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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Phone sanga (7)

Bhakta: If God is all-powerful, is he able to change jīva śakti into svarūpa śakti?

Advaitadas: "No he is not. This is fixed, it is never created and is also never destroyed. It is nirvikāra, untransformable. By his mercy a conditioned soul can become a liberated soul, but it still remains taṭastha śakti."

Bhakta: "It is said that śāstra is unlimited so perhaps things we do not know (or you deny) can be in śāstra in for instance heaven, where it is said that the Mahābhārata is much greater."

Advaitadas: "śāstra is unlimited but I don't think we lack any essential knowledge here. Earth is the perfect environment for self-realization, so it is very unlikely that here we would be lacking essential scriptural knowledge. Besides, it is said in the end of Śrīmad Bhagavat: sarva vedānta sāraṁ hi śrīmad bhāgavatam īṣyate - "Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is the essence of all spiritual knowledge." In a sense it is even an insult to the Bhāgavata, that it would be lacking the essence of knowledge." ananta śāstram bahulaś ca vidya - yat sāra bhūtam tad upāsanīya "Scriptures are endless, so we must worship (take) the essence."

Bhakta: "The finite must be there with the infinite to make the creation complete?"

Advaitadas: "Logic without śāstra has no basis. People massively accept that we fell down from the spiritual world because we are envious of Kṛṣṇa,
  that any qualified man can wear a brahmin thread and that one needs to be a pure devotee to start rāgānugā bhakti, because that apparently makes sense, yet it is contrary to śāstra and therefore must still be rejected. Jīva Gosvāmī comments on Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu (1.2.17): yuktiś cātra śāstrānugataiva jñeyam 'Logic is only (acceptable) in obedience to scripture".

Bhakta: "Isn't there supposed to be an ultimate end (cessation) to the material world?"

Advaitadas: We have already discussed (in the blog of July 30) the verses from the Viṣṇu Dharmottara Purāṇa that there are innumerable conditioned souls, that will keep the material world occupied, no matter how many souls reach liberation. So how can the material world ever end then? That answer is connected with the previous question - the Lord's creation is complete with both a perfect and imperfect part. ekapāda vibhūti and tripāda vibhūti complete the creation. Especially if you accept the fall-vāda, that there will always be people falling from the spiritual world, there will always be a material world needed to board them."

Bhakta: "Perhaps Viśvanātha Cakravartī's explanation (in his ṭīkā of S.Bhāg 3.7.10, see blog of July 30) of there being no reason for the conditioning of the jīvas, and that there are innumberable jīvas, is poetic?"

Advaitadas: "No, poetic license is there in glorification but not in siddhānta. That would open the flood-gates to no end of speculations, apostasies, doubts and confusion. There is no way the ācāryas would mislead mankind on siddhānta, for whatever reason, benign (to make it understandable, for preaching etc.) or otherwise. Besides, the point that our ignorance is beginningless is made dozens of times in śāstra, and confirmed by all ācāryas. Would that ALL be poetic?

Bhakta: 'The problem with all these abstract answers that fail to give a logical reason is that people will reject it as dogma, as they often do with Christianity."

Advaitadas: "That cannot always be helped. It is a handicap of an over-educated science-based culture. Rūpa Gosvāmī wasn't exactly illiterate yet he also demanded 'ādau śraddhā', "first there must be faith", and 'acintya khalu ye bhāvā na taṁs tarkena yojayet' "One should not apply false logic to inconceivable matters". Look at the concept of acintya bhedābheda tattva - our philosophy. acintya is a vital part of it - inconceivable. Matters that just need to be accepted on authority. You were able to accept that there are things beyond the range of your sensual perception but you have to go one step further and accept there are also things beyond the range of your intellectual grasp."

Bhakta: "Needn't there be the freedom of choice to love 
Kṛṣṇa?  Shouldn't even Lalita and Viśākhā have the opportunity to leave?"

Advaitadas: "Lalitā and Viśākhā belong to the Lord's inner potency (svarūpa śakti), they are in a sense non-different from Him. In the Bhāgavata (10.33.17) it is said that Kṛṣṇa danced with the gopīs as a boy who is playing with His own reflection. That is very significant. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī comments on this verse that it shows the gopīs are Kṛṣṇa's svarūpa śakti, in a sense non-different from Him. As far as freedom of choice or to love is concerned, the ācāryas have said we become devotees by the mercy of a saint; even this is not free choice." 

(After this phone-talk I consulted Kṛṣṇadas-Slovakia on it. He said:

"I am wondering what is the source of the theory. Maybe that prema is the highest puruṣārtha? Don't know. Where is it said that the jīva is in the material world to learn to love Kṛṣṇa? Our ācāryas do not say that Love of Kṛṣṇa can be learnt. They say that it is given to us. The issue with the free choice seems to me speculative because if one is in love one hardly has the choice to give it up because one simply can't, it is unthinkable because of the attachment. We may have some choice in the beginning but that seems to me also doubtful. If one is in māyā, what alternatives can one really choose from? Choice is there if we have alternatives to ponder about and choose from. But in this case it does not appear to me to be so. Bhakti begins with śraddhā which is itself gained by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. There is not much scope for choice......."

Bhakta: "Does the word jñāna in the verse jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva (SB 10.14.3) refer to book knowledge or impersonalism?"

Advaitadas: "According to Viśvanātha Cakravartī, it is both. By the way, the transcendental path of jñāna should not be translated as 'mental speculation', because it is a spiritual practise, while mental speculation is on the material platform. Impersonal it may be but that does not make it mundane. Concerning book knowledge, many have attained perfection simply by hearing. The Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu tells us that Parīkṣit Mahārāja attained perfection simply by hearing."

Bhakta: "Can you attain love of God without perfect knowledge?'

Advaitadas: "I don't believe one needs to know all the nitty gritty of astrology and music and so, but if there is no proper knowledge of siddhānta there will also be no proper attitude. Take this fall-vāda - it makes a devotee think that everybody is a demon who is envious of Kṛṣṇa 
while that is simply not true, and generally the idea that everybody outside one's own cult is a demon - even if they are devotees - is not conducive to developing prema. Mahāprabhu said 'jīve sammāna dibe jāni kṛṣṇa adhiṣṭhāna' - 'Honor all living beings, knowing that Kṛṣṇa resides in them'. It is important to know the essence of shastra, which has so nicely been compiled by the Gosvāmīs - nānā śāstra vicāraṇaika nipuṇau saddharma saṁsthāpakau. Complete knowledge means complete understanding. It takes a long time to piece together all components of a jig-saw puzzle, though. Also this noteworthy caution is given in the Bhagavad Gītā (16.23):

yaḥ śāstra vidhim utsṛjya vartate kāma kārataḥ
na sa siddhim avāpnoti na sukhaṁ na paraṁ gatim

'Whoever gives up scriptural rules and acts according to his own whim will neither attain perfection, nor happiness nor the supreme destination."

Bhakta: (Returns to his plea for a female Kṛṣṇa with the same enjoying prerogatives as the male one, see blog of July 30).

Advaitadas: "This is both rasābhāsa and viruddha siddhānta."

Bhakta: "It is said, also about Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, 
that variety is the mother of enjoyment."

Advaitadas: "That is correct. Rūpa Gosvāmī writes in his auspicious invocation to Dāna Keli Kaumudī that the bliss is ever-increasing, vibhur api kalayan sadābhivṛddhim, despite the fact that it is already complete. Another inconceivable fact. na vinā vipralambhena sambhoga puṣṭim aśnute - "Union cannot be nourished without separation." Māna or quarrel refreshes and invigorates the love (after the peace has been made). Worldly lovers also experience that. pravāsa is there, when They are separately dwelling in Their parents' home and then, when They meet, there may be even māna too, and they separate because of a quarrel. Double viraha, double impetus."

Bhakta: "How about sound in the spiritual sky? You once said that Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa will speak the language of love with you."

Advaitadas: "The spiritual sky is not mute. There is music and dance and everybody speaks of Kṛṣṇa.
  Whatever language they speak there, whether it is Sanskrit or Prakṛta or whatever, you will know it when you get there. Not through a material learning process but through a cultivation of love - Kṛṣṇa promises in Bhagavad Gītā (10.10) bhajataṁ prīti pūrvakam- if you worship Me with love" dadāmi buddhi yogam tam "I give you divine intelligence" yena mām upayānti  "Through which you can reach Me." It comes along with and is a part of, self realisation."

Bhakta : "Can Kṛṣṇa commit suicide? He is almighty, after all..... Then there is no more existence for anyone."

Advaitadas: "Kṛṣṇa says: na tvevāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ na tvam ... na caive na bhaviṣyāma sarve vayam ataḥ param (B. Gītā 2.12) "Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you...nor will there ever be a time we do not exist." There can not be existence and non-existence at the same time, or alternatively. Since we exist, there can be no non-existence. If you wonder why anyone or anything exists you get stonewalled on the principle of acintya - it is inconceivable, period. Even the jīva, if it merges in Brahman, it continues to exist. When you throw a drop of water into the ocean, it is still there, though you can no longer distinguish it."

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