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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Śikṣāṣṭakam


Sri Siksastakam by Swāmi BV Tripurāri

This booklet provides a very nice new elaboration on Mahāprabhu's 8 famous verses, though at various places Swāmījī did get inspired by Traditional Gauḍīya-teachings, notably in his comment on verse 5: On page 85 he makes the point of progressive revelation of the siddha deha based on SB 11.14.26, quoted from Rāgavartma Candrikā, which was first made on Gauḍīya Discussions a year or so ago. On page 86 he has quoted Narottama's āpnāra bhajan kothā nā kohibe yathā tathā and rākho prem hṛdoy bhoriyā, both cornerstone-teachings of Sādhu Bābā, quoted in his biography on my website, and on page 88 he has quoted the point Śrīla Ānanda Gopāla Gosvāmī made in his Vilāpa Kusumāñjali purports that kiṅkara(ī) means kiṁ karomi,"what shall I do?" He and a few other IGM sannyāsīs do have the habit of learning from, getting active support from and even quoting devotees that are considered taboo in their circles, without acknowledging them by name. This in itself is already not very honest, but unfortunately they (I am not sure if Tripurāri Swāmī does this too) sometimes even slam these sources as well, which is really far from proper Vaiṣṇava behaviour.

Interestingly, on page 85 Swāmījī interprets Rāgavartma Candrikā 1.9 to mean that saints, Guru or Supersoul can be alternative sources of the revelation of the siddha deha ("cultivating an inner spiritual identity"). This provides food for thought, though that is not to be literally found in the original text, nor from the context of the verse. The book does give a balanced and fair presentation of the siddha deha issue, which also raises questions about Swāmījī's sources, since the siddha deha-issue is shrouded with mystery, taboo and controversy in his circles. This booklet is fortunately more suitable to a devotee public than some of his previous publications which were clearly targeting the academics. Throughout the booklet Swāmijī gives a nice outline of Rūpa Goswāmī's rasa-tattva, which is badly needed in the western world.

Swāmī did make a few mistakes though. On page 73 he writes: "Although it is true that despite Kṛṣṇa's being primarily lost in love he nonetheless retains his Godhood and can thus hear the prayers of his sādhakas, one can legitimately ask at what stage of spiritual practice a sādhaka's prayers are capable of attracting Kṛṣṇa's personal attention and, furthermore, at what stage a sādhaka's seva becomes līlā-sevā, internal sevā that reaches Kṛṣṇa in his nitya-līlā. while some may insist that Kṛṣṇa personally listens to the prayers of his sādhakas at any stage of sādhana, Thākura Bhaktivinoda says, "The prayers of one who is a śaraṇāgata are heard by Śrī Nanda- kumāra." As we have already learned, śaraṇāgati is complete in the stage of ruci."

Interestingly enough, Tripurāri Svāmi states on page 74 that if one is disheartened by the fact that Kṛṣṇa Himself is not hearing one's prayers, the sādhaka should take solace in the fact that Mahāprabhu as Visvambhara is Jagadīśa (Paramātma) and Kṛṣṇa Himself. Therefore, the sādhaka should pray to Mahāprabhu, presumably until he reaches the stage of ruci when Vrajendranandana Kṛṣṇa Himself reciprocates with his prayers. This (typically Gaura-Kṛṣṇa bheda-buddhi-) theory cannot be verified independently. It is unacceptable that Kṛṣṇa really would not hear the prayers of anyone else but a surrendered soul. I do not know in which context Bhaktivinode says this (Swāmi quotes a song called aḍ aṅga śaraṇāgati), it may be meant as a statement of glorification but cannot be accepted as serious theology. Indeed, it is contradicted by the teachings of Viśvanāth Cakravartīpāda in Rāga Vartma Candrikā 2.1. Also, in the very end of the book (p. 128) Swami translates Svarūpa Dāmodara's famous rādhā bhāva dyuti subalitam naumi krsna svarūpam as 'Pranām to Gaura, who is endowed with Rādhā's countenance and personality'. Here 'Gaura' must be 'Kṛṣṇa'.

Page 73 furthermore contains the controversial statement that '...the baddha jivas are originally manifest from the Paramātmā', whereas from the Bhagavad Gītā it is clear that the jīva has no origin since it is beginningless - na tvevāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ na tvaṁ neme narādhipāḥ (BG 2.12).
It is not clear what Swāmījī's source is for this theory.

As for the cover design, the artist should have been notified that before 1918 there were no saffron dhotis in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya.

The paragraph starting with 'page 73 furthermore' at the end of this blog is added January 13, 2009.

13 comments:

  1. Of course you are right about Krishna "hearing" everyone's prayers. I would go a step furthur and state that the mind is constantly manifest for us by Krishna and that we cannot even think or conceive or remember anything unless Krishna does it for us. The ontology presented by Tripurari Maharaja creates a duality within Krishna.

    vadanti tat tattva-vidas
    tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
    brahmeti paramatmeti
    bhagavan iti sabdyate

    Brahman, paramatma, and bhagavan are non dual. Therefore there can be no part of God which is ontologically any different then any other part. Otherwise some type of duality would be the result. That is where the jiva comes from. Of course people can claim that the jiva is part of god and since there is a duality between god and jiva why can't there be other types of duality within god? The verse from the bhagavat is telling us that the proper entity of god is non dual, not that the differentiated parts (jiva) are included in that non duality.

    God is one. Therefore whether it is Govinda, or Maha Vishnu, or Ramachandra, or Mahaprabhu, all are the same exact non dual entity. Whatever body or personality they may exhibit doesn't change the fact that they are manifestations of the single all pervading non dual entity. Therefore there can be no reality to the concept that Gopinath is not hearing you but that Paramatma is, they are non dual, they are one and the same conscious entity. What I see is an anthropomorphising which assigns the human experience of being only conscious of a single bodily incarnation onto god. God is not like us.

    To invite a duality into the conception changes the essential nature of god from a single consciousness into many. Which is against all vedantic teaching. This is the result of what I have spoken about before; using lila tattva as an aide in trying to explain or understand an absolute existential ontology. Lila tattva should not be used to extrapolate it onto an absolute existential ontology. That is not it's purpose. Lila tattva's purpose is for the cultivation of raganuga bhakti.

    The understanding of Krishna heing affected by yogamaya so that he can forget who he is, is a mistaken conception. Krishna doesn't existentially or ontolgocially forget who he is, that forgetfullness is a mood in lila, it is not an absolute existential reality. God is non dual, a single thinking conscious entity aware of everything, everywhere, all of the time. Krishna may not focus on everything, everywhere, all of the time, but he is cosncious of that. We cannot conceive of how Krishna can do these things so the tendency is there by some people to anthropomorphize Krishna. Since we can focus on one thing and neglect everything else we think that god can do that. But god is not like us. Our consciousness and mind are two distinct objects which only exist in our body, god's consciousness and mind is one substance and it exists everywhere. And everything is comprised of that one consciousness/mind/energy substance. Non dual means no division of consciousness/mind or energy. They are all one substance which can not be divided into distinct parts and remain god. God can divide into a distinct part, but that is the jiva (i.e not god).

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  2. (From Anuradha, translated from Dutch. Please Anuradha, post your comments in English next time)
    If you translate 'hearing' as 'lending an ear' is the problem then solved? (PS I dont know
    Bengali)
    Bhaktivinoda always said we should take the spirit of the text, not the letter.
    Of course Krishna hears everything, but He does not necessarily lend an ear to everything.
    It depends on someone's inner state (which is what draws Krishna's full attention) and not
    necessarily the combination of letters someone fires at Him.
    Also we learn that Mahaprabhu is the most merciful incarnation. So I can follow Tripurari Maharaja. But I also find your and Shiva's arguments very logical. How could Tripurari Maharaja, whom I know as having a clear mind, actually disagree with you both if you would submit the topic to him?
    Perhaps we should ask him once.
    PS Thanks once more for a nice book review
    Yours in the service of Sriamti Radharani

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  3. "Bhaktivinoda always said we should take the spirit of the text, not the letter."

    That is fine, but then that 'spirit' must be properly explained.

    "PS I do not know Bengali"

    The text says: sad-anga saranagati hoibe jahar; tahar prarthana sune sri nandakumar "Nanda Kumar hears the prayers of those who have the six-fold surrender." sune means both 'hearing' and 'paying heed to'. Hence the need for an explanation by the author..

    "Of course Krishna hears everything, but He does not necessarily lend an ear to everything."

    But does that mean one MUST reach the high state of ruci before He actually lends an ear? That would leave almost all living entities out! Who is that elevated?

    "Also we learn that Mahaprabhu is the most merciful incarnation."

    Yes that is true, but then at a certain stage of advancement we suddenly switch istadevata?

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  4. Tripurari wrote:

    "one can legitimately ask at what stage of spiritual practice a sādhaka's prayers are capable of attracting Krsna's personal attention and, furthermore, at what stage a sādhaka's seva becomes līlā-sevā, internal sevā that reaches Krsna in his nitya-līlā."

    As I previously mentioned the idea that Krishna is not personally relating to everyone at every moment is a mistaken one. God is one mind, not many. Secondly a devotee's seva while he resides in the material world never literally "reaches Krishna in his nitya lila". Again I guess he is trying to make a division between Krishna in lila and Krishna outside of lila. Krishna is always with us, we are like siamese twins. The jiva is 2 distinct conscious entities sharing the same consciousness and mind. Although we cannot experience everything Krishna experiences, Krishna does experience everything we do.He sees what we see, hears what we hear, knows what we know, and is in fact controllig the entire situation at all times. Krishna tells Uddhava:

    manasa vacasa drishtya
    grihyate 'nyair apindriyaih
    aham eva na matto 'nyad
    iti budhyadhvam anjasa

    Within this world, whatever is perceived by the mind, speech, eyes or other senses is Me alone and nothing besides Me. All of you please understand this by a straightforward analysis of the facts.

    Tripurari Maharaja quotes Bhaktivinoda:

    "The prayers of one who is a saranāgata are heard by Sri Nanda- kumāra."

    I guess Tripurari Swami is trying to say that an advanced bhakta is heard by Krishna in nitya lila and that others are not. That conception is not realistic. It's not like while Krishna is in lila having dinner one night at Yasoda Devi's house that the prayers of advanced devotees somehow pierce a barrier of some sort or are sent to Krishna in some way by someone who checks to see if the prayer is coming from a sarangata and then he hears them while digesting his meal. What Bhaktivinoda may have meant is that Krishna treats the advanced devotee differently then he treats everyone else. For everyone else karma is the template that Krishna works off of when dealing with them, for the advanced devotee Krishna gets more personally involved with their life. Either way Krishna is with everyone at all times. But for the advanced devotee the relationship between Krishna and the jiva is not on automatic pilot, not impersonal, it's personal and involves interaction and rasa between them to varying degrees (dependent on the advancement of the bhakta)

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  5. Radhe Radhe

    Firstly, let me say that I hope our exchanges here do not make it appear that we want to diminish even a little bit the very important and insightful contribution of His Grace Tripurari Swami .

    I am only in page 14 of the book and learned that the analysis of the rasa on the 8 Verses are consistent throughout; that there is no rasabhasa at all.

    Let me clear-up something though. Thanks to Anuradha for asking lead quetions also. Shiva and Advaita das agree that in no time Krishna does not hear the jiva – whether He is as Lord Chaitanya or Krishna in nitya-lila.

    Would that mean it was the paramatama listening then? Or should that be qualified to mean paramatma listening to certain types of sadhaka ? And which thus follows that the all glorious, personal Krishna in all His splendour in nitya-lila is the one listening to very advanced devotees? And therefore karma does not apply to advanced devotees or the uttamas. So who hears the madhyam and kanistha then?

    In Shiva”s second post he introduced “karma” in the equation which makes it a bit complex. Karma is just one of Krishna’s shakti but not “HE” as in personal. Of course, Krishna hears based on our degree of surrender to Guru . So who is actually hearing, who?

    Please reconcile based on the type of jiva or devotees based on the below:
    1.) Krishna – Bhagavan
    2.) Paramatma
    3.) Karma

    Thanks. (I have free time so I might as well use it nicely by way of cyber sanga)
    Haribol

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  6. Dear Shiva and Advaita,

    Thanks for the clear explanation.

    I can only agree.

    The warning about "using lila tattva as an aide in trying to explain or understand an absolute existential ontology" is especially valuable to me.

    Yours and hoping to meet both of you one day.

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  7. "the analysis of the rasa on the 8 Verses are consistent throughout; that there is no rasabhasa at all."

    I am not so sure yet, and I am even less sure whether there is no viruddha siddhanta in the statement of Bhaktivinode about who's hearing prayers. This is what Visvanath Cakravartipad says in Raga Vartma Candrika 2.1:
    "Sri Syamasundara is always so absorbed in His pastimes with the beautiful girls of Vraja, that have accepted Cupid as their heart's friend, that He is not aware of any loss, exhaustion, householdduties, danger, fear, worry or defeat by His enemies. From all these statements we can understand that He has no chance to think of anyone else but Sri Radhika and the gopis of Vraja, since He is enchanted by His loving pastimes with them. Who will then accept the service rendered to Him by the countless raganuga bhaktas, that come to Him from different directions and from different countries? Who will listen to all the different prayers that are offered to Him? One may offer the solution that Krishna's expansion, the Supersoul who lives in everyone's heart, listens, and that the expansion and the origin are actually one, but that will hurt such raganuga bhaktas very much. What is then the solution? The answer can be found in the words of Sri Uddhava Mahashaya. He says: "O Lord! When You considered whether or not it was proper to kill Jarasandha and to go to the Rajasuya-sacrifice, You called me to You and said: "O Uddhava! What should I do now?" like a bewildered person. You bewildered me at that time, acting like an ignorant, yet omniscient man who needed advice from a counsellor, although You are not conditioned by time and space and You are full of causeless eternal knowledge, that can never be deluded or lost. But if someone will explain that in this case You seemed bewildered, but actually You weren't, then that is also not right, because Your activities are without endeavour and Your birth is birthless - amidst all these words, this proposal is useless. Therefore we should not explain it in the latter way. We must accept that just as Krishna is sometimes bewildered in His Dvaraka-pastimes, although He is omniscient there, similarly by His inconceivable potency He is sometimes omniscient in His Vrindavana-pastimes, although He is bewildered there. We must therefore accept the words of Srila Bilvamangala (Krishna Karnamrita 83) that "In all His pastimes the effulgent Lord is simultaneously bewildered and omniscient."

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  8. By the way,

    Does this topic relate in some form or another to our Inconceivable-simultaneously-one-and-different-tattva, or not ?

    I am interested in your (Myrla included) views on this tattva relating to this matter.

    In my view this tattva is an essential ingredient in Mahaprabhu's teachings. It helped to harmonize previously existing half-truths and eliminate a lot of misconceptions about Godhood.

    Still it is hard to grasp in words what it exactly means.

    Anyway, like Myrla I still haven't finished the book, but I know that it is essential, that particularly these verses written by Mahaprabhu Himself are properly explained and that I, at my spiritual startingpoint, get educated with the proper concept of Siksastikam and Mahaprabhu's tattva.

    Yours again

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  9. Dear Advaita,

    You are so fast.
    I am getting answers before asking questions.

    Thanks

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  10. Myrla: "Please reconcile based on the type of jiva or devotees based on the below:
    1.) Krishna – Bhagavan
    2.) Paramatma
    3.) Karma"

    I think that was already answered by Shiva, who said, and I agree, that Paramatma and Krishna are actually one, though I must add here that devotees deeply in love with Krishna cannot tolerate that conception, as I quoted from Visvanath Cakravartipada. Otherwise, karma is responded to by Paramatma.

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  11. "Does this topic relate in some form or another to our Inconceivable-simultaneously-one-and-different-tattva, or not ?"

    I believe that ALL topics, material and spiritual, relate to that acintya bhedAbheda actually. You find it all around.

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  12. In nitya lila the devotees are not aware that Krishna is bhagavan.

    Srimad Bhagavatam 10.7.10

    na te sraddadhire gopa
    bala-bhasitam ity uta
    aprameyam balam tasya
    balakasya na te viduh

    The assembled gopis and gopas, unaware that Krsna is always unlimited, could not believe that baby Krsna had such inconceivable power. They could not believe the statements of the children, and therefore they neglected these statements as being childish talk.

    Srimad Bhagavatam 1.11.39

    tam menire 'bala mudhah
    strainam canuvratam rahah
    apramana-vido bhartur
    isvaram matayo yatha

    The simple and delicate women truly thought that Lord Sri Krsna, their beloved husband, followed them and was dominated by them. They were unaware of the extent of the glories of their husband, as the atheists are unaware of Him as the supreme controller.

    Srimad Bhagavatam 10.45.1

    sri-suka uvaca
    pitarav upalabdharthau
    viditva purushottamah
    ma bhud iti nijam mayam
    tatana jana-mohinim

    Sukadeva Gosvami said: Understanding that His parents were becoming aware of His transcendental opulences, the Supreme Personality of Godhead thought that this should not be allowed to happen. Thus He expanded His Yogamaya, which bewilders His devotees.

    The point I make is that the only devotees who understand the omniscience of Krishna, they are not in nitya lila, they are here. It is true as Visvanath points out that the knowledge of Krishna's true ability and true nature would harm their mood. Therefore they are kept ignorant of who Krishna really is. For the devotees here it is impossible to be in the most advanced stage without understanding Krishna's true position. Only the self realized souls attain to intimacy with Krishna in the mundane world. So all devotees in the mundane world who have attained intimacy with Krishna through bhakti practice, they are always in full knowledge of Krishna's absolute and omniscient nature, even though they may relate with Radha Krishna very closely. They are in full knowledge of bhagavat siddhanta and that cannot be forgotten until they take birth in lila.

    So for Krishna being bewildered and not being bewildered; in truth Krishna cannot be bewildered like we become bewildered. Krishna's bewilderment is a mood he takes on, he is not bewildered by cirumstance or anything else because he is acually controlling all circumstances and he is the substance of all circumstances. Jiva's are bewildered by Krishna because Krishna controls everything. Whereas nothing can bewilder Krishna because he is everything and controlling everything. Therefore his bewilderment is self caused and not the same thing we experience as bewilderment. It is only a mood taken on to enhance rasa. Of course those in lila do not understand this point because they are not allowed to know Krishna is bhagavan. Devotees not in lila but who have attained Krishna's intimate confidence see Krishna everywhere in everything. They never forget Krishna's true nature.

    Even though in the sastra we see in various places where Krishna is glorified as the supreme lord in a very detailed fashion by the devotees in vraja and elsewhere, that is not going on in nitya lila. If they actually knew Krishna is the supreme lord then they would be unable to treat him as an equal. If you know your best friend is God then you will be overwhelmed with the mood of Vaikuntha, it cannot be but so. Therefore knowledge of Krishna tattva is conspicuous by it's absence in nitya lila.

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  13. Shiva: "..in truth Krishna cannot be bewildered like we become bewildered. Krishna's bewilderment is a mood he takes on"

    Advaitadasji: "Srila Bilvamangala (Krishna Karnamrita 83)"In all His pastimes the effulgent Lord is simultaneously bewildered and omniscient."

    Advaitadasji's quote of the Thakur is appropriate and the acintya aspect is clear.
    We cannot limit God by saying He cannot be bewildered.

    Maybe, Shivaji, acintya is getting
    a bit inconceivable?

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