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Friday, June 16, 2006

Plagiarism, concurring realizations or devotional copying?

At Audarya (post 12 and beyond)* the issue of Nārāyaṇa Maharaja using Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī’s and Ananta Dās Bābājī’s Vilāpa Kusumāñjali-purports is being discussed. The question is, is it plagiarism, concurring divine realizations or devotional copying due to 100% agreement?

For instance, all three comments on Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.182 – by Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, Mukunda Dās Gosvāmī and Viśvanātha Cakravartī - are verbatim the same (the famous story of the Brahmin burning his fingers on the mentally offered sweet-rice). Now certainly Mukunda and Viśvanātha were not illiterate and they had access to Jīva Gosvāmī’s ṭīkās, so the explanation that they had concurring, parallel transcendental realizations is, however devotionally it is meant, not realistic. As a matter of fact, many of Viśvanātha Cakravartī’s ṭīkās of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu are verbatim copies of Jīva Gosvāmī’s, and mostly without acknowledging him. Senior followers of Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja already conceded that he took purports from Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī and Ananta Dās Bābājī, so the ‘concurring realizations’ explanation does not work. There are also Mukundāṣṭakams by Rūpa Gosvāmī and Raghunātha Dās Gosvāmī that are verbatim the same, of which some say they were concurring realizations. And the Caitanya Caritāmṛta purports of Bhaktivinode and Bhaktisiddhānta were not ‘parallel realized’ by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swāmi either, but simply translated by him. Just some thoughts......

* Unfortunately Audarya Fellowship folded and the link died, so it is deleted March 13, 2010


  1. On Cakravartipada's not acknowledging Jiva Gosvami. A possible option is that Jiva's commentary was well-established and known, which was the cause for the lack of acknowledgement. Perhaps it was simply considered too obvious to mention?

    I would say that the line between plagiarism and "devotional copying due to 100% agreement" goes in not concealing the relationship between the source and the derivative.

  2. Yes, I agree. The problem with NM and all his IGM faithfellows remains that they are, er... less than flattering about caste gosvamis and babajis. That is why they are hesitant to acknowledge what they have learned from them. Actually, at the end of the famous December 1992 Vilapa Kusumanjali readings to the GBC, one sannyasi - I think it was Tamal - repeatedly asked NM about the sources of the purports after which NM briefly acknowledged "it is from Radhakund..."