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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Phone sanga (6)

In this new phone sanga the same bhakta shifts more from philosophy to rasa and lila -

Bhakta: "Could the Caitanya Candrodaya-verse dāsye kecana (quoted in the last blog) actually be about sādhana-siddhas in Gaur līlā like the sādhana siddha gopīs in the Bhāgavata?"

Advaitadas: "This verse is very problematic in different ways - no, it could not be compared because the verse is spoken by Advaita Ācārya. It is totally unacceptable to consider him a sādhaka or sādhana siddha. If that would apply to some Bengali who stumbled into Gaura's prakaṭ līlā and then attained siddhi that is fine with me, but it concerns none other than Advaita Prabhu! So I would not be surprised if this were some poetic glorification of Mahāprabhu līlā instead of a literal or philosophical fact."

Bhakta: "Can sādhakas have 2 svarūpas like Rāmānanda Rāya?"

Advaitadas: "Yes and no. Yes - It seems to be technically possible as Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa has said in his Vedānta commentary, but no - the Gosvāmīs have always mentioned just one svarūpa - be it gopī- or mañjarī - and have never spoken about multiple svarūpas."

Bhakta: "It is commented on CC Madhya 14.5, where Maharāja Pratāpa-Rudra changed from royal outfit into Vaiṣṇava dress to serve Śrīman Mahāprabhu ( ছাড়ি রাজবেশ একলা বৈষ্ণব বেশে করিল প্রবেশ ) that Vaiṣṇavas can take off their Vaiṣṇava dress for the sake of preaching."

Advaitadas: "No, that is the other way around - he changed INTO Vaiṣṇava dress, not OUT of it. Pratāparudra was dressed like a king, with embroidered silk, velvet turban what have you, and changed into a dhoti, as a Vaiṣṇava dress. Another important point is that this verse DOES prove that there IS something called Vaiṣṇava dress and this is not called Indian dress there, which we need not wear because we are westerners. Of course when you have a job or go anywhere out in western society it is better to wear western dress but there is no reason why in the privacy of our Vaiṣṇava homes we should not wear Vaiṣṇava dress. This does cultivate a devotional feeling. I remember going out to distribute books in pants and my consciousness plummeted just because of that. Sādhu Bābā considered Vaiṣṇava dress very important and lamented the fact that even his Indian disciples would wear jeans instead."

Bhakta: "Then it was said (in your previous blog) about the jewelled palaces in Vraja - just ignore them?"

Advaitadas: "Yes, Satya-nārāyan Dās gave a very nice answer and very encouraging. You see, the world of Vraja is not an objective world, its a subjective world. It is not a question whether these palaces are there objectively or not. You are creating your own Goloka, weaving it inside your mind. You have to build that up in your sādhana and that is why it is: 

yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvan tyajantyante kalevaram 
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya sadā tad bhāva bhāvita 

(Bhagavad Gītā 8.6) 

"Whatever you constantly meditate on is what you will attain in your next life."

If you don't meditate on these palaces they won't be there, but instead there will be kuñjas with flowers, birds and trees instead of roofs to shade and shelter you. There is no borders there - loka means world. Its not that anything goes of course. Perversions and bogus philosophies (rasābhāsa and viruddha siddhānta) should be avoided. I checked the books of Raghunātha Dās Gosvāmī and I saw that in all of his work there were only 14 verses describing jewelled opulences, mostly in relation to the decorations of the cows or the ratna-pīṭhas (jewelled seats) around Mount Govardhana. Also interesting is that Satya-Nārāyan Paṇḍit said the opulences are meant to attract people. I always had the impression when I was reading these books that all these jewels and gems were mentioned because people in India are poor and they might like to live in such a wealthy paradise as is described there. People are attracted to becoming devotees by color pictures of a beautiful girl carrying a plate with delicious prasādam, such transcendental PR is going on."

Bhakta: "Can one become a maidservant of the goddess of fortune or of Kṛṣṇa's queens?'

Advaitadas: "That should be possible. In ancient days all queens and ladies of nobility had maidservants, also in the west. Some sampradāyas seem to have borrowed our conception of mañjarī bhāva, like they have Sītā sakhī. Rāma has only Sītā as a consort and some Rāma Bhaktas have introduced that concept of Sītā sakhī. But again, Lakṣmī-mañjarī and so are not conceptions that are mentioned in the Gosvāmīs' books."

Bhakta: "There is more distance between Rādhārāṇī and Her sakhīs than between Her and Her mañjarīs."

Advaitadas: "There is a difference though. We have suhṛt pakṣa, taṭastha pakṣa and vipakṣa - friends, neutral girls and enemies. It is not all the same."

Bhakta: "But then Kṛṣṇa does not bother about the sakhīs when He is with Rādhārāṇī?"

Advaitadas: "According to chapter 15 of Govinda Līlāmṛta He expands Himself into as many Kṛṣṇas are there are sakhīs and goes to enjoy with them, on Rādhā's instigation. This expanding is again aiśvarya and can be scrapped if you feel it disturbs your abhīṣṭa bhāva (desired feeling). Same for the gopīs' joking references to Kṛṣṇa's activities in His other avatāras. rāgānugā bhakti, after all, means following (anuga) your own attraction (rāga)."

Bhakta: "Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī is Tuṅgavidyā Sakhi yet speaks of his/her own body as made of blood stool etc. (in Rādhā-rasa Sudhānidhi verse 60)"

Advaitadas: "That is the sādhaka deha. In books like Rādhā-rasa Sudhānidhi you have to be careful to know which verse is spoken in siddhāveśa (awareness of the spiritual body) and sādhakāveśa (awareness of the material body). It should be mentioned in the purports. In the Vilāpa Kusumāñjali it is easier - almost everything is in siddhāveśa. Rādhā-rasa Sudhānidhi is more of a patch-quilt of verses in either siddha or sādhakāveśa. Many different moods and angles are there."

Bhakta: "What about the spiritual body of the Guru?"

Advaitadas: "I can give you two examples. In 1976, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami was in France, New Māyāpura. Some Dutch devotees were there, they told me personally (they both expired unfortunately). Swāmījī had some throat problem and kept a loṭā next to him wherein he spat saliva, mucus and snot. A lady jumped at the loṭā (to honor the remnants), but Swamiji stopped her and said: "What are you doing?" The lady said "Oh you have a spiritual body!" Swāmījī said that that was nonsense and she should not drink that substance.

Second example is of my Guru Sādhu Bābā, whom I once saw inviting some disciples who had such a sentimental idea too, to join him while he was passing stool, to see what Guru is like 'গুরু কি রকম, দেখিতে এস'." Spiritual body means spiritualised, like if you keep iron in the fire for a long time, it assumes the qualities of fire, it becomes red hot, even white hot, because it is absorbed in service to the Lord. When you put it into water it will be seen as iron again. Similarly if a devotee leaves devotional service and starts using his body for his own pleasures again, it becomes like 'iron' again. But even in the 'heat' of devotional service that spiritual body will still produce stool and urine. It is rather the attitude towards the Guru that counts. You are not allowed to see him as human, it is repeatedly forbidden in the Bhāgavata (martyāsad-dhī 7.15.26, na martya buddhi 11.17.27). That is an offence, but it doesn't mean that the body of the Guru is not material."

Bhakta: "Then what about Ṛṣabha-deva? His stool was said to be fragrant".

Advaitadas: "Ṛṣabha-deva was an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. I have never been too close to any Guru's excrements so I really cant judge if its the same, though I believe it isn't."

Bhakta: "So fragrant excrements will be aiśvarya?"

Advaitadas: "Well, when we have to render service to Rādhārāṇī as in verse 18 of Vilāpa Kusumāñjali, lets hope there will be some aiśvarya there (laughs). Seriously, though, I think this verse which speaks of cleaning the toilet with one's hair is more a statement of intention, that 'I am willing to render any service, not just the pleasant ones. Whatever you tell me to do I will do.'

Bhakta: "Who wrote the commentaries to Rādhā-rasa Sudhānidhi?"

Advaitadas: "Madhusūdan Vācaspati was a disciple of Prāṇ-gopāl Gosvāmī, he lived about 80 years ago. Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī's comments were used by Ananta Dās Bābājī, though they were originally comments to Vilāp Kusumāñjali (Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī lectured extensively on Rādhā rasa Sudhānidhi too, but those lectures were never recorded) and finally Ananta Dās Bābāji himself. I read the original book with Madhusūdan Vācaspati's comments, I borrowed it from Mādrāsī Bābā. I don't know where this went after he passed away though."

Bhakta: "What is the paribhāṣa sūtra (single verse with the core definition) of the Caitanya Caritāmṛta?"

Advaitadas: "I am not sure if there is any. I would say there are at least some defining chapters there, like Ādi līlā chapter 4 and Madhya līlā chapter 8."

Bhakta: "What about the introductory verses of the Caitanya Caritāmṛta?"

Advaitadas: "Yes, anarpita carim cirāt (C.C. Adi 1,4) is about as essential as you can get it."

Bhakta: "And the verses rādhā-kṛṣṇa praṇaya vikṛtir and śrī rādhāyāḥ praṇaya mahimā kīdṛśo? (Ādi 1.5-6)"

Advaitadas: "Yes, excellent. Seems essential to me, though frankly speaking I don't know if all the rules of paribhāṣa sūtra apply to a Bengali book which consists largely of quotations from other books."

Bhakta: "Why does Subal fan Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa with a ceiling fan instead of going in to personally fan Them?"

Advaitadas: "Although Rādhārāṇī is very close friends with Subal (see the Subal Milan Lila on Gopāṣṭamī, where She swaps personalities with Subal to meet Kṛṣṇa) She would nevertheless be too embarrassed to be intimate with Kṛṣṇa in front of him."

Bhakta: "But it is described that the mañjarīs can even go under the sheets of Rādhā."

Advaitadas: "Yes, but that is different. It shows how close they are to Rādhārāṇī and how trusted they are. Secondly, a girl would feel less shy to be so intimate with a boy in front of another girl than in front of a boy. Even so, Rādhārāṇī will not even be caught doing this by Her girlfriends, as you can see in Vilāpa Kusumāñjali (92) - sakhīnāṁ lajjayā devi, and in the Niśānta Līlā (Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa's pastime of awakening in the aṣṭakāliya līlā). The mañjarīs have to dress Her up quickly before the sakhīs wake up and come in the kuñja. This intimacy is exactly why mañjarī bhāva is higher than sakhī-bhāva. They may be of such an age because of their intimacy with Rādhārāṇī rather than the other way around."

Bhakta: "In Mukta Caritā one gopī called Raṅganamālā is said to have some contact with Kṛṣṇa, and later she is revealed to be Rūpa Mañjarī. How is that?"

Advaitadas: "In Govinda Līlāmṛta (10.66-71) Rūpa Mañjarī finds herself in the same situation. In Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta (13.35-36), Kṛṣṇa even rapes the mañjarīs. Ultimately Kṛṣṇa can do whatever He wants, but it is not what the mañjarīs themselves aspire for. mañjarī bhāva upāsakas can just skip such descriptions. There are verses in Vṛndāvana Mahimāmṛta, Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi, Vilāpa Kusumāñjali and Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi that describe how the mañjarīs reject or refuse such contact with Kṛṣṇa. Ultimately the śāstras can describe so many scenarios but we will simply follow the Guru (such picking and choosing does not apply to siddhānta, only to līlā and sambandha). Kṛṣṇa demands submission to the Guru - it should not be done whimsically."

Bhakta: "In Muktā Carita Satyabhāmā heard about the glories of the gopīs. Did she want to become a gopī then too?"

Advaitadas: "I have already quoted Lakṣmī who was unable to attain the Rāsa-dance, no matter what. Another example is the queens of Dwārakā, when they met Draupadī (Tenth Canto, ch.83). They actually glorified the gopīs, knowing that the gopīs are superior to them. Yet they were unable to become gopīs themselves, since their sthāyi-bhāva did not permit it."

Bhakta: "Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī is Tuṅgavidyā-sakhī, yet there is so much mañjarī bhāva in the Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi."

Advaitadas: "Yes - the bābājīs say he got some special mercy from Mahāprabhu to be able to perceive and describe mañjarī bhāva too. In my opinion he could well have an extra mañjarī svarūpa. After all, many associates of Mahāprabhu have multiple svarūpas."

Bhakta: "Narottam Dās Thākur sings he wants to be an ankle-bell at the feet of a gopī...."

Advaitadas: "That is a statement of humility. He was actually Campak Mañjarī, and had a much higher status than that of an ankle-bell. The same humility was expressed by Raghunātha dās Gosvāmī when he said he is willing to clean Rādhārāṇī's excrement with his/her hair. Brahmā prayed in the Bhāgavata for birth as a blade of grass to catch the footdust of the gopīs..."

Bhakta: "It is said that Rādhā's angry mood of kila-kiñcit pleases Kṛṣṇa more than actual union with Her. Is this poetic?"

Advaitadas: "No it isn't. It is confirmed in Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi (15.253) -

vidagdhānāṁ mitho līlā-vilāsena yathā sukham; 
na tathā samprayogeṇa syād evaṁ rasikā viduḥ 

"The rasikas know that for the clever ones, the happiness of intercourse is not so great as that of the playful pastimes." 

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