one lakh to his followers – prabhura AchAye saGkhya tina lakSa nAma / eka lakSa bhakta-gaNe kaila kRpA dAna //.

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  30. These are the holy words of Sriman Mahaprabu Himself:

    CC Madhya 22.128: "One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, reside at Mathurā and worship the Deity with faith and veneration.

    CC Madhya 22.129: "These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Kṛṣṇa.

    CC Madhya 22.130: "'With love and full faith one should worship the lotus feet of the Deity.

    CC Madhya 22.131: "'One should taste the meaning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the association of pure devotees, and one should associate with the devotees who are more advanced than oneself and who are endowed with a similar type of affection for the Lord.

    CC Madhya 22.132: "'One should congregationally chant the holy name of the Lord and reside in Vṛndāvana.'

    CC Madhya 22.133: "'The power of these five principles is very wonderful and difficult to understand. Even without faith in them, a person who is offenseless can awaken his dormant love of Kṛṣṇa simply by being a little connected with them.'

    CC Madhya 22.134: "When one is firmly fixed in devotional service, whether he executes one or many processes of devotional service, the waves of love of Godhead will awaken.

    CC Madhya 22.135: "There are many devotees who execute only one of the nine processes of devotional service. Nonetheless, they get ultimate success. Devotees like Mahārāja Ambarīṣa execute all nine items, and they also get ultimate success.

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  31. Madhurya Kadambini 2.3 - Does Vaishnava ninda not apply only to pure devotees?

    Sri Ananta das Babaji gives the following conclusion:

    Therefore, in order to attaining success in chanting the Holy Name, one should follow Narottam Das Thakur’s advice:

    nä laibe käro doña, nä koribe käro roña praëamaha sabära caraëa

    Do not find fault with anyone; do not become angry with anyone. Rather, offer obeisances to everyone’s feet.
    (Prema-bhakti-candrikä, 119)

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  32. I wanted to highlight this from Prema-vilasa.

    gaurāṅga śrī-mukhe rūpe kahila vaiṣṇave |
    lakṣa nāma saṅkhya kari avaśya karibe ||


    "With his own words, Gaurāṅga told to Rūpa and the Vaiṣṇavas that the counting of one hundred thousand names is certainly to be done."

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  33. Dear vaisnavas! Dandavats.

    In general ideas expressed by Advaitadas and Madhavananda das respectively (my reading, hope it’s fare enough):
    1.We should focus on the quality, on the essence of our practice, not just high number of rounds,
    2. We should try to make endeavors to increase our daily number. The quality naturally comes with intensity.
    These are two solid views. I’d like to contribute to these my childish view.

    Bhakti-Devi descends from above and gives us Her mercy in the form of a regulation (vaidhi): ”Do like this”. She is just perfect and She humbly waits for our attention. We are free to accept Her simple and friendly proposal at any time, fully or to some extent, according to our faith. So a faithful persons’ concern is:
    3. What my most revered Guru has told me personally (and keeps telling)? What HE wants? I’ll just do it.
    Sounds impractical?

    Now, also we are free to engage our mental power in the research:
    1. How can I improve my practice?
    2. How can I make it naturally going adjusting it to my individual circumstances?
    Fare presentation? Clear.

    Allright. (I say it to myself:) Have a faith in your Guru. Guru has already arranged for you all perfection, all favorable circumstances, all power, and what not, even beyond your expectation. Isn’t your Guru like that?

    And then what has been left as my personal responsibility? That intellectual researching work, the ‘buddhi-yoga’? That concern with my upliftment on the stairs of perfection? That fine management of my sadhana-process? The more I look into the nature of Bhakti the more I notice that all of these things are somewhat artificial. “Krishna consciousness is not an artificial imposition of the mind…” (Prabhupada). The relevant sastric reference, I think, is in BRS: “even favorable gnana is not useful in sadhana-bhakti but only in the very beginning”. So only a loving service is the matchless gift. This opportunity is mercifully offered to me.

    It is good to feel the different flavors in different opportunities and then I am free to decide.

    The mercy of Guru and Gauranga is a most colossal flow, beyond any measurement and parameters like ‘quality/quantity’. What calculation will do? But since I am accustomed to my mental process, Kaviraj Gosvami says, think of unprecedented Mahaprabhu’s mercy. So I do.

    Written by a mental, fanatical attention whore.

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  34. Dear Advaitadasji! Dandavat.

    Now it’s a hottest time in Vraja, please forgive me for my exploded exposure.

    One point you made in this discussion on “64” - that Mahaprabhu addressed just a particular group of His followers – the Puri Brahmins – to become laksapatis, etc.

    In addition I’d suggest that those mahatmas were very fortunate to receive such special mercy as the direct order of Mahaprabhu. We should be happy by seeing such fortunate souls around us who read CC, CB with faith and receive direct orders from Mahaprabhu (and then spread the news around for the welfare of all). Isn’t everyone free to read CC, CB and decide: “I will go every year to Puri for Gundica Marjana, for Ratha-yatra. Mahaprabhu expressed His wish”, or “He will come to my house to accept my offerings!”

    Those personal devotional sentiments, I think, should be respected in a mood ‘guhyam akhyati prcchati’ (Upades.,4) Isn’t it? Otherwise why to discourage him: ”O chandala! You think Mahaprabhu would eat from your hands?” Some devotees approach their Thakurs with a hope: “somehow… against all protocols… make impossible possible!” And look, we offer food to Krishna but Krishna eats only what is cooked by… And He is a vaisya and we aren’t… You see? Only a sacred hope leads us through a dense forest of such protocols.

    Sometimes eggs dare to teach a chicken.

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  35. Dear Advaitadas-Russia, when I spoke about Mahaprabhu only eating from brahmins I referred to Mahaprabhu's prakat lila, not to deities of Mahaprabhu that everyone serves in the present time. In His deity form He will surely accept loving offerings from any person from any gender, caste or race. There are of course parameters to that still, as you can read in Visvanatha Cakravartipada's commentary on patram puspam phalam toyam, but those parameters do not extend to birth.

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  36. ++++++++++++++ Dear Advaitadas-Russia, when I spoke about Mahaprabhu only eating from brahmins I referred to Mahaprabhu's prakat lila, not to deities of Mahaprabhu that everyone serves in the present time. In His deity form He will surely accept loving offerings from any person from any gender, caste or race. There are of course parameters to that still, as you can read in Visvanatha Cakravartipada's commentary on patram puspam phalam toyam, but those parameters do not extend to birth.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    In that commentary of Visvanath Cakravarti I learned:

    He will accept only from those who love Krishna. For such bhaktas He is not just a stature. It seems Visvanath Cakravarti is not concerned with a difference between a Deity form and a moving form. He just quotes Krishna’s words: ‘MY bhaktas’, ‘to ME’, ‘I accept’. So only an offering to a Person will be accepted. Krishna is not charmed by ritualistic bhakti anyway.

    Krishna ultimately accepts a purity of a devotee’s heart. So many stories show that Krishna/Goura in moving form or in a form of a Deity transgresses those rules of external purity. For instance,
    - Madan-mohan Deity being happy in a house of a Mathura brahmana before Sanatana Gosvami came there. That ‘worship’ was beyond rules of arcana-dipika.
    - Some stories say that sometimes Deities accepted offerings of menstruating pure hearted ladies, and of sincere prostitutes too, of some smoking, non-sadacari persons.
    - Mahaprabhu came (hidden to most, but still) to Panihati utsava and with Nityananda He enjoyed jhuta of so many bhaktas.
    - Small Krishna accepted offering of a pure hearted fruit-vendor lady.
    - Ramacandra accepted offerings of a forest lady who lovingly checked all fruits in advance with her slight bite – to offer only best fruits to Him! He noticed those bites and smiled.
    - so many stories tell how Deities ‘turn into’ Krishna/Gour-Nitai, because They ARE.

    The point I made is precisely supported by this commentary of Visvanath Cakravarti: ‘I accept only love’. The Sacred Hope is an essential rule. Seen in others should not be disputed but respected. Some particular rules are details wich are important in some other context. Sannyasi or not sannyasi, prakat lila or not prakat lila, Thakurji speaks or keeps silent – He is Krishna. There are no impossible dreams – Prataparudra Raja hopes to meet Him in person, Madhavananda dasji hopes to meet Him in person, and you, and so many others, and this wild creature too.

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  37. What you quote there are instances of mercy that should not be used to establish a rule, dear Advaitadas-II. Visvanatha Cakravarti writes in the patram puspam phalam toyam tika: kim ca ("that may be, that I only accept devotion, but still:") mad bhaktasyApy apavitra-zarIratve sati naznAmItyAha "I will not eat even from My devotee if he/she has an impure body". prayatAtmanaH zuddha zarIrasyeti rajasvalAdayo "The last word in the verse, prayatAtmanaH (often overlooked) means 'impure body, such as the one menstruating'.

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  38. *****instances of mercy that should not be used to establish a rule*****

    Do you mean something else and not mercy will work for me? And that rule is established not by me. Mercy means one has so much relish in bhakti that cases of breaking rules are just accidental.

    I have no any righteous claims – only I have a hope for mercy which is even much more exceptional than in those exceptional stories. I’ve studied so many different prayers of so many devotees – everyone hopes but for exceptional mercy only. Who said, now I have been strictly following all the rules - so You should give me Your darsan?

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  39. "Who said, now I have been strictly following all the rules - so You should give me Your darsan?"

    Dear Advaitadas-Russia, following the rules is the rule and not following them is the exception. If not it would open the floodgates to all kinds of anacara - not just impure worship, but even gross sins and crimes committed 'because mercy is transcendental to the rules'. It would create a dangerous precedent, you understand? Rupa Gosvami said in BRS that sadhana siddhi is the rule and krpa siddhi is the exception.

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  40. I bow down to this. But honestly, it’s like a policy of those who misunderstood you when you made your original points on “64 rounds” – they assumed that you wanted to discourage devotees to chant 1 lakh, although you didn’t. Now am I advocating breaking rules and even sinful activities on the strength of the mercy? But anyway, you, as an elder devotee, have cautioned me and that’s always beneficial! Haribol!

    Let’s blissfully come back to our topic. I stress it: absolutely any devotional sentiment is to be respected, no matter what, – the individual treasure of an individual. We are all UNIC in relation to God – ‘bahu syam’.

    Devotional feelings are the substance of spirituality. Sastra puts the essence and the details in their respective places:
    smartavyah satatam visnur vismartavyah na jatucit /
    sarve vidhi-nisedhah syur etayor eva kinkarah (C.C. 2.22.113)
    What happens if this essence is lost and some detailed rules are extolled over it? Then it is difficult to appreciate the greatness of advanced vaisnavas (in their individual outlook) and even sincerity of simple, unsophisticated bhaktas around us as well.

    Someone chants 1 lakh feeling Mahaprabhu addressing him personally – great!
    Someone chants 3 lakhs encouraged by Haridas Thakur – great! This is precisely the function of Nama-acarya – to encourage devotees to chant.
    Someone chants hardly 4 malas plus chants ‘jagai madhai hoite muni se papistha’ crying tears – this could be even greater, but who is to judge it?
    And still someone else may experience some hard-to-understand ‘alien’ sentiments like Gauranga-nagari-bhava or (again I am to extremes) may approach Radharani as one’s Mother. WHO IS TO JUDGE IT? Doesn’t a vaisnava history present a huge, unlimited variety of different devotional sentiments? And it teaches us the way they should be appreciated. The Kheturi festivals were the ideal of vaisnava sanga with many diverse views. Weren’t they?

    Some more examples. The Nitai-gour-radhe-shyam group was very popular in Orissa for decades and it was represented by a number of really great vaisnavas. In Puri Bhaktisiddhanta used to attack them: “in every corner of Orissa we should stick a leaflet: “their mantra is bogus! Not from sastra!” Whenever NGRS kirtan was going near GM he shouted: “Monkey kirtan is coming! Monkey kirtan is coming!” and induced his brahmacaris to start an uproar with cymbals and karatals. But once he admitted: “their siddhanta is wrong, but their conduct is pure. Ramdas Baba is spotless in his conduct.” In fact, Ramdas Baba just said, OK we will change the rout of our kirtan no to disturb GM. (source: memoirs of one GM member). The land and the sky! Isn’t it? With due respect my question to Bhaktisiddhanta would be: “again please – if pure, then what’s wrong?” No wonder, this is a common way of thinking: “Purity is purity and siddhanta is siddhanta.” Sorry, it sounds too down-to-earth! To Yamadutas such witches of duality! (I mean such gross vision)

    Mahaprabhu also could be misunderstood by many contemporaries when He chanted a verse from mundane poetry. The whole affair is to become crazy (no, no – it’s nice talk only!). They will make you crazy, just wait! We are trying our best to follow protocols and gradually understand: we are from one crazy world to another one…

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  41. Dear Advaitadas-II, indeed only God knows who is really sincere and that is the purpose behind my misgivings about the mechanical duty imposed upon Vaishnavas to chant 1 lakh. Having said that, just chanting four rounds and crying out 'I'm lower than a worm in stool' may also be a cheap shortcut and a show of humility, an excuse for laziness. As for GM and NGRS, I have friends in both camps but frankly speaking I dont think that either of these two groups are fully following the shastra. I mean, they do overwhelmingly but they have both changed and added some things. The outcome of that too is ultimately up to God to judge, but that does not mean that a sincere devotee should not do his best to follow shastra to the best of his/her ability and conscience.

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  42. I really love your love for truth, Advaitadasji-I ! Honestly, it is so helpful for my spiritual life! So the following is not an arguing but a positive contribution.

    The thing is, absolutely EVERYONE is doing his best. This is the teaching of SB 1st Canto – the story ‘Maharaja Pariksit meets Kaliyuga-purush and Dharma-purush’.

    I wish to say, it’s quite a fine etiquette: we can say everything what we know about ‘so and so’-person: how this and that ‘XXXsiddhanta’ behaves and speaks and thinks (even!). We can disagree completely and totally with a person. But we have no right to say, “He is not trying his best”. We should be careful not to take a position of an arbiter. Isopanisad,1 – “everyone gets his respective share of God’s mercy”. (Again, only nice talk, I am a nonsense, I know!)

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  43. Is there any particular sloka from the 1st Canto you can quote to prove that everyone is doing his best? We have, after all, so many divisions of karma-mishra bhakti, jnana mishra bhakti, 4 types of devotees who approach Krishna for different selfish reasons, kanishtha and madhyama adhikaris, Vaishnava praya, etc etc. I mean, I am all for appreciating all the devotees, but aren't you being a bit overly politically correct now?

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  44. When Dharma purush was asked who was at fault of breaking legs of a cow he pointed at 'the will from above' or something but not at that black 'king' with bloody hands. I read it many years ago and got such strong impression. I will look at the book again. Yes, I will try to support from sastra that OTHER'S MOTIVATIONS ARE UNDISPUTABLE! Now first of all: TRINAD API SUNICENA!

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  45. If one feels oneself low, patit – then only he can respect others. The negative vision also has given freely to us: “if you like, please try and see their faults…” The root of not respect is pride. Why not to offer respect to the sincere kanisthas, sincere madhyamas, and sincere uttamas? We are all children of God, – that is stressed in Bhagavatam, CC. This message is conveyed with so many slokas and stories – I have already quoted something.

    Having served that much bitter I wish to serve a dessert here from your site– also praman:

    December, 1983 — Returning from Vraja I hear that sringara is stolen from
    Gopäla's Mandir, at clear daylight. Still Bäbä does not report to the police— “sädhus don’t
    do that – otherwise they are just as bad as the thieves.” Krsna Das: “I told Bäbä that the
    theft took place at midday. Bäbä replied: “Gopala has given it to them – you should know
    that for sure – their necessity is greater than mine.' After that he fell silent. He never mentioned it again.

    I love it!

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  46. Thank you for serving this sweet Sadhu Baba Caritamrita - however, despite your ardent preaching of humility, there is a certain etiquette to be kept and a certain standard to be upheld - if not, the whole Vaishnava society would slide down to anacara and apasiddhanta. It is true, Rupa Gosvami said one should offer mental obeisances to anyone who takes the name of Krishna, bow down to the initiated and serve the experienced devotees. Everyone should be respected and if I fail in that then you are welcome to remind me of it. Nevertheless the highest standard must be preached to avoid this sampradaya from becoming an apasampradaya of loose repute. Agree?

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  47. ++++++++++++++++Nevertheless the highest standard must be preached to avoid this sampradaya from becoming an apasampradaya of loose repute. Agree? ++++++++++++++++

    Yes, I agree. Let’s cut down apasiddhanta with a sharpest sword! We both have been discussing siddhanta for last about 15 posts. Please don’t take it as my preaching – this is ‘siddhanta boliya citte na koro alasa’ only!

    Now one good praman for ‘everyone does his best’: Gita 4.11 ‘mama vartmanuvartante manusyah partha sarvasah’ – ‘I lead all people on My path, in all respects’. See also Gita 13.30-35.

    Again I want to confirm: I am discussing this and that essential tattva not with a purpose to put down other tattvas – other many standards and rules. And if you’ve got a feeling “This Russian Advaita wants to point at my lacking respect to others” – I say: don’t take it like that – I am just running after some good expression of extremely fine principles.

    Sarve sukhino bhavantu – let everyone be happy!

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  48. This morning I studied SB 1.17 to find out if everybody is doing their best and I couldnt find it, and as far as mama vartmanuvartante manusya partha sarvazah is concerned, have you read Visvanatha Cakravartipada's comment on that? He says: "Whoever accepts My form to be real, I will make him My eternal associate and give him residence in the spiritual sky, while those who think my form is perishable and material, I let them take birth after birth in the ropes of maya." Everyone is a part and parcel of the Lord, that is what is said in that phrase mama vartmanuvartante of the Gita, but that doesnt mean that everyone is doing his best. I think perhaps you are living up a bit too much to (the other meaning of) your name, advaita.
    Remember that advaitadas means the servant of Advaita Acarya, who was named so because he saw only one meaning in the Gita (bhakti).

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  49. Eventually they all will accept bhakti, the sweetest thing, no problem. Krishna is already giving bhakti to everyone but not by force. Everyone has to fulfill his desires – see the example of Gopa Kumar.

    Opinions can be wrong but hearty feelings are never.

    I wish to clarify more on the point of humility. It is a good level – not call anyone personally malicious, pretentious, crooked, two-tongued, characterless, proud, wicked, deceitful, envious, fallen, destructive, demoniac, selfish, dishonest, etc. Of course, it’s not so easy. I feel, it is the essential rule of paka-vaisnavism. And how do you feel, is it not completely wrong? I am not sarcastic, please!

    My signature here is not only Advaitadas-russian but that long list of bad names above.

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  50. I love the advice of Sadhu Baba: if one is not on the shore of a real, inside out vairagi and also not on the shore of a sense enjoyer – then one drowns in-between as a pretender. Take shelter of one shore firmly! So better I think myself a nonsense firmly – not just ‘well, perhaps’. I know, you would react: don’t find excuses for your petty weakness in the teachings of Sadhu Baba! But see again, how everything is up to our personal feeling! Every individual will accept this and that instruction with his personal feeling – you cannot change it. The heart naturally accepts what it feels better – and the heart will accept bhakti sooner or later. My heart is gradually accepting bhakti but some other things are still standing more attractive, cannot help. ‘Lament, o servant of Hari!’

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  51. "I know, you would react: don’t find excuses for your petty weakness in the teachings of Sadhu Baba!"

    I would never think or say that (about you). Taking shelter of the shore of the enjoyers is allright, honesty is all that matters. Mahaprabhu said antare vairagya bahye loka vyavahara - 'Be internally renounced and externally behave like the common man'. Unfortunately we often see people doing the reverse: Dressing renounced and thinking or acting like the common man. Beautiful comment, advaitadas-russian!

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  52. 'Beautiful comment, advaitadas-russian' - now I've got it! What you think, my heart would enjoy more? I don't know any better siddhanta - I am happy, Advaitadasji! Jay sankirtan, jay Haribol!

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  53. Advaita dasji, is the quote "japArthe zrI-zrI harinAmera..." from Hari Bhakti Vilasa? Can you please give the exact reference? Thank you.

    Ananta Ram das
    sanskritam@gmail.com

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  54. Hector,
    No, this is a Bengali text, and is a personal teaching of my Gurudev Prabhupad Sri Nikunja Gopal Goswami only.

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