Follow by Email

Monday, July 31, 2006

Summerlawn satsaṅga.

For my private encounter with Śrīpad Satya-nārāyan Das I travel to the town of Amstelveen, where I meet him on the lawn of the spacious bungalow of his Dutch host. I step up to him to touch his feet but instead he warmly, blissfully and firmly embraces me.

There are clearly lots of similarities between the teachings of Sādhu Bābā and Haridās Śāstri - Satya-nārāyan proves from the Bhāgavata (7.15.25) that if the Guru wishes to engage the śiṣya in practical service at the total expense of his nāma bhajan then that is all right. According to the Guru's order the śiṣya either performs full-time sādhana and no practical service or full time service and no sādhana. The Guru decides. etat sarvaṁ gurau bhaktyā puruṣo hyañjaso jayet - everything is accomplished simply by serving the Guru. (There are other verses in Jīva Gosvāmī's Bhakti Sandarbha and a Bhāgavata-comment by Viśvanātha Cakravartī that confirm that in some cases only practical service to the Guru is rendered)

He confirms also that the Guru is beyond his flesh and blood and will act with his śiṣyas also after his 'death'. Even after the Guru is gone, his śiṣyas will realise their siddha svarūpa if he has not given them siddha praṇālī.

The word prasaṅga means chanting līlā to the Guru like Svarūpa Dāmodara and Rāmānanda Rāya chanted to Mahāprabhu, the mere presence of the Guru/sādhu, or hearing from him. It is all prasaṅga. The Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu verses that describe how 9 bhaktas like Hanumān, Śukadeva and Parīkṣit each attained perfection through just one of the 9 bhakti-limbs, while Ambariṣa Mahārāja attained perfection by practising all of them proves that it is optional and either way will do.

Another point of agreement is our japa-practise. Like us, they also chant japa only in private and not in public. Like us, they also insist you can only think of one thing at a time and there is also a thing called artha bhāvanā, meditating on the meaning of the mantra, described in śāstra (HBV 8.422 and 7.129), which is of course fully impossible while driving a car. Once some devotees challenged Satya-nārāyan "We never see you chanting! Do you really chant?" upon which he answered "You also never see me pass stool. Do you think I don't do that either?"

Staying with japa, he also says that the theories about the 108 beads on the mālā being 108 gopīs are hearsay, loka-paramparā. One would be massaging a gopī each time one fingers a bead! Of course, nonetheless the beads are made of Tulsī-wood and should therefore be fingered with clean hands.

Satya-nārāyaṇa confirms that the famous dau śraddhā tato sādhu-saṅga'-verses (1.4.15-16) and the three verses about the kaniṣṭha, madhyama and uttamādhikārī (divided by faith and knowledge, 1.2.17-19) in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu count for both vaidhi- and rāga-bhakti and that before śraddhā already some satsaṅga had taken place. The first is without faith and the second is with faith.

The worship of the four-armed form being rāgānugā bhakti, as was claimed by Kuśakratha Dās in his translation of Bhakti Sandarbha 325 is wrong, rather it is just the other way around. Right after that Jīva Gosvāmī says tatra ca śuddhasya rāgasya śrī gokule eva darśanāt - pure rāga is only seen in Śrī Gokula, which means that Mathurā and Dvārakā may have some rāga, but it is not pure. rāga is there outside of Vraja for instance when Vasudeva takes Kṛṣṇa to Gokula from Mathurā, fearing He is in danger in Mathurā. According to the end of the Bhakti Sandarbha, even the prostitute Piṅgalā is nourishing a type of rāgānugā bhakti towards Kṛṣṇa.

His explanation of Bhakti Sandarbha's (283) sentence divyaṁ jñānaṁ hyatra śrīmatī mantre bhagavat svarūpa jñānaṁ tena bhagavata sambandha jñānam ca is also very interesting. He says that both revelationists (IGM) and siddhi-praṇālī-vādis (bābājīs) are vindicated in it. śrīmatī mantre shows that indeed the mantra does reveal the form of the Lord and one's relationship with Him, and bhagavata sambandha jñāna can also indicate siddha-praṇālī, which he acknowledges did not exist at the time of the Gosvāmīs, who did not need it because they were anyway nitya siddhas.

Finally when we end the discussion with the topic of āhāra śuddhi he reveals that not only grains cooked by impure persons will pollute the heart but ANY cooked food, like boiled veggies, will. Cooked grains will be more polluting though. He points out that the word anna in the verses that warn against eating cooked food from impure people does not only mean grains but food in general also.

(Edited 2.8.06 15.44 CET, 13.1.10, 9.30 CET]


  1. Dear Advaitadas,
    Since you are talking about some related topics, might I ask you (and Satyanarayana dasji) about the "guru given svarupa" and "inherent svarup" issue. As we discussed before, this matter is discussed in Govinda Bhasya verses 4.4.1-18 and it seems clear from what Baladeva says there that the spiritual form of the self is inherent and that a jiva is never given a spiritual body at any time.

  2. This is not a topic I am very expert in (yet). You may like to approach Satyanarayan Das about this, or other readers of this blogspot may like to start a discussion on this on this page.

  3. Murali, your point is debated at, under blog 'The spiritual form', comments.