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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Laghu Bhāgavatāmṛta (2)



LB 5.223 glosses the words śaśvatasya dharmasya in Bhagavad Gītā 14.27 as 'bhagavad dharma', hearing and chanting according to Baladeva, and aikantikasya sukhasya as 'of one filled with prema bhakti rasa'. Devaki-devi is described as para prakṛti sūkṣma " subtle spiritual energy".

In 5.235, Rūpa Gosvāmī glosses the word sadhvasam in SB 2.9.9 as 'the residents of Vaikuṇṭha being free from the fear of falling". Another direct hit for the fall-vādīs.

In LB 5.247-283 Rūpa Gosvāmī quotes from the Sixth Canto of the Padma Purāṇa about the yogapīṭha, the mystical seat of Viṣṇu.

In 5.286, tripād vibhūti is shown indeed not to refer to size but to quality. "Vaikuṇṭha is called tripāda vibhūti because it possesses 3 parts of power. All the power of the material realm are called only one portion. It means that the powers of the material realm do not exist in Vaikuṇṭha."

The story of Brahmā seeing countless Brahmās in Kṛṣṇa's audience-room is narrated in LB 5.320-323.

LB 5.344 quotes SB 10.15.8. Kṛṣṇa used Balarāma as a substitute, for it's inappropriate to say that Lakṣmī desired Balarām's chest. Kṛṣṇa would not reveal His intimate affairs to Balarāma, He was speaking in sakhya-rasa. The story of Lakṣmī desiring Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa eventually granting Her a place on His chest as a golden line, is quoted from Padma Purāṇa in LB 5.351.

In LB 5.429-433 Rūpa Gosvāmī quotes various Purāṇas wherein Kṛṣṇa's pastimes are described in the present tense, and establishes the doctrine, later taken over by Jīva Goswāmī in the Sandarbhas, that present tense indicates eternity (vartamānasyanatvenoktis tan naitya vācika, 432)

In LB 5.450 Baladeva writes a long ṭīkā, quoting from various śāstras that Kṛṣṇa is the son of Yaśodā and Devakī. Later, in 455-460, Rupa confirms this with Bhāgavata-verses.

In LB 461-2, the famous vṛndāvanam parityajya verses, Baladeva argues that if Kṛṣṇa had really never left Vraja, there would be no separation for the Vrajavāsīs, no need for sending Uddhava to Vraja, or meeting in Kurukṣetra.

In LB 5.463 Rūpa Gosvāmī says that Kṛṣṇa went to Mathurā in a manifest form, hiding the fact He was Nanda's son to delight the people of Mathurā.

In 5.467 Rūpa Gosvāmī says the Vrajavāsīs were separated for three months in prakaṭa līlā. A visphurti (semblance of an appearance) of Kṛṣṇa kept them alive.

In verse 468, Rūpa Gosvāmī mentions two kinds of meeting with Kṛṣṇa: āvirbhāva (sudden appearance through Uddhava's message f.i.) and āgati (actual return). To prove that Kṛṣṇa actually returned to Vraja, Rūpa Gosvāmī quotes the same Bhāgavata-ślokas as Jīva later did in the Sandarbhas. That madhūn in SB 1.11.36 doesn't refer to Vraja, but Mathurā, is explained by Rūpa Gosvāmī (5.480): Vraja is within Mathurā, and Kṛṣṇa had anyway no friends left in Mathurā, having taken them all to Dvārakā (SB 10.50.57).

In 5.482 Rūpa Gosvāmī also quotes the Padma Purāṇa-text, saying that Kṛṣṇa returned to Vraja. This too was later taken over by Jīva Goswāmī in the Sandarbhas.

In 5.491 Rūpa Gosvāmī proves from Skanda Purāṇa that the Lord and the siddhas (nitya- or sādhana) can not only merge into an aṁśī (original form, like Droṇa and Dharā merging into Nanda and Yaśodā), but also re-emerge from them.

Commenting on 5.501, a quotation from Brahma Saṁhitā 5.56, Baladeva says that there is no time in the spiritual sky, meaning 'in other abodes of the Lord the divisions of time are present, but not in Goloka.'

On 5.503-5 he comments that 'vaikuṇṭha' in the famous verse 'vaikuṇṭhācca garīyasi' means ' Gokula'. It is eternal, though situated in the material world.

On 519 Baladeva comments that knowledge of time is covered by the līlā-śakti of the Lord (one imagines time to be passing).

The second part of the book, describing the glories of the devotees, is very brief - just 46 verses - culminating in:

trailokya pṛthivī dhanyā yatra vṛndāvanaṁ purī
tatrāpi gopikāḥ pārtha tatra rādhābhidhā mama

"O Arjuna! In the three worlds, the earth, where Vṛndāvana town is, is most fortunate. There the gopīs live, including My Rādhā."

I bought this book in Bengali in 1991, but its in my house in Holland, so I cannot cross-check the translation, but it seems yet another great presentation of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī's work by Śrīpād Bhānu Swāmī.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Laghu Bhāgavatāmṛta


Book Review:
Laghu Bhāgavatāmṛta by Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī
With commentary by Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa
Translated by Bhānu Swāmi

Rūpa Goswāmī wrote this book as a concise version of Sanātan Goswāmī's Bṛhat Bhāgavatāmṛta.

In verse 1.7 he says that we and the Madhvaites (the fact they are separately mentioned proves Gauḍīyas are not Madhvaites) both accept three proofs: pratyaksa, anumāna and śabda (scriptural evidence). These proofs are in relation to profane objects, not spiritual ones, because they are also subject to faults in the observer, such as bhrama. F.i. for śabda, Kapila's words conflict with those of others. After briefly establishing śabda above tarka (logic), Rūpa Goswāmī establishes Kṛṣṇa's original form (svayaṁ rūpa) as independent, quoting SB 10.44.14.

In his ṭīkā of verse 1.13, the famous īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ-verse, Baladeva explains that anādi here doesn't mean 'beginningless' and ādi not 'the head of others', for these meanings are already covered by 'sarva kāraṇa kāraṇam'. Instead, anādi here means 'not under anyone's control'.

In 2.31-32, Rūpa Goswāmī qualifies Sadāśiva as aṅga-bhūta (a Nārāyaṇa-vilāsa-form) of the original lord Kṛṣṇa. In verse 32 he quotes Brahma Saṁhitā 5.8, saying that Sadāśiva is a Viṣṇu-expansion of Kṛṣṇa whose consort is Ramā (Lakṣmī). In his ṭīkā of 2.32, Baladeva explains all the words indicating Shiva in Brahma Samhitā's creation-tale to mean Viṣṇu, thus reconciling the mystery of Shiva creating the world in that Kṛṣṇaite text.

In verse 3.17 Baladeva reveals that there are two Varāha-avatāras, one born from Brahmā's nostrils and one born from the subterranean waters, and Maitreya, in the Third Canto, put different events in one story since Varāha is one avatāra. Kapila also comes in two forms, one jīva and one an aṁśa of Vāsudeva.

In 3.73 Vāmana even appears three times in a day of Brahmā, taking three steps of land from three different persons.

In 3.83, the jīva Vyāsa merged into the Nārāyan form of Vyāsa.

In 4.53-54 Matsya and Kūrma reside on the hellish planets Mahātala and Rasātala and in 4.64 the material Vaikuṇṭha exists in Satyaloka. All avatāras have material and spiritual abodes. Kṛṣṇa is not really Upendra, Indra's younger brother - Indra only calls Him like that out of love. (premnā, Harivaṁśa 5.5). The six qualities of Bhagavān are fully manifest (parāvasthā) in Rāma, Kṛṣṇa and Nṛsiṁha. (Padma Purāṇa 5.16).

In 5.51 Baladeva quotes SB 10.88.25-26 to prove that one does not even fall from Vaikuṇṭha in the material world (Satyaloka), what to speak of the spiritual world? (Encouraging to read in an Iskcon publication).

In 5.73-75 Rūpa Goswāmī gives sweet interpretations of Kṛṣṇa's names - Mādhava - born from the Madhu-dynasty; Adhokṣaja (born from the cart's axle (akṣa) after being presumed killed by Pūtanā). I notice that Bhānu Swāmī does not use caps to indicate Kṛṣṇa. He writes 'he' and 'his' instead of ' He' and 'His'.

In 5.116 Rūpa Goswāmī again (as in siddhāntatas tvabhede'pi) admits that God is one, but with two aspects - the personal and impersonal.

This is about half the book, so to keep it readable I split the review into two parts.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The best of both worlds

I am too Indianized to ever be a westerner again, yet I never want to be fully Indian either, because of the advantages of western thinking. Here is my synthesis:

I will not pollute the air with cigarette- or kerosine-smoke, nor with loud, silly music (as Indians do),
but I will also not eat meat or drink (as westerners do).

I will bow down to the statues of the Lord (as Indians do)
but I will reject superstitions and blind following of hearsay (as westerners do).

I will wear a dhoti in the Indian holy places (except on the bike) and during my sadhana in the west too,
but I will wear pants on the street in the west or while travelling.

I will not eat a huge meal late at night (as many Indians do)
nor will I refuse prasāda because it is 'not healthy' (too much sugar, oil or spices) as many westerners do.

I support both western cosmology (the vision of the scientists) and Indian cosmology (the vision of the seers).

I admire westerners for their honesty and practical intelligence
and I admire Indians for their forbearance and their faith.

Indians practise sadācāra but no hygiene.
Westerners practise hygiene but no sadācāra.
I will practise both.

I will not consider anyone untouchable merely by birth (as Indians do)
but by sadācāra (or lack thereof).

I will neither respect someone merely by birth (as Indians do),
nor merely by quality (as westerners do).

I will worship the cow (as Indians do),
not the dog (as westerners do).

I cannot live in a room with 6 others (as Indians do)
but I will also not celebrate Christmas (as westerners do).

I support the principle of the blind (the west) carrying the lame (India), combining western material intelligence with Indian spiritual vision.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Siddha Praṇālī for sannyāsīs and selfless giving

Rādhākund, December 8, 2007 -
Sakhīcaran, my backdoor neighbor, tells me that in the Nitāi-Gaur Rādhe-Śyām Sampradāya, Ekādaśa Bhāva is only given after bhekh (to sannyāsīs only) - they are strict like the IGM and Haridās Śāstrījī. I tell him that revelation is an alternative (especially since their Guru passed away right after their dīkṣā).

Advaitadas II also comes and gives me expensive medicines, but does not want any money (he's not rich). He says that Rūpa Goswāmī's dadāti pratighṛṇati does not refer to a precisely calculated exchange of gifts, but to spontaneous loving gestures. When I argue that Bhīṣma-deva lay on his bed of arrows until all accounts were settled and everyone was satisfied, he says that those were the general populace, not his near and dear ones. Take Kṛṣṇa Himself - He is really nasty - urinating on mother Yaśodā's floor, stealing butter, seducing other mens wives and then leaving Vraja never to return - still we tend to give everything to Him. Yet, Uddhava says (SB 11.29.6) that Kṛṣṇa cannot be repaid because He comes as the Guru. Speaking of Guru, the Guru and one's mother come on the other side of the scale - however much you may mistreat them, they will always love you. Perhaps this is why in India the word dhanyavāda (thanks) is not really used?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Silver Praṇālī

In the last one of the silver jubilees (the jubilee of my leaving ISKCON was posted on Jijaji's now defunct forum back then, on May 20, the jubilee-day) the jubilee of my siddha praṇālī, now silver praṇālī. This is from my Indian diary:

December 3, 1982 — My Guru brother Nārāyan-dā comes into my room and says Bābā calls me upstairs on the balcony. Bābā sits there on the floor, wearing his spectacles and completing writing on a huge sheet of paper. He has filled it in single-handedly. He hands it to me and explains to me how it works. It is the siddha praṇālī I so much desired. I bow down to Bābā in gratitude and ask him: “Must I memorize all this?” Bābā: “At least your own svarūpa, the Guru’s svarūpa, parama Guru’s svarūpa and Prabhu Sītānātha’s svarūpa. Keep this between the two of us – don’t reveal this anyone, not even to your friends!” (Hence on this blog I don't fill in the details) I am surprised he gave it to me so soon, for when I took dīkṣā, just 2 months ago, he said I should first be purified by bhajana before becoming ripe for siddha praṇālī.

Bābā: ‘By practising meditation on the siddha deha and siddha sevā the siddha deha is gradually developed. Whatever you always think of you will attain as you end this body.” As Bābā had already revealed, Prabhu Sītānātha Himself is present in all four rasas: sakhī-bhāva (Viśākhā), dāsī bhāva (Rati Mañjarī), sakhya bhāva (Madhumaṅgala) and vātsalya bhāva (Paurṇamāsī). Whatever you always think of you will attain as you end this body.”

yam yam vapi smaran bhavan tyajantyante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti kaunteya sada tad bhava bhavitah 

(Bhagavad Gītā 8.6)


Above the siddha praṇālī he has written:

mane nija siddha deha koriyā bhāvana 
rātri dine kore braje kṛṣṇera sevana

“The mental practise is to meditate on one’s own siddha deha and thus serve Kṛṣṇa in Vraja day and night.” (C.C. Madhya 22.156), and:

ārādhyo bhagavān vrajeśa tanayas taddhāma vṛndāvanaṁ
ramyā kācid upāsanā vrajavadhū vargeṇa yā kalpitā
śāstraṁ bhāgavatam pramāṇam amalaṁ prema pumārtho mahān
śrī caitanya mahāprabhor matam idaṁ tatrādaro naḥ para

The worshipable Lord is Kṛṣṇa, the son of  Nanda of Vraja.
The abode in which we worship Him is Vṛndāvana.
The delightful method of Worship is that of the cowherd wives of Vraja (the gopīs).
The holy scripture the Bhāgavata is the spotless authority.
The greatest pursuit of human life is prema, love of God.
This is the opinion of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
This deserves our highest respect, care and love.

Bābā says it is written by Śrīnātha Cakravartī, a śiṣya of Advaita Prabhu, and explains the entire Gauḍīya siddhānta in a nutshell.


About siddha praṇālī and the first verse of Vilāpa Kusumāñjali Bābā says: “Rūpa Mañjari is not married. The word anāgata here means ‘your husband has not come yet, you are still a virgin. The kiṅkarīs have no kuñjas of their own because the sakhīs are hostesses to Kṛṣṇa and make Him enjoy, while the mañjarīs have a service function, and therefore don't need their own kuñja. We all serve in the great kuñja of Viśākhā-devī because Advaita Prabhu is Viśākhā."  (Hence we also have no svabhāva.)"

My American friend Madhusūdana later tells me: "Prabhu (Lalita Prasāda, his Guru) also told me once: "What do you need a husband for? Go into the kuñja! There is no time for this!"

It is noteworthy that Sādhu Bābā fully instructed me on all these matters on the very same day and never again spoke to me about this.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Congratulations


Congratulations to Mālatī Dāsī from Melbourne, Australia, for being the second kṛpā pātra of Śrī-Śrī Sādhu Bābā outside India. Her application for dīkṣā was approved last week by Tapan Dā, Tulsī Di and Namitā Di. dīkṣā may take place on Sītānāth's Utsav in Navadwīp next February. Family expansion at long last....

Friday, November 02, 2007

Campaks and Bahulastami.


I have a cold, but not that much that I can't smell the Campak-flowers in Yadunath's garden. I offer Campakas to Giridhari for the very first time (20+ years).

Today is Bahulastami but I will stay at home and avoid the crowds and the commercial circus of rajo-guna out there.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Natural Bhakti

(Skewed Indian scan)
Natural Bhakti

by Rām Dās

A book review

Yesterday I visited the Munghyr Mandir and had darshan of B.V. Sadhu Maharaja, who knew me though we only met once 22 years ago, and, as I expected, is a friendly, easy-going gentleman. He surprises me by saying that Balaramji is not his brother. I take prasad there on his invitation and meet Ram Das (Ronald Engert), from Germany, who gives me a 68-page booklet he wrote about Natural Bhakti. He is a liberal who objects to forced principles, and it shows in his booklet. He objects against guilt feelings created by breaking enforced rules, but forgets there is a danger that wanton westerners will misunderstand his objections and will think it allright to break the rules. Devotees who break the rules are simply not immune to severe reactions to their failures, that is seen everywhere. He claims that guilt feelings due to breaking the principles can lead to quitting bhakti, but I don't believe that. Bhakti is ahaituki (causeless) and apratihata (uninterruptable). It is more an excess of artificial penance that burns devotees out, or the sādhana and siddhānta is simply too high. Ramdas quotes many good verses from śāstra, proving that bhakti is independent (from rules), which is philosophically correct.

However, there are several warped conceptions in the booklet: he quotes Bhaktivinode's Jaiva Dharma, ch.20, in which he says that a rāgānugī need not follow the Śruti, Smṛti and Purāṇas, which is not correct (see BRS 1.2.296). On page 46 Rāmdas doubts the necessity of discussing the goal as long as we have not reached it, thinking it not humble. I disagree - one needs to know the goal in order to reach it and to be attracted to it. On page 53 Rāmdas claims that rāgānugā bhakti would be dependent on vaidhi bhakti if rules are involved. That is of course a product of all the mis-teachings about rāgānugā being 'without rules' and 'spontaneous'. Following rules is not the intrinsic characteristic of vaidhi bhakti, but aiśvarya bhāva is.

On page 54 Ramdas claims that 'In rāgānugā bhakti there is no need of defence or ideological combat' which is not true (rather, its a hot controversy itself!) and 'everyone can listen to this kathā', which is denied by Jīva Goswāmī in Bhakti Sandarbha and Gopal Campu. Rāmdās is also (still) a fall-vadi: He speaks of the siddha swarūpa as ' we once had' and on p.63 he says: "This is why we fell from Paradise: we ate from the tree of discernment of Good and Evil." This, and his problems with sin vs. guilt, shows he has a Christian background. On p.66 he says: ...they preach like 500 years ago, as if there had never been an age of enlightenment, fascism, a 1968-movement or globalisation." I fail to see how these things have contributed to a pure Vaiṣṇava understanding.

Apart from these points Rāmdās pushes all the right buttons, showing from śāstra that anarthas even exist in bhāva bhakti, one need not be a pure devotee to start rāgānugā, etc.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rāsa Pūrṇimā at Sandīpani's


The Rāsa-līlās at Sandīpani Muni's Āśram are poorly timed - after all introductory performances the actual Līlā starts at 8.15, while many devotees have to leave in time due to early closing-hours of their guesthouses or āśrams.

I sympathise with conservatives who say that children of flesh and blood cannot really portray Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa's transcendental forms, but on the other hand Mahāprabhu recognised Kṛṣṇa in Pratāparudra's son, who had a Śyāma-complexion and yellow cloth, and He also spent time at Kānāi Nāṭśālā, the Bengali village where the whole community was engaged in such performances. I suppose Rāsa-līlā can do no harm in the neophyte stage. Many Rāsa-līlā critics spent their time making politics instead - better see some cute kids playing Kṛṣṇa, as long as we can't perceive the Real Thing yet.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sat-saṅga with Guru-bhāis

October 19, 2007
With a friend I visit my Gurubhāi Dāmu-dā in Gopīnāth Bāgh and enjoy his usual hospitality. He says Golok went back to Navadwip after a 84 Krośa parikramā. Nimāi and Nāru are both here, Nāru has a Sādhu Bābā Āśram in Jñāna Gudrī. Dāmu-Dā's bo makes puris, bhāji begun and miṣṭi dāl. Yummy. Welcome change from all the restaurant-stuff. Sādhu Bābā's mahā-prasāda.

Dāmu-Dā's beautiful photo of the Tin Prabhu on the beach of Puri must be from 1972 or so, because Mukunda Prabhu looks about 12-13 on it.

Yesterday Tapan Dā confused me by saying we must also offer bhoga to Gopeśwara, Mahāprabhu and Sītānātha. He said Bābā introduced that during his last trip to Vṛndāvana in 1985, because without their mercy we cannot attain Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. He also said that there is no need for prāṇa pratiṣṭhā in our family. dīkṣā itself grants adhikāra for arcanā.

October 20, 2007
I walk to Jñāna Gudrī, from Raman Reti, takes 90 minutes in the heat. I don't find Nāru's Ashram there, but I do get darśan of Vaṁśī Vat and its beautiful new gate.

On the way I phone Tapan Dā, who says that Gopeśvara comes first in the new offering sequence (3) then Mahāprabhu (4) then Sītānāth (5) then Guru. There are no mūla mantras for the three and the dīkṣā mantras remain the same (2 only). When I complain that the offering will then start taking a long time he says the new offerings can be done briefly and mentally. I have yet to try it. Its hard to change after 25 years of practising it another way.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rooftop saṅga

Last night my Swiss friend Kṛṣṇacandra visited me, here's some of what we discussed:

Kṛṣṇacandra: "One should not take an oath to follow the 4 regulative principles. (Though they should be followed of course)"

Advaitadās: "Yes I agree. This vow is not demanded by any Indian Guru, though it is expected that one follows them. In Holland we say "belofte maakt schuld", a promise makes guilt. One gets chained with the hands to one's back with the sins we vowed against, almost like inviting the rules to be broken."

Kṛṣṇacandra: " Is it really better to live in the dhāma or can we also become Kṛṣṇa-conscious outside?"

Advaitadās: " You can also become Kṛṣṇa-conscious outside, but it's more difficult. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said that if you live on the bank of a river (the dhāma)  you need just throw out a bucket to get water, but if you live elsewhere (outside the dhāma)  you need to dig a deep well for water. So the sādhana needs to be more intense outside the dhama. Still, even if you live near the river you need to throw out a bucket to get water. So even in the dhāma one needs to do sādhana too. Whenever Sādhu Bābā came to Vṛndāvana he would not stay longer than 3-4 weeks, and even then he rarely went out of the family home. Maybe once to Bihārījī. When his disciples asked him " Why aren't we going anywhere?" he said "We are not tourists. The holy dhāma is right here, though your retina only perceives an ordinary house." Similarly, in modern times, we see the dhāma vanishing under so many building projects, but the real dhāma cannot be destroyed by any property developer. Not that I applaud all the building - it's a disgrace."

Kṛṣṇacandra: " You say that only an Indian should be Guru, but nowadays some Indian Gurukulas only hire female staff because all the male Indian staff will abuse the children."

Advaitadās: "My opinion on this is not black/white. I'm not saying you should take dīkṣā from any Pappu or Lalloo, but the fact remains that the failure-rate among Indian Gurus is much lower. There must be both birth and quality. There is an exodus going on to older GM Sannyāsīs and Rādhākund Bābājīs, not only for higher knowledge but also for security (against falling Americans). In India even the demons do worship. Kaṁsa and Rāvan worshipped Shiva. A friend of mine was in jail in Mathurā, and he told me that everyone there, even murderers and rapists, was doing pūjā. Compare the lifestyles of western teenagers with Indian ones. Big difference."

Kṛṣṇacandra: " What do you think of ausweihung (uninitiation)?"

Advaitadās: " Like signing divorce papers with the ex-Guru?"
Kṛṣṇacandra: "Yes."

Advaitadās: "Actually when you take (re-) initiation you surrender to the (new) Guru, it automatically cancels the old dīkṣā. My western Guru fell down after I took dīkṣā from Sādhu Bābā, I never met him again after he gave me 2nd initiation even. But if your ex-Guru is stil in good standing and you bump into him often, it may be more peaceful to settle a divorce from the personal poiint of view. There is no such a thing as un-initiation in śāstra, though."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Phone saṅga with Tapan Dā.

By phone I ask Tapan Dā, now my senior-most Gurubhāi, several questions about sādhana and history.

AD: ' Is japa to be done per granthi (a multiple of 4 rounds) or any amount will do, like 11,13, 23 rounds?"

TD: " It is better to do japa per granthi - 4, 8, 12, 16 etc."

AD: 'Is there any copy of the drama Bābā wrote on Prabhu Sītānāth?"

TD: " Bābā did not write it, but he spoke it to Nirañjan Dādā, who wrote it down. I don't know if he still has it (his house was marooned in the big flood of Navadwīp in 2000)."

AD: "The ladies in Bābā's dynasty are said to be from Ārdha Kālī vaṁśa. What does that mean? The descendants of these dynasties are considered non-different from Mā Kālī or are they bhaktas of Kālī?"

TD: ' They are bhaktas of Kālī and are then integrated as Adwaita Vaṁśa Goswāminīs."

My Guru-brothers are so sarala (sweet, innocent, honest). Its beautiful, in the cauldron of pretence and deceit that the Gauḍīya Sampradāya so often is unfortunately. (Unlike me) they sacrifice so much time and their precious money to travel from far and wide to attend Bābā's utsavas, that actually last for just a few days!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Phone sanga (10)

Bhakta: "What is the proper speed of chanting japa?"

AD: "I don't think śāstra gives any clue to that. I think the holy name itself is in control of that. I had times it took me just 4 minutes to do one round, and I had times when it took me 11 minutes. svayam eva sphuratyadah - it is self-manifest."

B: "How to best chant japa?"

Advaitadas: "japa means soft chanting. Falling asleep is tamo-guna, walking around is rajo-guna, and sitting is sattva-guna, the serene mode. (Western ankles are not used to sit on the floor, so) One should sit on a pillow, not too soft, not too hard, close the eyes, with a sober stomach and having had enough sleep (sleeping more than 6 hours need not be tamo-guna, that depends on the individual's needs), and not be distracted by walking or talking. Keep the back straight and head down."

Bhakta: "How much down? 45 degrees?"

AD: "Not that much, 30 or so. Sādhu Bābā told me that, I don't know why that is - perhaps it must be done out of humility. If you keep your eyes open then look at something attractive, like your favorite picture of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Doing japa alone is less distracting than in company. Then the sounds of others' japa won't disturb. All in all, it takes a long time to master - abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyena ca gṛhyate (Gītā 6.35) "It takes practise and renunciation to control the mind." Renunciation meaning one should follow the principles. A sober stomach is also important. I remember my first Janmāṣṭamī in 1978 - I had been a devotee for just 3 months or so and I had never chanted 64 rounds before, nor had I ever done a full 24 hour fast - I had never flown so high before in my life!"

Bhakta: "What about the custom of chanting the pañca tattva mantra before each round?"

Advaitadas: "This is a fairly new custom. In Caitanya Caritāmṛta there are some verses like jaya jaya śrī caitanya jaya nityānanda jaya advaita-candra jaya gaurabhakta vṛnda, but the current pañca tattva mantras are not that old. pañca-tattvātmakam kṛṣṇam (CC Ādi 1.14) "Kṛṣṇa is embodied by the Pañca-tattva" When I asked my Guru about it he told me 'Just chant what I gave you, that is all' গুরু আমায় য়াই দিয়েছেন তাই আমার সব. That the pañca tattva mantra, which is not mentioned in any śāstra, protects from aparādha is a sheer myth. Judge a tree by its fruits - 95% of all devotees fall down, after neatly chanting 16x a day the Pañca-tattva Mantra. Also the idea that aparādha does not count in Māyāpur / Navadvīp is a sheer myth. Utter nonsense. Can you then gun down or torture a pure devotee in Navadvīp and Gaura-Nitāi will say "Jay Jay! Go on! Great! Do it again!"? Mahāprabhu Himself said he would never forgive Gopāl Cāpāl, in Navadvīp, and, though they were later saved by Nitāi, He wanted to kill Jagāi and Mādhāi. Plus, so many devotees stay in Bengal instead of in Vraja, thinking that they will be saved from aparādha, but I have seen so many of them falling away from the path, from Navadvīp/Māyāpur too....The pañca tattva mantra that is mostly used is highly asymmetric, the 2nd line being much longer than the first (śrī advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi gaura bhakta vṛnda) creating difficulty in kīrtana. It's like a man whose one leg is much shorter than the other, he needs crutches. Mind you, I'm not against chanting of Guru or Gaurāṅga in the kīrtana, but not because of the idea that there is no offence in them. Rather, because one must respect them - without their grace one cannot attain Kṛṣṇa. If the Pañca-tattva mantra really protected against aparādha everyone who chanted it would have prema by now."

Bhakta: "Is it allright to read Subodhini (Vallabhācārya's Bhāgavat-ṭīkā)?"

Advaitadas: "It is important to know our own scriptures well first, so that we can not be diverted or confused by reading others' writings. Sādhu Bābā was against book knowledge, but an intellectual must act according to his nature, still, and quench his ever-thirsting brain - sadṛśam ceṣṭate svasya prakṛter jñānavān api...nigrahaḥ kiṁ kariṣyati "Even the learned must act according to their nature....what will suppression accomplish?" (Gītā 3.33) Reading Vallabha's writings should not be harmful if you are grounded in the Gosvāmīs' books first. He's not the enemy.."

Bhakta: "Caitanya Caritāmṛta (Antya 7) speaks very negatively of him."

Advaitadas: "Not only the Vallabhīs themselves, but also historians say that meeting of Vallabha with Mahāprabhu never took place. It's a mystery why Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja wrote this, and especially why he portrayed Vallabha as a complete fool, which is really an insult. It does not seem to match with Vaiṣṇava etiquette. It is all the more strange because his śikṣā- and perhaps dīkṣā-Guru, Raghunāth Dās Gosvami,was dearly befriended with Vallabha's son Viṭṭhalnāth, as the Stavāvalī testifies. There are other difficult passages in the Caitanya Caritāmṛta as well: in Madhya līlā (18.186-202) Mahāprabhu is quoted as saying that the Koran describes God as having a Śyāma complexion and discusses paths of karma, yoga and jñāna, after a Muslim scholar wants to establish nirveśeṣa brahman based on the Koran. I am not a knower of the Koran but I am sure that these things are not written there. Then there is the instance in which Mahāprabhu tells the Kazi that one suffers in hell for millions of lifetimes for each hair of the cow one eats....."

Bhakta: "That is also written in Mahā-bhārata"

Advaitadas: "Maybe, but that is for Hindus, who have been raised with that understanding and conscience. Muslims and Christians do not have such understanding or conscience, so why should they be punished according to our norms? (See my blog of April 19, 2006)"

In Madhya Lila (7.100-118) it is described how Mahāprabhu converted all the people in South India, which is not an historical fact but may be an ecstatic spiritual vision of the author, and elsewhere (Ādi 10.89)  it is also said paścimera lok sab mūḍha anācāra ("western people are all fools and unclean") which is probably aimed at the Vrajavāsīs, often criticised by Bengalis for their low standard of cleanliness. It is unclear why Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja went public with such critique. In Antya Līlā (3.56) a verse is quoted from the Nṛsiṁha Purāṇa, saying that Muslims get liberated by saying Hārām Hārām, because it contains the name Rām, but of course the Purāṇas are supposed to be much older (5000 years) than Islam (1400 years). The point he is making is all right, but it can not possibly actually come from a Purāṇa. For the record, in my profile you can read that Caitanya Caritāmṛta is one of my favorite books and it is the most quoted scripture in my blog, too. It is a masterpiece, but the above passages are a bit controversial, though, with all respect."

Bhakta: (Continues asking about one's own mañjarī svarūpa performing different services in different worlds at the same time)."

Advaitadas: "In TV shops you have entire walls full of TVs that all show the same program. Seeing one is seeing them all. That is acceptable to me."

Bhakta: "If Kṛṣṇa is doing different things in different places, we, in our siddha-swarūpas, should also be doing different things at the same time."

Advaitadas: "As far as I can deduct logically from Viśvanātha Cakravartī's teachings, we take birth in a material universe where Kṛṣṇa's līlā is going on, to perfect our prema. But that is temporary. Once we graduate we are promoted to Goloka and thereby our participation in prakat līlā ends. So because the prakat līlā is also eternal, there is a constant shift in personnel, of jīvas that are perfecting their prema during that līlā. Of course, in each universe, each prakat līlā does have a beginning and an end, though it is eternal in principle. As for Mahāprabhu's firebrand prakat līlā,  if we are present there, what would that be a prelude to (if we come there for perfecting prema), since no śāstra mentions a nitya līlā of Gaura in the spiritual sky? That prakat līlā would be the highest attainment. Some devotees so much love Mahāprabhu lila that it is inconceivable to them to abandon it, though it has been suggested in the past (see my blog of September 26, 2006) that one ultimately transcends it and enters Kṛṣṇa līlā. Gaura līlā is an academy of pure devotion."

Bhakta: "Some say that Kṛṣṇa's birth-pastime only happens in the material world, because Kṛṣṇa is not born in the spiritual world."

Advaitadas: "I haven't seen that in śāstra, it may be in Laghu Bhāgavatāmṛta, but why can He not be eternally born in Goloka too? If He enjoys to be born it will be a līlā of His anywhere. Same with killing demons. In Bhakti Sandarbha Jīva Gosvāmī says that in Goloka there are pratimās, images of demons that Kṛṣṇa kills. Hiraṇyākṣa and Hiraṇyakaśipu pleasing Him by fighting Him is extra. He can fight here, there, wherever He likes and He can make the demons assume any form He likes. If kids in this world have unlimited choice in video games, why would Kṛṣṇa have less than that?"

Bhakta: "Some compare this pratimā with a televised image."

Advaitadas: "I agree. If you push a TV or PC screen you don't really touch the image on it, just the screen. The words yantra, machine, and pratimā, statue or image, are used here. Though anger is a secondary bhakti-rasa - Jaṭilā is described as having it - there seem to be no devotees engaged in combatting Kṛṣṇa in Goloka. These yantras and pratimās may well be just still lifes, parts of the sandhini śakti."

Bhakta: "We understand why Gaura took Rādhā's feelings, but why Her complexion?"

Advaitadas: "He did not want to be recognised as Kṛṣṇa. There are several explanations given. This avatāra is the most human of all, so even His complexion is that human. Mahāprabhu is called channa avatāra, a hidden avatāra. Rūpa Gosvāmī writes in the apāram kasyāpi verse: "Being curious to relish all the limitless rasa of love of one of His beloveds (in Vraja, Śrī Rādhā) Kṛṣṇa stole Her luster and covered His own (blackish) splendor with it, revealing this new golden luster to everyone...." Rādhā-govinda Nāth writes in his comment on CC Antya 14.67: Rādhā is a solid gold vessel and Kṛṣṇa a gold-plated copper vessel. mādana mahābhāva is like nitric acid, which a solid gold vessel can easily handle, but a copper one cannot. Rādhā's complexion is a protective shield."(See my blog of October 23, 2005. Note: I do not consider Rādhā-govinda Nāth an infallible authority, but this point he made very nicely)

Bhakta: "So the rivals of Rādhārāṇī are there to increase Her eagerness for Kṛṣṇa?"

Advaitadas: "Yes, though ultimately she has nothing really to worry about - She is His inseparable śakti, and the role of Her rivals in aṣṭakālīya līlā books is very very limited. They hardly feature there. Its like American crime-movies - the good guy always wins, a single fist blow knocks out the opponent for the rest of the show so the good guy can win the whole situation over. So in the līlā it seems Rādhā's parents, husband and rivals are tremendous obstacles but throughout the day you see Her actually enjoying long periods of time with Kṛṣṇa. Rivals and relatives hardly come into the picture. The scenarios in Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi that Rādhārāṇī really spends the whole night without Kṛṣṇa, being deceived by Her rivals, seem hardly realistic to me. Of course, every līlā of Kṛṣṇa is real and eternal, but these descriptions seem to me more like examples of different feelings that can arise in Her in different circumstances - māna, khaṇḍitā, kalahāntaritā, vāsaka sajjikā etc. I can personally not imagine that She would ever really spend the whole night without Kṛṣṇa."

Bhakta: "You said you would make a list of verses that show the superiority of mañjarī bhāva?"

Advaitadas: "Did I? I cant remember, but to summarise - the best examples are given in Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī's purports of Vilāp Kusumāñjali. Then there is Viśvanātha Cakravartī's Saṅkalpa Kalpadruma and there are selected verses of Prembhakti Candrikā, Stavāvalī, Utkalikā Vallari, Rādhā-rasa Sudhānidhi and Vṛndāvan Mahimāmṛta. To compile such a list would be a huge job. But above that, one needs to have one's own realisation that this is the highest thing, taste-wise. It does not depend on scripture and logic, as Rūpa Gosvāmī says 'na ca śāstraṁ na yuktiṁ ca tallobhotpatti lakṣaṇam' "It is attained by greed, not by scriptural evidence or common sense arguments". Elsewhere he said that only thirst can help one appreciate a drink. If there is no thirst, the drink will be right in front of you and you wont drink it, however delicious it is."

Bhakta: "There is a verse in Vṛndāvan Mahimāmṛta which says that the mañjarīs are like foam that emanates from the ocean- like feet of Rādhārāṇī, seemingly suggesting that they, or we, are svarūpa śakti. Others also say that jīva śakti comes from Rādhārāṇī's feet."

Advaitadas: "Mahima means glorification. This is not a tattva statement. There is no evidence that jīva śakti comes from Rādhārāṇī's feet. jīva śakti doesn't come from anywhere. It has always existed, parallel with svarūpa śakti and Kṛṣṇa. It has never been created as an historical event."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Phone sanga (9)

Bhakta: "You said you chant the mahā-mantra to relief Rādhārāṇī from the pangs of separation from Kṛṣṇa. But She is not always in separation from Him."

Advaitadas: "Yes but there is also something called Prema Vaicittya, when Rādhārāṇī feels separation from Kṛṣṇa even while sitting on His lap. Viśvanātha Cakravartī gives very intricate explanations in his Ujjval Nīlamaṇi tikas of how viraha and milana are intertwined. There is also the anticipation of separation. Rādhārāṇī knows that soon Her union with Kṛṣṇa will be over and She will suffer separation again. So there is separation, fear of separation or the illusion of separation. That is especially so in parakīya rasa but even in svakīya rasa - remember the story of Rukmiṇī fainting like a banana tree when Kṛṣṇa jokingly told her He was going to leave her (S.Bhāgavat 10.60). They are legally married and they can spend all day together, yet even then there is the anticipation of separation. It is of course not realistic to only chant the holy name in the times of the day (in aṣṭakālīya līlā) when Rādhārāṇī happens to be separated from Kṛṣṇa."

Bhakta: "So you increase the union by reminding her of separation by chanting? The union becomes more intense when you produce an extra form of Kṛṣṇa by chanting His name?"

Advaitadas: "Sounds interesting, but time will tell if this is actually siddhānta in the sense of yukti and śāstra. What does sound reasonable to me is that when you chant Rādhārāṇī will remember that you were chanting that to Her during times of separation and She may get the apprehension of separation. Another explanation is that the separation-scenario depicted by Dās Gosvāmī may not be the only scenario in which the holy name is to be chanted, because its totally unacceptable that there is any situation in the līlā where the chanting would be unsuitable. Finally there is of course the possibility that this famous mahā mantra vyākhyā is not actually written by Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī (God save us - where will it end?)"

Bhakta: "In Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa's commentary on the Vedanta Sūtra it is mentioned that one can have 1020 siddha svarūpas and some (Śaṅkara, Rāmānuja) comment on that, saying it means unlimited."

Advaitadas: "That could mean that we, as liberated jīvas, can also, like the svarūpa-śakti, participate in the līlās in all the material and spiritual universes. Nevertheless, all the Gosvāmīs have mentioned that we should meditate on a single siddha svarūpa. In our lineage we follow that siddhānta and sādhana of a single svarūpa, in allegiance to the previous ācāryas. Sādhu Bābā argued that one cannot meditate on so many svarūpas since our mind is only one, and the śāstras constantly say that the svarūpa is created by constant meditation on it."

Bhakta: "So the siddha is rendering different services in different universes?"

Advaitadas: "At the time of siddha praṇālī one gets one particular service from the Guru, though throughout the day one may be required to render other services too. Some services, like making garlands or making the bed, cannot be practised all day long. Of course we discussed before that one can just watch the līlā too, as a service, but in Caitanya Caritāmṛta (Madhya 22.155) Mahāprabhu also told Sanātan Gosvāmī -

mane nija siddha deha koriyā bhāvan; 
rātri dine vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇera sevan

'Mentally serve Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in Vraja day and night, in your siddha deha'.

The service you get from the Guru is your main service, your expertise, but need not be the only thing required of you to do. I have not considered the possibility of being engaged in different universes simultaneously, though, not even if my service would be the same everywhere. But to be a monkey in Rām-līlā and at the same time a mañjarī in Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa līlā is not something I have learned from my Guru, or which I have read anywhere in the Gosvāmīs' books. Viśvanātha Cakravartī's famous comment on Bhagavad Gītā 2.41 comes to mind -

"The instructions that my Gurudeva has given me about hearing, chanting, smaraṇa, pāda-sevanam, etc. of Śrī Bhagavān are my very practise, my very goal and my very life. I am unable to give them up in either the stage of practise or perfection. My single desire and only engagement is to follow them. Besides this, I have no other desire or engagement, even in my dreams. There is no loss for me, whether by following these instructions I attain happiness or misery, or whether my material life is destroyed or not."

vyavasayātmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana -"A one pointed mind means a fixed intelligence." bahu śākhā hyanantaśca 'But when you are many-branched, or unlimitedly interested' buddhaya avyavasāyinam - 'This is not a fixed intelligence."

Bhakta: (Quotes various songs and verses depicting the sakhīs apparently witnessing Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa kuñja līlā). You said the mañjarīs have access where the sakhīs don't, but it is mentioned that the sakhīs have access too."

Advaitadas: "Rādhārāṇī feels embarrassed when the sakhīs see Her in an undressed state, but they are also sakhīs, girlfriends, you know. They are not strangers and they are also not stupid - they know what is going on in the kuñja. But the mañjarīs' superiority in intimacy is described in Vraja Vilāsa Stava (38) prāṇa-preṣṭha sakhī-kulād api kilāsaṅkocita bhūmikā - Even Her heart's friends cannot enter into that - asaṅkocita bhūmikā - but the mañjarīs are the abodes of Her complete confidence. sakhīnāṁ lajjayā (Vilap Kusumanjali 92) - "Rādhā feels shy before Her sakhīs." All this evidence is there. Having said all this, the sakhīs are not strangers to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa's pastimes either - each mañjarī serves in the Yūtha (party) of a certain sakhī - devotees of Nityānanda under Lalitā and devotees of Advaita under Viśākhā. Elsewhere in the Stavāvalī, (Sva Saṅkalpa Prakāśa Stotram) Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī, as Tulasī Mañjarī, offers prayers to each of the eight sakhīs. In Vilāpa Kusumāñjali (99) there is a prayer to Viśākhā sakhī just after verse 92, which describes how Rādhārāṇī is shy before the sakhīs.  That all proves that the sakhīs are not outsiders, but not complete insiders either. The sakhīs are intimate and the mañjarī are very intimate with Rādhā."


Bhakta: "In the paddhatīs of Gopāl Guru and Dhyānacandra it is mentioned that the mother of Rasa Mañjarī is named Līlā Mañjarī. How can a bud (mañjarī) become a mother?"

Advaitadas: "Good question. Maybe she is a retired mañjarī who got married and had children (laughs). Seriously, I have no idea. Maybe here mañjarī is a surname, like so many ladies in India that are named Goswāmī. I can only give this general answer:

1. In the Advaita Parivāra we do not follow such paddhatīs.
2. In any case we don't spy on the neighbors, in the sense that it is not vital information for our sādhana.

There are many opinions out there. Related to this, there are some who say that the mañjarī don't even have a yoni (female organ) because they do not render intimate services to Kṛṣṇa anyway. Others say that the cowherd boys also don't have liṅgas (male organs). I think that this is complete nonsense. There is no need for functionality in the causeless world. In the material world one should engage in sex only functionally, for procreation, or else face the karma-bill, but such laws do not exist in the spiritual world. Kṛṣṇa is just having fun and He never needs to pay His bills. The manifestation of nitya līlā is of course completely human, despite the karma-exemption."

Bhakta: "Is separation higher or union?"

Advaitadas: "That is an ever-ongoing debate. I can find evidence on both sides. Those who preach that separation is the highest quote this verse:

saṅgama-viraha-vikalpe varam iha viraho na tu saṅgamas tasya
ekaḥ sa eva saṅge tribhuvanam api tanmayaṁ virahe

“Of the duality of union and separation I still prefer separation, not union with Him. When I am united with Him I see Him in a single form, but when I am separated from Him I see the three worlds filled with Him only.” (Padyāvalī, 239)

Kuntī-devī prays in the Bhāgavata (1.8.25) "Let us always be in trouble because then we will always think of you. When we have fun we will forget You."

Those who preach the supremacy of meeting quote:

nikuñja yūno rati keli siddhyai yā yālibhir yuktir apekṣanīya
tatrāti dakṣād ati ballabhasya vande guroḥ-śrī caraṇāravindam

"Sri Guru is very expert in arranging for the meeting of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in the nikunjas."

Generally mañjarīs' mission is to accomplish the meeting of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. I wonder if there is any ultimate answer to the question whether separation or union is higher, and I wonder if it makes any difference to the residents of the spiritual sky."

Bhakta: "Many of these descriptions of services rendered to Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa appear very self-centered."

Advaitadas: "Yes, the false ego of ego-centrism in the material world gets transformed to a pure ego of servant-hood, as you know, but even then one remains self-centered, be it in a devotional manner. When you talk to your Guru you also consider yourself to be the center of his attention. In his commentary on Vilāpa Kusumāñjali, verse 17, Śrīla Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī gives the example of Tulasī Mañjarī getting kicked on the arm by Swāminījī and then proudly going from kuñja to kuñja to show off the lac-mark on her arm. There is no more false ego left then, though. "āmrā rāi-er abhimāna" It is the self-esteem of 'we belong to Rāi (Rādhā)'. "

Bhakta: "Some say that jīva śakti can turn into svarūpa śakti."

Advaitadas: "Not as far as śāstra is concerned. On the other hand, having spoken all this śāstra, ultimately we are all out there, standing shoulder to shoulder with Lalitā, Viśākhā and all the other members of the svarūpa śakti, and it's not that we are aware of who is jīva and who is svarūpa śakti while we render our services. It's not that we all carry ID cards on our chests like members of a conference or of a security guard. Ontologically speaking the distinction is there forever, but not in the līlā and sevā."

Bhakta: "Can vaidhi bhakti cause greed?"

Advaitadas: "Greed is the impetus of rāgānugā bhakti and is caused by the grace of Kṛṣṇa and His devotees. Vaidhi bhakti itself cannot cause greed."

Bhakta: "How can we feel separation from someone we never met?"

Advaitadas: "Though we neither fell from the spiritual world, nor is prema dormant within the heart, we do belong to Kṛṣṇa (mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūta sanātana) and the potential for loving Kṛṣṇa is with us as well. You get acquainted with Kṛṣṇa by reading śāstra. You then realise how attractive Kṛṣṇa is and start missing Him. It cannot be compared with material relationships. Take pūrva-rāga - Rādhārāṇī is attracted to the name of some boy, the sound of His flute and His picture and misses Him before even meeting Him. That is beautifully described in Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda's Vidagdha Mādhava-drama. pūrva-rāga is one of the four types of separation from Kṛṣṇa. Attraction increases to the point of feeling separation, though you have not really met Him before. But as I say, this is a spiritual thing. Meditation on Kṛṣṇa is meeting Kṛṣṇa Himself- taṁ sākṣāt pratipedire (Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu)."

Bhakta: "The caves of Govardhana Hill are described as places for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa to enjoy. That is pretty rough."

Advaitadas: "In the Bhāgavata (10.24.24) Kṛṣṇa says -

na naḥ puro janapadā na grāma na gṛhā vayam; 
nityam vanaukasas tāta vana śaila nivāsinaḥ

"Dad, there are neither cities nor territories nor villages nor houses in our possession. We always dwelled in the forest, woodlands and on mountains." Jīva Gosvāmī comments: nityaṁ vanaṁ na kadāpyanyatra prayāma "Eternal means that we never go anywhere else." That is quite the opposite of some of the jewelled palaces we see in other līlā granthas. As for the caves, I am sure the mañjarī will make nice arrangements inside with a soft flower-floor, nice pictures, lamps, incense, a sandal fire for warmth and so. But basically the idea of making love in a cave is extremely romantic. Extreme mādhurya. Intriguingly, if you go now to Mt. Govardhan you will not find caves there. Perhaps they were shut in due course of time or they only exist in the nitya līlā, who knows?"


Bhakta: "Other sampradāyas worship Candravali."

Advaitadas: "In Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī's Vraja Vilāsa Stava (40) Candrāvali is praised for increasing Rādhārāṇī's fortune, great pride, ecstatic bewilderment and other characteristics of an amorous heroine. Ultimately the vipakṣa (enemies) are another group of sakhīs (Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi Hariballabha 1-2). They can never break Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa's relationship permanently. māna (jealous anger) can cause Swāminījī to storm out on Kṛṣṇa but that will never last long. Anger, jealousy - this is all prema-rasa. It flatters Kṛṣṇa's ego if the girls fight over Him."


Bhakta: "How do we know which statements in śāstra are exaggarated?"

Advaitadas: "Primarily through their authorized commentaries. Insincere people should not get the opportunity to play down the verdict of śāstra to find an excuse for sense enjoyment. Apart from that, it is a matter of adhikāra. If you would tell a new bhakta that some things are exaggerated you may destroy his/her faith in the bud. More experienced devotees, who have deep taste and realizations and firm faith can make such distinctions though. Nanda Mahārāja thought all the stories about Kṛṣṇa's miracles were exaggerated - he would never accept that He is the Supreme Lord. That is his mādhurya jñāna and his high level of adhikāra."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

25 ২৫

Sādhu Bābā shortly after he gave me diksa, on his 48th birthday anniversary in Navadvip, October 1982

It is often said that the day of your initiation is the day of your new, spiritual birth. In that case it is my 25th birthday today, though my material body is already 51. The closest statement I can find in śāstra to confirm this belief is

dīkṣā kāle bhakta kore ātma samarpana; 
sei kāle kṛṣṇa tāte kore ātma sama. 
sei deha kore tār cid-ānandamoy; 
aprākṛta dehe tar caraṇa bhajoy 

from Caitanya Caritāmṛta 4.192-193. "At the time of initiation the devotee surrenders him/herself. At that time Kṛṣṇa considers that devotee to be equal to Himself. He grants the devotee a transcendental body through which the devotee can worship His lotus feet." Śrīla Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja then quotes the following verse from the Bhāgavata (11.29.34) to illustrate it:

martyo yadā tyakta-samasta-karmā 
niveditātmā vicikīrṣito me
tadāmṛtatvaḥ pratipadyamāno 
mayātma-bhūyāya ca kalpate vai 

"If a mortal person gives up all social duties to surrender unto Me, I grant that person immortality and My personal service." Of the ṭīkās, Śrī Viśvanātha's is the most interesting. He explains: niveditātmā mat-svarūpa-bhūyāya man-mantropadeśakāya gurave -"Surrendering one's self means surrendering to the dīkṣā-Guru". Then he quotes a śloka from an unknown source:

yo’haṁ mamāsti yat kincid iha loke paratra ca 
tat sarvaṁ bhavato nātha caraṇeṣu samarpitam

"Whoever I am and whatever I have, either in this world or in the other, all that, O Lord, I offer unto Your lotus feet."

ātma-bhūyāya sva-bhṛtyai "ātma bhūya means attaining the Lord's servanthood."
phalaṁ tu premavat pārṣadatvam "The result is prema and becoming the Lord's personal associate."

In the week preceding my dīkṣā I had been interviewing Bābā with the help of Bābā's disciple Nivedita Bannerji (now living at Rādhākund under the name 'Haripriyā Mā'). This lady was the only person present who knew both English and Bengali, so she was of crucial importance. Because Bābā was scheduled to return to Navadvīp on September 27 and was said not to visit Vraja more than once a year, I was compelled to make a snap decision on taking dīkṣā. Moreover, I was unsure if my visa would be extended to last another year. On September 24 I had resolved to take dīkṣā and expressed my application to sister Nivedita, who told Bābā.  It was an exciting moment, because Bābā thought for a while before he decided to give me dīkṣā. In those days traditional Vaiṣṇavas were very suspicious of westerners (with some reason) and were very cautious about giving them dīkṣā.  Only 2-3 Gurus had so far agreed to give them dīkṣā, so it was far from guaranteed. Besides, the Haribhakti Vilāsa (chapter 1) says that Guru and śiṣya must test each other for 1 year (brāhmin), 2 years (kṣatriya), 3 years (vaiśya) and 4 years (śūdra), so where would that even leave a westerner? So it was a great relief when Bābā said yes. He will give it tomorrow. Later that same afternoon I hear that Bābā wants to postpone it to September 27, the day of his departure back to Navadvipa. Many years later, in 2000, I learned that 25-9-82 was a bad constellation, mūlā, while the 27th was an auspicious one, uttarāṣāḍhā. Baba was so kind to give me a good launching-pad for my bhajan!

I was also asked to hand in a notebook for Bābā to write the mantras and other instructions in. I asked him to give me a new name on that day. This was also kind of special, because new names are generally only given when devotees take sannyāsa, as we can see in the pastimes of Gaurāṅga f.i.

I received a number of photos to install on my altar - one of Bābā, one of Advaita Prabhu and one of Rādhā-Madangopāl, the deities of Jyetha Mahāśoy (Bābā's elder brother Govinda Gopāl Gosvāmī).

On september 26 I begged 15 Rs dakṣiṇā (alms for the Guru) from two friends in Vṛndāvan and early on Monday, 27th september, I took a bath in the Yamunā (Bābā had asked me to do so) and put on a neat dhoti (normally I walked around in short white rags in those days). At Bihārījī Mandir I bought a flower garland and then proceeded to Advaita Bhavan. I arrived a bit early because Bābā had to bathe still. After bathing Bābā took me into the back room, blinded the windows and whispered two dīkṣā-mantras in my right ear. After that he also gave me the mahā mantra, which he called tārak brahma nāma. This was also extraordinary - Bābā normally first gave only harināma and only six months later mantra, but he gave me mantra at once, while I was even just a westerner, and then harināma afterwards. I had to repeat each word of each mantra three times over. After this he made tilaka on the twelve designated places on my body with the emblem of the Advaita-parivāra. My friend Rādhā Ramaṇa had previously told me how it looks and now Bābā confirmed it in deed: A stem on the forehead and a Banyan-leaf on the nose. After that Bābā took a Tulasī-mālā in the hand to put around my neck, but when he saw that I already had one he left it. Bābā had already written the dīkṣā-mantras in my notebook in both Bengali and English, adding to it: "Your present name is Adwaita dasji Maharaj". The dīkṣā consisted of just two Kṛṣṇa-mantras, as I had expected, the two mantras that are actually mentioned in the śāstras. I asked Bābā what the rules for an initiated devotee are, and he told me: ‘Eat pure, be chaste and don’t drink’ (this is just a rough, concise translation of a more elaborate sermon Bābā gave me). I offered Bābā the flower garland I bought, but it was entangled, and I failed to unravel it, so I just left it like that on the floor. Then I gave him the Rs.15 guru dakṣiṇā that I managed to collect but he did not want to accept it. Instead he said, in English: "I don't need this. I want your heart." This is also not a usual reaction for a poor Indian sādhu vis a vis a rich westerner. I left the money at his feet. Bābā also said: “Our caste distinction is based on the body, not on the soul.” I received a Bengali folder with an arcanā paddhatī that explained the rites for practising the mantras. I also asked Bābā for siddha praṇālī, but he found that too early. Before leaving for Navadvīpa, Bābā told me: “If you have any questions about bhajan then ask my elder brother.”

The family's Vṛndāvana-residence is in Patthar Purā, in the north of town. Patthar Purā means "stone city", the place in Vṛndāvana that delivered the stones to build Rūpa Gosvāmī's Govinda Mandir, which is just down the road from there. I received my mantras at the base of the Yogapīṭh, Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s mystical meeting place.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Phone Sanga (8)

Bhakta: "Are you sure that westerners are not qualified for sannyāsa?"

Advaitadas: "In Mādhurya Kādambini a symptom of a beginner is called utsāha, enthusiasm. This is not the same enthusiasm which is hailed by Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Upadeśāmṛta, because the latter is connected with dhairya, patience, and niścaya, determination. That is a much higher level. In the scale of reincarnation westerners are totally new to this Vedic culture. You see they are much more enthusiastic than an average Indian Vaiṣṇava, but this wears off, and it may not wear off in a few minutes, but it can take 10-15 years. We are so new to this that we think 15 years is an 'old' devotee, so we give such an 'old' western devotee sannyāsa and within a few years he is back out on the street again, because his was, still, merely utsāha. There is purity but it does not have deep roots. There is no saṁskāra of this life, what to speak of the previous life. That is why the Vedas only allow born brahmins to take sannyāsa - even low caste Indians are a risk, let alone a westerner."

Bhakta: "The Vṛndāvana Mahimāmṛta (1.54) says "The entire festival of the Lord's bliss is only a drop compared to the joy the sakhīs experience when they stare at the ocean of pastimes of Rādhā's hero (Kṛṣṇa)." So their joy is greater than the Lord's and everyone else's together?"

Advaitadas: "This is a glorification. The very name of this book says it all -mahimāmṛta - glorification. In the same book (2.15) it is said that "If someone will tell me to leave Vraja I will certainly kill him (hanmyavaśya), and if my Guru tells me to leave Vṛndāvan I will reject my Guru." Well, Narottama was told by his Guru to leave Vraja and he submissively left Vraja. Can you imagine? There are so many people - your relatives or the Indian Govt - who may tell you to leave Vraja - would you kill them for it? Some verses must be read with the heart rather than with the brain. They are cries of love. These are super-subjective statements and interpretations of love - AbsoluteTruth vs Absolute Fact. Rational analysis of this is like pushing a square peg into a round hole. In understanding these statements, change just one letter in the word 'literal' and come to 'liberal'. This is not undevotional or anti-devotional."

Bhakta: "How does the holy name enter the ears?"

Advaitadas: "The holy name is the sound form of the Lord. You associate with Kṛṣṇa in a sound form."

Bhakta: "So I associate with Rādhā when I chant Hare and with Kṛṣṇa when I chant Kṛṣṇa?"

Advaitadas: "In our concept (the one of Śrīla Raghunātha Dās Gosvāmī) the whole mantra is about Kṛṣṇa, but even if Hare meant Rādhā, there is the verse 'rādhā pūrṇa śakti - kṛṣṇa pūrṇa śaktimān; dui vastu bheda nāi' (CC) 'Rādhā is the supreme energy and Kṛṣṇa the supreme energetic. There is no difference between the two." Your conception will depend on the explanation the Guru gives of the mantra, but the presence of the Lord will always be there, regardless of the angle of vision. Nectar appears in the mouth while chanting, that is the proof - abhinna nāma nāmino -there is no difference between the Name and the Named. Only on the level of bhāva-bhakti you can see Them in the Names, but otherwise you can taste Them still. Even ordinary devotees often have the experience that they cannot stop chanting because it is so nice. A Guru-given interpretation of the words of the mahā mantra is required, as well as a peaceful concentrated mind. We chant in mañjarī bhāva, trying to save Śrī Swāminījī's life by chanting the names of Kṛṣṇa,  lest She dies of separation."

Bhakta: "Is relishing Kṛṣṇa's sweetness a side-effect of devotional service?"

Advaitadas: "We have to analyse the meaning of the word bhakti. It is sometimes translated as 'devotional service', implying that it needs to be some hard labour. Actually it means 'devotion', and Rūpa Gosvāmī has listed 64 items of it, of which just some of them are hard labour. Many items, like tasting (actually honouring) prasāda, seeing the deities, tasting Tulasī-leaves, smelling incense, are certainly not hard labor, but they are acts of worship just as well."

Bhakta: "Yes, but what about the verse hṛśīkena hṛśīkeśa sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate? (Serving Kṛṣṇa with the senses is called bhakti)?"

Advaitadas: "There are jñānendriya (knowledge-acquiring senses) and karmendriya (active senses). It is not that Kṛṣṇa can only be served with the active senses, and bhakti consists only of loading sankīrtan-vans and mopping the floor of the temple-building. Maharaja Ambarīṣa served Kṛṣṇa with his eyes by seeing the deity, through his nose by smelling offered Tulasī-leaves and through his tongue by tasting prasāda, na tu kāma kāmyaya - 'But not for his own gratification'. (SB 9.4.18-20). In Vilāpa Kusumāñjali (76) Tulasī Mañjarī prays just for the vision of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa's pastimes. In his explanations, Śrīla Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī quotes Swāminījī saying: “Tulasi! Aren’t you doing anything?” Tulasī – “Do we have to serve all the time? Now we cannot serve – You found Yourself a good decorator now! (In this verse Kṛṣṇa decorates Rādhikā) Let the ocean of our bliss surge as we watch Him perform this service!” Watching is an act of dedication. A non-devotee would not bother watching it, but a devotee is interested, and that is pleasing to Kṛṣṇa - anukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā. In the material context it is the same - if someone gazes at you with love and admiration, that will certainly please you. The only thing that counts is dedication."

Bhakta: "In Vṛndāvana Mahimāmṛta trees of wine are mentioned. Is this poetry, glorification or real time?"

Advaitadas: "I think it is all of this. Wine is liquid, not solid, but in the spiritual world that should not be impossible. Jesus walked over water in the material world, and when you freeze water it becomes solid (ice), too. Vai-kuṇṭha means there is no limitation."

Bhakta: "Are the assistents of the 8 sakhīs like Lalitā also celibate, like Rādhā's maidservants, or do they indulge with Kṛṣṇa?"

Advaitadas: "I don't know, and the identity of these sakhīs or mañjarīs is also not really clear to me. Some devotees have elaborated on the eight sakhīs' kuñjas at Rādhākuṇḍa and have ascribed eight assistants to each of the eight sakhīs and then these 64 assistants may have again 8 assistants. Such assistants are called upasakhīs, though, not mañjarīs. I once joked about it that such coronas of lotus-like kuñjas may extend up to Sūryakund or Kośī."

Bhakta: "Well, it is said in śāstra that all the universes fit into a single corner of Vrajamaṇḍala, so why not?"

Advaitadas: "Just joking. The point is that my Guru emphasised simplicity. Such endless coronas may be there, but we don't spy on the neighbors. We have enough to do ourselves - 8 - 64 - 512 - 4096 kuñjas, and so it may go on. Let it go on."

Bhakta: "Mañjarī bhāva is directly taught by Mahāprabhu?'

Advaitadas: "It is briefly described by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and more elaborately by Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī, who had Mahāprabhu's Personal association for 16 long years in Puri. What actually took place in these years we don't know, but the Caitanya Caritāmṛta speaks of antaraṅga sevā, Raghunātha rendering intimate services to Svarūpa Dāmodāra there. Since Svarūpa Dāmodara's notebooks are lost we may never know what that actually means. But the Gosvāmīs are of course totally empowered and endorsed by Mahāprabhu, so we see Mañjarī Bhāva as His personal gift to us."

Bhakta: "If Kṛṣṇa's ornaments are beautified by His limbs then why should He wear ornaments at all?"

Advaitadas: "In Śrīla Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī's comments on Vilāpa Kusumāñjali Rādhikā asks Tulasī Mañjarī: "Why put lipstick on My lips if they are anyway so beautiful?' Tulasī replies that the lipstick will look good on an indigo background (Kṛṣṇa's cheeks). Similarly the red lac on Her feet looks good on Kṛṣṇa's head, etc. I do believe that the ornaments have some decorating effect in themselves, though. Besides, we must remember that these are not ordinary metals, stones and flowers -they are manifestations of the internal potency's sandhinī śakti, transcendental items. Just as the love of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs constantly enhance each other (hurāhurī), so it is with the beauty of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa's limbs and Their ornaments. It is not that the ornaments will dim the splendour of Their limbs either.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Śrī-Śrī Rādhāṣṭamī



rādhā karāvacita pallava ballarīke
rādhā padāṅka vilasan madhura sthalīke
rādhā yaśo mukhara matta khagāvalīke
rādhā bihāra bipine ramatāṁ mano me

( Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi - 14)

This is probably Sādhu Bābā's favorite verse of Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi, and the verse through which he first introduced me to  Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi. In English it says:

"My mind rejoices in the play-forest of  Rādhā,  where all the vines and leaves are touched by  Rādhā's hands, where the place is sweetened by the playful footsteps of  Rādhā and where the birds madly sing about the fame and glory of  Rādhā."


Pada by Ghanaśyām Dās:

Rāgiṇī Kalyāṇī - Tāla Daśa Kusi

BHĀDRA ŚUKLĀṢṬAMĪ TITHI, VIŚĀKHĀ NAKṢATRA TATHI,
ŚRĪMATI JANAMA SEI KĀLE
MADHYA DINA GATA RAVI, DEKHIYĀ BĀLIKĀ CHABI,
JAYA JAYA DEI KUTŪHOLE

"On the eighth day of the bright lunar quarter in the month of Bhādra, during the Viśākhā constellation Śrīmati took birth. When the sun had passed midday and they saw the luster of the little girl the people eagerly sang "Jaya Jaya!"

VṚṢABHĀNU PURE,     PRATI GHARE GHARE,
JAYA RĀDHE ŚRĪ RĀDHE BOLE
KANYĀRA CĀṄDA MUKHA DEKHI,     RĀJĀ HOILĀ MAHĀ-SUKHĪ,
DĀNA DEI BRĀHMAṆA SAKALE

"In every house in Vṛṣabhānupura the shouts of Jaya Rādhe! Śrī Rādhe! resounded. Seeing his daughter's moonlike face, Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja became very happy and gave donations to the local brāhmaṇas."

NĀNĀ DRAVYA HASTE KORI, NAGARERA YOTO NĀRĪ,
ĀILĀ SABHE KĪRTIKĀ MANDIRE
ANEKA PUṆYERA PHALE, DAIVA HOILĀ ANUKŪLE,
E HENO BĀLIKĀ MILE TORE

"Taking different presents in their hands all the women of the town came to the abode of Mother Kīrtidā (saying:) "As a result of great piety Fate became favorable to you, so that you have attained such a little girl!"

MODERA MONE HENO LOY, EHO TO MĀNUṢA NOY,
KON CHALE KEBĀ JANAMILĀ
GHANAŚYĀMA DĀSA KOY, NĀ KORIHO SAṀŚAYA,
KṚṢṆA PRIYĀ SADAYA HOILĀ

"We think that this is not a human being. Who has taking a hidden incarnation here?" Ghanaśyāma dāsa says: "Don't doubt it! Kṛṣṇa-priyā has become merciful (by appearing)!"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The ācāryas on immature bhajan

The commentaries on the Gītā's 'hypocrite'-verse (3.6) give a fascinating description of what can go wrong when one immaturely takes sannyāsa and starts / continues making a show of meditation. In our sampradāya one cannot help but think of immature persons who, either out of naive idealism or for material benefits, settle full-time in a holy place like Rādhākund to start 'meditating'. The Gītā-verse itself runs as follows:


karmendriyāṇi saṁyamya ya āste manasā smaran
indriyārthān vimūḍhātmā mithyācāraḥ sa ucyate


'He who controls his active senses but whose mind dwells on sensual objects and is bewildered by them, is called a hypocrite."

Let us first relish Sridhara Swami's comments:

ato’jnaṁ karma-tyāginaṁ nindati karmendriyāṇīti vāk-pāṇy-ādīni karmendriyāṇi 

"The Lord here criticizes the ignorant who give up activities and control the active senses like the speech and hands."

saṁyamya bhagavad-dhyāna-cchalena indriyārthān viṣayān smarann āste 

'Controlling the senses means here: Making a show of meditating on the Lord while remembering sensual things.'

aviśuddhatayā manasā ātmani sthairyābhāvāt

'His impurity is caused by unsteadiness of the mind' (When the mind is not peaceful one will become active in the wrong way, A.d.)

sa mithyācāraḥ kapaṭācāro dāmbhika ucyata ity arthaḥ

"He is called a hypocrite or fraudster."

Madhusudan Saraswati comments in his tika:

yathā-kathancid autsukya-mātreṇa kṛta-sannyāsas tv aśuddha-cittas tat-phala-bhāṅ na bhavati yataḥ

"Simply due to some enthusiasm one takes sannyāsa with an impure mind. This will not yield the desired fruits."

yo vimūḍhātmā rāga-dveṣādi-dūṣitāntaḥ-karaṇa autsukya-mātreṇa karmendriyāṇi vāk-pāṇy-ādīni saṁyamya nigṛhya bahir-indriyaiḥ karmāṇy akurvann iti yāvat

"This verse speaks of the bewildered soul whose psyche is polluted by attachment and repulsion and simply out of some enthusiasm controls his external senses like speech and hands, not performing any external action."

manasā rāgādi-preritendriyārthān śabdādīn na tv ātma-tattvaḥ smarann āste 

"His minds remembers things, like sounds etc., he is attached or averse to, instead of remembering spiritual things." (The word 'sounds' is funny - it reminds me of all the agitation caused in the mind by the blasting loud all-night Bollywood Music in the holy places nowadays. I do know real saints, including Sādhu Bābā, though, who were / are completely undisturbed by that).

kṛta-sannyāso’ham ity abhimānena karma-śūnyas tiṣṭhati sa mithyācāraḥ sattva-śuddhy-abhāvena phalāyogyatvāt pāpācāra ucyate

He proudly thinks/says 'I have taken sannyāsa' and remains devoid of external activity, but he is a hypocrite. Because of a lack of viśuddha sattva he is unqualified for attaining the results of his activities and thus is called a sinner."


tvaṁ-padārtha-vivekāya sannyāsaḥ sarva-karmaṇām
 śrutyeha vihito yasmāt tat-tyāgī patito bhavet ity ādi-dharma-śāstreṇa 


Śrīpād Madhusūdan then quotes the Dharma Śāstra: "To attain the Supreme one must renounce all activities (sannyāsa). This is what the Śrutis command. Whoever gives this up is considered fallen."

Monday, September 10, 2007

প্রথম মিলন Pratham Milan - Silver jubilee


brahmāṇḍa bhramite kon bhāgyavān jīva;
guru kṛṣṇa prasāde pāy bhakti latā bīja


(Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 19.151):

"Some soul wandering through the material world may be so fortunate to, by the grace of Guru and Kṛṣṇa, receive the seed of the creeper of devotion."

After searching for long, that moment came for me, 25 years ago today, in Vṛndāvana, as I first met my eternal Guru. I made these notes on it in my Indian diary - Vṛndāvana, Friday, September 10, 1982:

(In the preceding days my friend, compatriot and neighbor Rādhā Raman Dās, tried to help me find a Guru, so he had introduced me to some of the prominent Mahātmās of Vṛndāvana of the day, like Rohiṇīndranāth Mitra and Tinkuri Bābā. After introducing me to Tinkuri Gosvāmī, Rādhā Ramaṇa tells me there is another Gosvāmī in town, from Navadvīpa, who is a direct descendant of Advaita Prabhu. He had met him with Asurāri and Madhusūdan when he was in Navadvīpa last July and is named Nikuñja Gopāl Gosvāmī).

September 10, 1982 — Rādhā Raman brings me for the first darśana of Nikuñja Gopāl Gosvāmī as a candidate-guru, in a small house next to the bhajanāśrama, named "Śyāma Vinodini Kuñja". It is the same house where I met Govinda Gopāl Gosvāmī three months earlier; he turns out to be his elder brother. Bābā is corpulent and short, but very effulgent. He has a long beard, long jaṭās (dreadlocks) and huge Tulasī-beads around his neck. He is very happy to meet us. He calls out "Jay Rādhe! Jay Rādhe!" to greet us. It is love at first sight. We don’t stay long, since we don’t really know what to say (Rādhā Raman knows only little Bengali, I don't know anything yet at this point). Back outside I tell Rādhā Raman  "Wow, he's really amazing!" "I told you so!", Rādhā Raman says.

(It would take another 10 precious days before I met Bābā again, because I came down with dysenteria in between).


I found Bābā pretty much the in way he looks on the picture here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A happy Janmāṣṭamī to all




pūtanā-vadhādi yata līlā kṣaṇe kṣaṇe
saba līlā nitya prakaṭa kare anukrame

ananta brahmāṇḍa, tāra nāhika gaṇana
kona līlā kona brahmāṇḍe haya prakaṭana

ei-mata saba līlā — yena gańgā-dhāra
se-se līlā prakaṭa kare vrajendra-kumāra

krame bālya-paugaṇḍa-kaiśoratā-prāpti
rāsa-ādi līlā kare, kaiśore nitya-sthiti

'nitya-līlā' kṛṣṇera sarva-śāstre koy
bujhite nā pāre līlā kemane 'nitya' hoy

dṛṣṭānta diyā kahi tabe loka yadi jāne
kṛṣṇa-līlā — nitya, jyotiścakra-pramāṇe

"Kṛṣṇa's pastimes are eternal, even the manifest ones - at each moment he is killing Pūtanā somewhere, and all His other pastimes are progressing somewhere at some point at this moment. There is no counting the number of universes, and in which universe Kṛṣṇa performs which pastime. In this way His pastimes flow like the course of the Ganges. At each point the son of Brajendra manifests one pastime or the other. It is like the sun who is traversing the sky and is always shining at one point in creation, though not everywhere at the same time. Wherever He performs His pastimes He grows from babyhood to boyhood to adolescence, where His age enters eternity."

Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya 20. 379-384