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Monday, July 30, 2007

Female Kṛṣṇa, Fall of the jīva, is bhajan selfish?

Phone-sanga # 4:

Bhakta: "Some people say that there must be a female Kṛṣṇa, called Kṛṣṇā, who has so many gopa-lovers as Kṛṣṇa has gopī-lovers."

Advaitadas: "This idea may be coming from a women's rights movement, who want equal rights with Kṛṣṇa,  the 'male' God. Needless to say,there is no evidence for this. We cannot just tell Kṛṣṇa what its going to be like in His abode - He calls the shots. There is also no need to think that the female aspect is less than the male. We say 'Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa', 'Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa', 'Sītā-Rāma', the female is always mentioned first, and then the male. We say "I am going to Rādhākuṇḍa", not "I'm going to Śyāmakuṇḍa". We are worshippers of Rādhārāṇī before we are worshippers of Kṛṣṇa,  so we are the last place where there is need for a women's movement. One needs to beware of rasābhāsa (semblance of flavour) and viruddha siddhānta (controversial philosophies), and this speculation may well fit into both of these categories. Intrinsically all jivas are prakrti, female (predominated). prakṛtiṁ viddhi me paraṁ jīva bhūta (Bhagavad Gita 7.5)."

Bhakta: "What about Mohinī Mūrti then?"

Advaitadas: "There is no description anywhere of Her having millions of male lovers, as Kṛṣṇa has millions of girlfriends, nor is She mentioned as svayam bhagavān in any scripture, nor is there even a scripture dedicated to Her. Kṛṣṇā is of course existing, but not as a female competitor/counterpart of Kṛṣṇa.  Kṛṣṇā is a name of the Yamunā or Draupadī, that is all. rādhā-kṛṣṇa ek ātma dui deha dhari - Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa are one, but have different bodies. God is already both male and female, no need for emancipation up there. That is a place of surrender, that's all."

Fall of the jīva, part 3
Bhakta: "If we did not fall from the spiritual world and this is not a punishment then why are we suffering here?"

Advaitadas: "It is already explained in this blog (comments pages to blog "Three hours on the phone") that there is no reason for this, see Māṇḍukya Upaniṣad quoted there. We are conditioned to causal thinking, since we lie in the Causal Ocean. The first ray of light of causelessness that penetrates this causal world of ours is mercy. It means you get something you do not deserve. Most of us western devotees used to be the lowest of the lowest, and yet we got this great opportunity of pure devotion to Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, that is something we did not deserve. Slowly we will have to give up the attachment to causal thinking to transcend this causal world. Even if we had fallen from the spiritual world, there would have been no beginning to our existence there at least. In either case the concept of causelessness needs to be adopted. Compromising by preaching fall-vāda to keep it understandable for beginners only creates double work - sooner or later you have to re-educate them with the real story anyway, so why waste time and effort? Just tell them the truth right away, however abstract it is."

Bhakta: "In Śrīmad Bhagavatam 11.14.25 it is said: "Just as gold, when smelted in fire, gives up its impurities and returns to its pure brilliant state, similarly, the spirit soul, absorbed in the fire of bhakti-yoga, is purified of all contamination caused by previous fruitive activities and returns to its original position of serving Me in the spiritual world." And in the purport it is said: "According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Thākura, this verse indicates that the devotee goes back home, back to Godhead, and there worships Lord Kṛṣṇa in his original spiritual body, which is compared to the original pure form of smelted gold."

Advaitadas: "That is not what that verse, nor what that purport says. There is no mentioning of us going back anywhere in that verse. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Thākura has already said in his comment on SB 3.7.10 (see comments-page of blog "Three hours on the phone") that our conditioning is beginningless and without reason. This 11.14.25 comment is exactly like that, but if it were as in your version he would contradict his previous (3.7.10) comment. Also none of the 4 comments on that verse, by either Śrīdhara Swāmī, Sanātan Gosvāmī, Jīva Gosvāmī or Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Thākura speak about falling and returning and so. Satyanārāyan Dās in his book "In Vaikuṇṭha not even the leaves fall", explains that the molten gold does not refer to one's original pure form. The statement in Viṣṇu Dharmottara Purāṇa (quoted by Satyanārāyan Prabhu in his book 'In Vaikuṇṭha not even the leaves fall") and by Haridās Thākur in the Caitanya Caritamṛta (Antya 3.77-80) that if the population of the universe is liberated it is re-populated by sūkṣma jīvas, 'subtle souls' who will develop their activities, who will then become mobile and immobile beings, which means they are even lower than immobile beings, does not mean they are new creations. They are simply completely unconscious. This is quite the reverse of the theory that we not only fell from the spiritual world but then started off as Lord Brahma as our first conditioned life-form. śāstra clearly says there is no limit to the number of jīvas and they are all beginningless."

Bhakta: "How could the offering brahmins live in Vṛndāvan, since they were so indifferent towards Kṛṣṇa?"

Advaitadas: "So many demons were there too - Aghāsur, Bakāsur, they wanted to kill Kṛṣṇa, then why couldn't there be people who are not interested in Kṛṣṇa?  They may also have been placed there to show the contrast with their wives, who WERE great devotees of Kṛṣṇa,  or to show the futility of the Vedic rituals they were into, vis a vis śuddha bhakti. At the end they said:

dhig janma nas trivṛdh vidyāṁ dhig vrataṁ dhig bahu-vratam
dhik kulaṁ dhik kriya-dakṣyam vimukha ye tvadhokṣaje

'Damned is the birth, damned is the knowledge, damned are the vows, damned are the dynasty-lineages and damned is the expertise in fruitive activities of whoever turned away his face from Kṛṣṇa." (SB 10.23.39) Kṛṣṇa is in control and He decides who lives in Vṛndāvana, even if they are bahirmukhas."

Bhakta: "In Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa it is mentioned that Brahmā not only saw the calves and the boys turn into Viṣṇu mūrtis but also the birds, trees,animals - everything."

Advaitadas: "Sure, why not?"

Bhakta: "Well, Brahmā didn't steal the birds and trees."

Advaitadas: "Hahaha - Why not? Kṛṣṇa is everything. Maybe He stole the rest of the place Himself and hid them in another cave, then He Himself became the birds and the bees - who knows?"

Bhakta: "Perhaps Brahmā became an uttamādhikārī?"

Advaitadas: "Maybe he had a flash experience like that - who knows?"
(Seriously:) "Generally, though, I don't think it is very helpful to read books like Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa - it was not recommended by any of our ācāryas. It can lead to confusion or mixed conceptions. In our conception, for instance, Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa's parents are not aware of Their relationship with Each other. We offer our obeisances to all scriptures because they have all been revealed by Vyāsadeva to aid different audiences on different levels, but its not that they are all equally helpful for rūpnuga bhaktas."

Bhakta: "It is said that Purāṇas describe Kṛṣṇa līlā of different kalpas."

Advaitadas: "Yes, but I also think there are different levels of conception and revelation in the different, perhaps historically parallel līlās, described in the different Purāṇas."

Bhakta: "It is said in śāstra that brahmins are gods on earth and if you offer food to them you have already offered to Viṣṇu?"

Advaitadas: "Yes, this is called bhū-sura and bali-bhug. Bhū-sura means god on earth and is mentioned in verse 1, line 1 of the Manaḥ Śikṣā. bali-bhug means that Viṣṇu eats offerings through the brahmins. Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, however, still offer food first to Kṛṣṇa before feeding brahmins. namo brahmanya devāya go brāhmaṇa hitāya ca - Govinda is the benefactor of the cows and the brahmins."

Bhajan is selfish? part 3:

Bhakta: "It is said in Śrīmad Bhāgavata 4.12.36-37 that one cannot go to the spiritual world without performing welfare work and without being compassionate."

Advaitadas: "Absolutely, but apart from whatever that verse of the Bhāgavat says, you're not going to tell me that if you follow the Six Gosvāmīs, sit down in Vṛndāvana and meditate on Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa that you will not attain Them, because you may not engage in preaching. That is completely unacceptable. At one point Mahāprabhu gave up all welfare work and withdrew into the Gambhīrā. The Gosvāmīs have only spoken about bhajan, and Kṛṣṇa has concluded the Gītā with: man mana bhava mad bhakto mad yaji māṁ namaskuru - "Think of Me, be My devotee, worship Me and bow down to Me" - that is exactly all the items of bhajan. mam eva eṣyasi - "certainly you will come to Me", satyam - "truly" te pratijāne - "I promise you that." That is so obvious and strong, and that verse comes two times even in the Bhagavad Gītā (9.34 and 18.65). Most people who do bhajan also do some preaching as well anyway, it is rarely purely this way or the other."


  1. For the sake of accuracy, I like to mention that the book "In Vaikuntha Not Even The Leaves Fall" wasn't authored exclusively by Satyanarayan Das but by him along with Kundali das. So its not 'his' book but 'their' book.


  2. I think that the problem in making a distinction between bhajan and preaching is that, ultimately, these two are in fact connected as sankirtan. The gosvamis may not have spoken of welfare work as in the conventional idea of 'preaching to convert sinners', but they did recommend permanent association with others for the mutual nourishment of everyone's bhakti. Lila smaranam is never to be sought on one's own but always under the anygatya of saints. The physical presence of saints may not be a factor in one's meditation, but this is incidental. The presence of others of the same bhava is always an element of smaran. When one associates with 'sinners' in the wide world with the intention of attempting to share the Holy Name with them, this should not not be done with a sense of superiority and indoctrination. Such mood is of the neophytes. The uttama bhakta is humble in that he does not see a distinction between himself and the most fallen. In fact, he sees himself as the most fallen, and seeks to share the Holy Name with others in the hope that other's awakened bhakti will bring him solace. This mood underlies the welfare work of the madhyama-uttama - it is welfare of others and one's own simoultaneously. The prayers of the Gosvmis are full of indication to such feelings.

    It is true that Mahaprabhu at some point withdrew from crowds and retired to the Gambhira. But he was not alone there. He was there with Svarupa Damodaar, feeling Himself in extreme need and submitting to Svarupa Damodar's guidance and rescue. Those were His feelings, and it was sankirtan.

  3. "How shall I help the world?"
    "By understanding it," said the Master.
    "And how shall I understand it?"
    "By turning away from it."
    "How then shall I serve humanity?"
    "By understanding yourself."

    -One Minute Wisdom by Anthony de Mello, S J

    Be the change you want to see in the world.

    Mahatma Gandhi

    Let me start by saying, preaching is a good seva. But if you will let yourself see the overview of the totality of GVism – the shastras, writings of the acharyas, and common sense, preaching is secondary to one’s personal contemplation and worship.

    On our DEATHBED, I don’t know that we can PREACH THAT WELL. Duh !!
    (And please don't flex the meaning of preaching, ok)

    I have a very long association w/ the most prominent preacher group. The preaching culture there is SLANTED towards earning money, especially the street preaching money collection activity, which they euphemistically call sankirtan.

    I once lived in their ashram too and sold books in the street. But I feel much closer to understanding my self and my relation to Sri Guru and Radha-Krishna when I have time for contemplation, than hassling people on the street for money in exchange for stickers or book.

    (This is not to rule out preachers asking for nothing when they preach, their sole reason being that they are ” overflowing with love for the fallen jivas”, ok?)

    Why did I say that? It’s because even a “newbie” or someone who has just stepped in from the street and has just been staying overnight in the ashram are encouraged to go out for so- called street sankirtan, meaning, to stop people and and pressure them a little bit to buy a sticker or book. That is still happening today. I bet some of them have not even read in its entirety the books they are selling!

    In the morning after Gurupuja, announcements are made on the top book distributors, including the amount of Laksmi collected. That’s like daily corporate productivity report, right? Why not include a monthly report on the salary and allowances plus corporate credit cards, err ! temple credit card and fringe benefit in the form of laptops for the temple big bosses? I must also add that these street preachers are housed in nice suburbs that in their normal circumtances will not even have the chance to live in, because they won’t be able to afford it.

    So you see this preaching has a tradeoff.

    Why don’t we come clean and call it, for their maintenance?

    I personally believe that if we first worry about our own devotional development and work at it then a real greed for sharing our experience and knowledge will come naturally.

  4. Malati: "I personally believe that if we first worry about our own devotional development and work at it then a real greed for sharing our experience and knowledge will come naturally."

    Any greed is 'a real' greed. Naturally.

  5. Hari Hari

    The following is from the Bhakti sandarbha 274..., Jiva Gosvami writes:

    nama kirtana pracara bhavenaiva parama bhagavat parayanatva siddhir darsita

    Preaching the glories of the holy name perfects one's surrender to the Lord.