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Friday, June 09, 2006

adhikāra for Rāsa-Līlā

In response to Keśavānanda’s question in the previous blog's comments box, about adhikāra for hearing of the Lord's intimate pastimes:

My Guru Sādhu Bābā, Kṛṣṇa dās Madrasi Bābā, Rohiṇīndranāth Mitra and Madan-mohan Dās Bābājī, all great souls, told me, independently from each other, it is better not to read rasa śāstra when one is too lusty. I understood that is because when one is an emotionally and physically active lover one will identify with the līlā of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and that is an offence called ahaṅgropāsana, meditating on oneself as the deity.

Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī says in Bhakti Sandarbha (276) that smaraṇa (even just of the holy name, let alone Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s intimate līlā) requires a pure heart – nāma smaranaṁ tu śuddhāntaḥ-karaṇatām āpekṣate. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has also written (Bhakti Sandarbha 275): atha śaraṇāpattyādibhiḥ śuddhāntaḥkaraṇas cet....nāma saṅkīrtanāparityāgena smaranaṁ kuryāt "When the mind is purified by the process of surrender, one should practise the devotional item of recollection without giving up nāma saṅkīrtana." kintu rahasya-līlā tu pauruṣa-vikāravad indriyaiḥ……nopāsya “But the intimate pastimes should not be meditated upon by (those whose) senses are affected by masculine transformations.” (Bhakti Sandarbha 338)

When one is less heated one can read these books, and the topic will work as a medicine, as has been promised by the Bhāgavata in the final verse of the Rāsa līlā-narration (10.33.39). There are subtle desires, called vāsanā, cherished by people who actually control their outer senses. That can be there, OK, and one can still read rasa śāstra, but to be grossly active in sex and read rasa śāstra, is not something approved by the mahātmās I knew. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī says in Gopāla Campū (pūrva 23.1): tad etad govinda vraja vijana kāntānuvacanaṁ dadhadbhir yogyasya śravasi paramāpyam na sadasi 'This confidential Rasa-lila topic is to be heard by qualified people who carry Govinda in their hearts, not in a public assembly."

As to your query why certain devotees fell down even after hearing and reading lots of Rāsa-līlā, that may not have been caused by that but by other factors - I do not believe, for a start, that westerners qualify for sannyāsa, and the past 40-year western Vaiṣṇava history has vindicated me in that. However, there can be other reasons as well - false show-bottle renunciation for pratiṣṭhā will not work in the long term (how long can one stand on one's toes before collapsing?), one gets proud of one's position, vaiṣṇava aparādha, who knows? Only God knows it.
Hope this helps.

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