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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, I think that is very limited too. The ācāryas have said we become devotees by the mercy of a saint; even this is not really 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."

19 comments:

  1. Advaitadas: "Bhakti begins with sraddha which is itself gained by the mercy of Krishna. There is not much scope for choice......."

    Prisnidasi: I find parts of the discussion about free choice unclear. We are here due to free choice and Krishna always allows us our free choice. We gain love for Krishna because we want to. And not only that, because we want it beyond anything else. That is the prime and only requirement. It is our good luck if we meet a Vaisnava, but it is our choice to accept the mercy.

    There are so many minsunderstandings today, since many believe "it is up to Krishna", and effectively blames their nonsense on Krishna. So, no, it is our own free will to do nonsense and indulge in the material world.

    Regarding "falling down", it is more a matter of speak, meaning to willfully forget our true existence to instead indulge in the illusion of maya. There is no actual falling going on.


    Advaitadas:" 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 Gita (16.23):

    yah sastra vidhim utsrijya vartate kama karatah
    na sa siddhim avapnoti na sukham na param gatim
    'Whoever gives up scriptural rules and acts according to his own whim will neither attain perfection, nor happiness nor the supreme destination."

    Prisnidasi: There is also another very important verse: 'dadami buddhi-yogam tam yena mam upayanti te' where Krishna says that he gives whatever intelligence and understanding is needed. If we have faith, and lack some scriptural understanding, Krishna will give us the understanding in the heart. This is actually a quite direct experience.
    The other verse more refers to going against scriptural understanding and instead following whims. Krishna does not reveil in the heart what is contrary to the scriptures.

    In the material existence, we listen to Maya, and believe it to be true, since we want to. If we instead start to listen to Krishna, we get out of here pretty fast.

    -- Prisni dasi

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  2. Prisnidasi: "We are here due to free choice..."

    I think you will be hardpressed in finding evidence for that. I have repeatedly quoted from Shastra and the acaryas that we have always been here for no apparent reason. Please study the previous blogs for that.

    Prisnidasi: "Krishna always allows us our free choice...."

    Advaitadas: This is so minute it is negligable. Remember the Gita verse ahankara vimudhatma kartaham iti manyate (3.27)

    Prisnidasi: "And not only that, because we want it beyond anything else."

    Advaitadas: I do not know whom you refer to here....

    Prisnidasi: "In the material existence, we listen to Maya, and believe it to be true, since we want to."

    Advaitadas: This too, would require evidence...

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  3. Dear Advaita Das,

    I might have misunderstood you (or perhaps you haven't expressed your detailed opinion on the subject yet), but it seems that you like to somewhat negate our innate nature, which IS freedom of choice, no matter
    how insignificant it may seem (to you).

    I don't think we are just mere puppets to Radhe-Krsna (as one could understand from your statements), I would go even further, I would say love relationship is not really love affair if not based on free will, even if that love is given by causeless mercy.

    Wouldn't you say that free will is a part of any soul, its inherent nature?


    Also, we see very clearly in Sri Brhad Bhagavatamrita how the freedom of choice operates. True, Gopa Kumara / Sarupa was greatly blessed by his Gurudev, but it was he that
    chanted Gopala mantra, not Gurudev in his stand.

    Quotes below seem to support this thread of thought.


    Vedanta Sutra:
    I. Pada, X. Adhikarana, Su. 34.
    "There exists no partiality and cruelty in the Lord, because
    the pleasure and pain, suffered by beings, has regard to their karmas and so also the scriptures
    declare."

    Commentary:
    In Kausitaki Upanishad, III.8 it is said:
    "For He makes him who He wishes to lead up from these worlds do a good deed, according
    to the tendencies created by his past karmas, and the same makes him whom He wishes to lead down from these words, do a bad deed, according to bad tendencies generated by past karmas"


    Swami Prabhupada says exactly the same thing in His BG, commentary to 4.14:
    "...In Vedanta sutra (2.1.34) it is said: vaismaya-nairghrye na speksatvat
    The lord is never partial to any living entity. The living entity is responsible for his own acts.
    The Lord only gives him facilities..."

    In His commentary to BG 5.15, Srila Prabhupada quotes the same source, as in Vedanta Sutra (above), although
    His translation somewhat differs:
    KU, 3.8:
    "The living entity is completely dependent in his distress and happiness. By the will of the Supreme, he can
    go to heaven or hell, as a cloud is driven by the air."

    Somewhat different point of view from yours, I think.
    Also, bhakta from Slovakia you quote says: "There is not much scope for choice......."

    I think this line of thought could be polished a bit, at least if we take quotes below into account:


    Vedanta Sutra, commentary by Baladeva, 2.16.40:
    "The Lord makes the soul to act having regard to effect made by it, so that injunctions and prohibitions of the scriptures may not become meaningless."

    Commentary:
    The Lord causes the jiva to act in a particular way, not arbitrarily, but having regard to the tendencies generated by it, by the good or evil deeds performed by it in its past lives.
    The different fruits, which the soul experiences are results of the differences of their actions good or bad, just as the different fruits which the trees produce are the results of differences of seeds.
    The Lord is the existing cause of the growth of the tree, like the rain. The seed is the particular cause of the particular kind of fruit produced, the rain is the general cause.
    If there were no rain, we shall never see the diversities of smell, taste, of the fruits, flowers, etc... which we find in the vegetable creation, for no plants will grow in the absence of water,

    Similarly, there may be abundance of water and no plants will grow if there be no seed. The result is that the good or bad experiences are the consequences depended upon the actions of the soul and not the arbitrary act of the Lord.

    Similarly, a man may be an agent, though impelled to that action by another, and be still responsible for his acts. Therefore, the responsibility of the soul does no cease, though the impelling cause is the Lord.


    Now, I may as well be completely in illusion, but my sadhana thus far and indeed logic itself confirm the quotes above.

    With respect,
    I bow down to you.
    nitya

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  4. Dear Nitya, the Kaushitaki Upanishad quote is exactly the opposite of the point you want to make - it shows there is no freedom at all, and is a verse I often quote just to make that point. Jiva Gosvami has not mentioned freedom of choice in the Sandarbhas, though Baladeva Vidyabhusana apparently did mention it in his books. The other Vedanta Sutra verses you quote also make it clear that the Lord is in control. Also remember, in the blog I did say that there is some freedom of choice, but it is very limited. You need to understand the definition of 'mercy', too - it is causeless, something you got without deserving it. Therefore, more even than karma, bhakti is beyond the scope of our own doership. Furthermore, please meditate on the meaning of verse 3.27 of the Gita. prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvashah etc...

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  5. Nityananda das quoted:
    In Kausitaki Upanishad, III.8 it is said:
    "For He makes him who He wishes to lead up from these worlds do a good deed, according
    to the tendencies created by his past karmas, and the same makes him whom He wishes to lead down from these words, do a bad deed, according to bad tendencies generated by past karmas"

    "The Lord makes the soul to act having regard to effect made by it, so that injunctions and prohibitions of the scriptures may not become meaningless."

    Vedantra Sutra Commentary:
    The Lord causes the jiva to act in a particular way, not arbitrarily (meaning not subject to individual will , my addition), but having regard to the tendencies generated by it , by the good or evil deeds performed by it in its past lives.

    The Lord is the existing cause of the growth of the tree, like the rain. The seed is the particular cause of the particular kind of fruit produced, the rain is the general cause.

    If there were no rain, we shall never see the diversities of smell, taste, of the fruits, flowers, etc... which we find in the vegetable creation, for no plants will grow in the absence of water,

    Similarly, there may be abundance of water and no plants will grow if there be no seed. The result is that the good or bad experiences are the consequences depended upon the actions of the soul and not the arbitrary act of the Lord.

    Similarly, a man may be an agent, though impelled to that action by another, and be still responsible for his acts. Therefore, the responsibility of the soul does no cease, though the impelling cause is the Lord.



    Malati dasi's take: These quotes clearly show that the Lord is the general cause or the general will and the jivas is the particular cause or the minute subordinate will.

    The emphasis that we cause our own “destiny” means that “God”is not fully in control. That He is semi-competent. He is always in control; though He is not the puppet we might think He is -- w/ His 4 strings controlling our 4 limbs. As the Krishna enjoying in the rasa lila , He is detached from it all. Though on the surface the material principle is functional here, (eg for every action there is a corresponding reaction) God obviously has a perspective of our existence that goes far back and far forward in the convoluted eternal cycle.

    A Prabhupad disciple explains mercy to me like so. That mercy has no discernable “mechanism”. It's like a characteristic of a rain cloud, which distributes its mercy on land and sea alike. The Lord's mercy is often called causeless; it's available to those who will avail themselves of it. How do we become eligible for being drenched by rain? By being below a cloud and not seeking shelter. How do we become eligible for Krishna's (and his devotees') mercy? By being needy, by being in their presence somehow, and by not doing anything that would impede that mercy. We need, further, to keep ourselves open to that mercy in whatever form it appears. It may appear as something that's apparently materially "good," or as something that's more evidently a spiritual grace, or it may appear as something apparently unfortunate.

    I’d also like to add that this causeless angle is shared by most philosophy of "Ïndian" strain, like the Ananda Marga for example. That the whole thing is like God’s play.

    NB. I was wondering where you buy your books, these more esoteric literature.

    Radhe Radhe

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  6. When the mukta-jiva gains a position under the auspices of the svarupa-sakti, and especially a manjari-svarupa that is a kaya-vyuha expansion of Radharani's, is that not rather a form of svarupa-sakti?

    Also, how can we call the jiva tatastha-sakti after its gaining a post in the spiritual world, doesn't that defy the direct meaning of tata-stha, "being on the margin"? There is no more margin, nor return for that matter. The world of maya is far behind.

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  7. sei vibhinnamsa jiva dui to prakar; eka nitya mukta eka nitya samsara (C.C.) There is a twofold division of the vibhinamsa jiva - the liberated ones and the bound ones. That, to my understanding, means tatastha, marginal energy. It just indicates the eternal status of being neither svarupa shakti nor maya shakti; it does not describe a certain location that shakti needs to be in.

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  8. Advaitadas:
    "Dear Nitya, the Kaushitaki Upanishad quote is exactly the opposite of the point you want to make - it shows there is no freedom at all, and is a verse I often quote just to make that point."

    OK, you understand the verse in this way, I understand.

    But here it is explained, see:
    "...The Lord is the existing cause of the growth of the tree, like the rain. The seed is the particular cause of the particular kind of fruit produced, the rain is the general cause..."

    May I ask you a question, please?
    Why do YOU even bother to do sadhana then, if we are mere puppets of dear Radha-Krsna (as picture up front shows)?
    Why not just lay still and wait for the grace to come?

    Well, my answer is, we need to make our own effort, even if only with our thoughts (yes, I understand the illusions of concepts like "mine" and "I".).
    And when the mercy comes, it beomes obvious that we did not do anything to deserve or attract it.
    But even after that, free will still plays an important part, as we can see in Brhad Bhagavatamritam.


    "Jiva Gosvami has not mentioned freedom of choice in the Sandarbhas, though Baladeva Vidyabhusana apparently did mention it in his books. The other Vedanta Sutra verses you quote also make it clear that the Lord is in control."

    I never stated that we are the ones that are doing anything, or in control, it is clear that we are not.
    But it is also clear, from my point of view and based on quotes from Vedanta sutra (why else would this notion of free will be there?), that freedom of choice is there.
    Not control, mind you.

    And yes, it is maya, an illusion that makes us think we are the doers. Ahankara, false ego.
    The presence of ahankara or lack there of doesn't imply that we have no free will, it just means that we are conditioned by misidentification.


    Advaitadas:
    "Also remember, in the blog I did say that there is some freedom of choice, but it is very limited."

    Yes, than we have an understanding here.
    No matter how small it is, it is there. Otherwise all scripture injunctions would just be in vain. This also is stated in Vedanta sutra.


    Advaitadas:
    You need to understand the definition of 'mercy', too - it is causeless, something you got without deserving it. Therefore, more even than karma, bhakti is beyond the scope of our own doership. Furthermore, please meditate on the meaning of verse 3.27 of the Gita. prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvashah etc..."

    Yes, thank you.
    Srimad Bhagavatam 10.46.43 is another good verse on this subject.
    We are not independent, but we have a minute freedom of choice. Thats what marginal energy of His is all about.

    Well, since you admitted that there is a minute independence of any jiva, we may just as well conclude our discussion at this point.

    One more notion, please:
    I am not qualified to speak about prema, so I can not really write anything in that line of thought.


    Thank you for your time.
    With respect,
    nitya

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  9. Nitya: "Why do YOU even bother to do sadhana then, if we are mere puppets of dear Radha-Krsna (as picture up front shows)?
    Why not just lay still and wait for the grace to come?"

    The urge to do bhajan is a gift of Krishna, too. krishna tad bhakta karunya matra labhaika hetuka "raganuga bhakti is only attained by the grace of Krishna and His bhakta." yam evaisa vrinute tenaiva labhyam "He is attained by whom He elects."

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  10. Advaita das: “The urge to do bhajan is a gift of Krishna, too. krishna tad bhakta karunya matra labhaika hetuka "raganuga bhakti is only attained by the grace of Krishna and His bhakta." yam evaisa vrinute tenaiva labhyam "He is attained by whom He elects."

    Yes, this has already been agreed upon. Sri Krsna is the only Source, the sole Owner and the ultimate Enjoyer of everything. He provides, owns and enjoys. No argument there from my end.

    But this is one side of the story of our conversation. I don't want to trouble you (and others here) anymore with this, but there is really a lot of evidence in sastras that support the notion of our independence, as minute as it really is.

    While everything comes from sweet Krsna, we still have minute independence. This may not be experienced by you anymore, dear Advaita das, but in the life of ordinary mortals here on Earth (like me), independence is a living fact.

    Or, as it is stated in the commentary to the last verse in Bhagavad Gita, by swami Prabhupada (the commentary actually ends with important notion about our minute independence):

    “...The living entity in his original position is pure spirit. He is just like an atomic particle of the Supreme Spirit. Thus Lord Kṛṣṇa may be compared to the sun, and the living entities to sunshine. Because the living entities are the marginal energy of Kṛṣṇa, they have a tendency to be in contact either with the material energy or with the spiritual energy. In other words, the living entity is situated between the two energies of the Lord, and because he belongs to the superior energy of the Lord, he has a particle of independence. By proper use of that independence he comes under the direct order of Kṛṣṇa. Thus he attains his normal condition in the pleasure-giving potency.”

    As stated, there is a lot of evidence in Bhagavad Gita itself about our independence. And at the same time, there is also even more evidence on the fact, that Sri Krsna is the One who does everything and bestows all. No conflict there, IMO.

    It is the responsibility that is an important factor here. Sastras seem to state that we have and we don't have independence, yes, but nowhere (to my limited knowledge) it is stated that Sri Krsna or Sadashiva or anyone else is responsible for our actions.

    We are responsible (for our financial status and health, for example, if one is lazy or just downward stupid, he will be cashless or terminally ill). THAT is my point. The same responsibility plays some part in spiritual advance, IMHO. Example: Due to my ignorance and craziness, I don't do sadhana as I should. Who's fault is that, Advaita Das? According to sastras, not Sri Krsna's.

    If anyone should want to check this line of thoughts about our partial independence and responsibilities in Bhagavat Gita, here are the verses (you will have to read comments to some of them, you can find find them at http://vedabase.net/bg/en):

    BG 3.37
    BG 4.14
    BG 5.14 and 5.15 (here swami uses the phrase “free will” even)
    BG 7.21 (good one, minute independence lovely explained)
    BG 13.23 (about the misuse of our independence)
    BG 15.7 (jivas identity is clearly explained)
    BG 18.63 (perhaps the most important evidence on our minute independence in sastras, Sri Krsna Himself says, “..., now do as you please”)
    BG 18.78 (last words in BG by swami Prabhupada are about our independence)

    I think this will be all from my end on this subject.
    Thank you for your time and sharing, dear Advaita Das.

    With respect,
    nityananda p.

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  11. Dear Nitya,
    You base your praman on the commentaries of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, that, if not congruent with the opinions of the shastras and the previous acaryas are unfortunately not acceptable to me and many of my friends and superiors. In none of the tikas of Sridhara Swami, Visvanatha Cakravarti and Baladeva Vidyabhusan to any of the verses you listed there is any mentioning of independence, and in BG 4.14 the verse nimitta matram,
    quoted also by ACBS, actually again states quite the opposite. The same for 7.21 - Krishna bestows the faith. In 15.7 The jivas are 'as if pulled by a chain at their feet' (Visvanatha tika). Only 18.63 hints at independence, but it is important to stress the adjective 'minute' to independence and deeply meditate on how minute this actually is.

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  12. Advaitadas: This is so minute it is negligable. Remember the Gita verse ahankara vimudhatma kartaham iti manyate (3.27)

    Prisnidasi: This refers to the state of being conditioned by the material nature. That we have very minute free will, is the characteristics of that conditioned state. Much less than common man thinks. And I think a lot of the scriptural quotes refer to that conditioned state since that is where the audicence is.

    But if we just follow the flow of material nature, we will stay here forever, always told what to do. By mercy we can get our free will and desire awoken again, and instead start to desire Krishna.
    If we want to.
    That mercy is freely distributed, but only due to our free will do we accept it or not.

    As we advance in our detachment from material nature, we will find that we get more and more of this free will. Advancement is not an automatic process, which is pointed out many times in the shastras. Sadhana bhakti means that our guru tells us every step what to do or not to do, but advancing in bhakti we have to decide it ourselves, by our own free will.


    Prisnidasi: "And not only that, because we want it beyond anything else."

    Advaitadas: I do not know whom you refer to here....


    This refers to the process of getting out of material attachment and getting to Krishna. The only requirement is deep desire, deep longing, and this comes out of the nature of our own free will. If we have that deep longing, Krishna will supply whatever we need to fulfill our desire for a relationship with him.

    Then, when we are out of the conditioned state, and to enter Krishna lila, due to being marginal energy, we cannot match up with the other players of Vraja, so we are given empowerment by Yogamaya, which gives us the ability to do things we could not do otherwise. But in no way should this state be mistakenly compared to the miserable conditioned situation in the material world, in which we have practically no free will.

    Even though we act through Krishna's energy of Yogamaya, we have full indepencence and freedom. That is the very spice that makes the relationship desirable to Krishna. We are not just exchangable parts, in the lila, but individual personalities that Krishna has no control over. Of course, he always have the power to force us, but he never does that. Some might misunderstand that Krishna have this power, for a situation of no independence, but Krishna gives us the independence. He could take it away from us, but he never does. By that he gives empowers us to follow our own free will. Even when we use our independence to instead enjoy the illusion of the material energy, does Krishna not hinder us. Not even when we do all kinds of nonsense things, that will cause us suffering, does Krishna take away our independence.

    Our independence is obviously very important to Krishna. We can see in the lila, where Brahma took away all the cowherd boys, and Krishna replaced them with expansions, how the replacements were more perfect than the originals, but despite that, Krishna preferred the originals. This certainly shows that we are not expansions of Krishna in the same way as those created. It also shows that we have independent existence, and that it is very palatable to Krishna.
    If we had practically no free will, the more perfect expansions of Krishna would be preferrable to Krishna, wouldn't they?

    -- Prisni dasi

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  13. Advaitadas, again thank you for your time, patience and kindness.

    I quoted Swami Prabhupada, because I have only his rendering of Bhagavad Gita. That's all.
    As the matter of fact, I don't even remember when was the last time I opened it.

    I grew to appreciate the works of other Acharyas more (which is only my subjective preference, no judging intended either way, please), quite the same ones you are quoting here (that's why you see me here reading, posting, btw).

    I skimmed through translation of BG by Bhakti Raksaka Sridara Swami and no comments are to be found there in. I found out that the BG 18.63 wording is the same as in Swami's translation (“...you decide...”)

    And I cant produce any other pramana, simply because I am not a scholar, not even by far. Also, I am here to learn, not to force anything onto anyone. So the question of acceptance of my thoughts is pretty much irrelevant. I am here to learn from senior raganuga bhaktas here. That's all.

    Please, do know that I am taking in your suggestions, dear Advaitadas. And thank you for the tips. But, just to be on the safe side of things, what is your opinion on responsibilities, then?

    To repeat my thoughts:
    Sastras seem to state that we have and we don't have minute independence, yes, but nowhere (to my limited knowledge) it is stated that Sri Krsna or Sadashiva or anyone else is responsible for our actions.

    Would you explain to me (and to others here, if anyone is interested) how the question of responsibility is understood by you, please?
    I mean, responsibility denotes some point of reference for (“our”) actions – our very minute independence or the lack thereof...

    Also, if it is not too much trouble, can you please explain to us how do you understand any love relationship to be really juicy (for the lack of a better world) if there is no independence?

    I remember from Brhad Bhagavatamrita, when Gopa Kumara first came to Vaikunta, the form of Krsna there was thrilled about it. He said that He was waiting for Gopa Kumara for a very long time. I would have to look it up, but I do remember that He said He'd given him a birth in Vraja, just to help him come to Him. He did not force Gopa Kumar into anything, in all of his long journey. Quite the opposite. He let him be.
    For my mind, that's pure example of acknowledging independence, as minute as we might think it is.

    So, just to make things more easy to follow, my questions are:
    1. Would you explain to me (and to others here, if anyone is interested) how the subject of responsibility is understood by you, please?
    Can you give us a very practical example, please? Lets say, for me, a lazy man.

    2. How do you (and your friends and superiors) understand any love relationship with Krsna to be really juicy (for the lack of a better world) if there the independence is not actually important?
    Any sastra praman would be great, please.

    Thank you again for your patience with me.

    With respect,
    nityananda

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  14. Dear Nitya,
    1. Responsibility is there for anyone who acts independently. If you have children it is easy to understand - you will not accept responsibility for things they do against your will or prohibition. So anyone who is separated from the Lord's will has his/her own responsibility - the law of karma.
    2. Bhakta rasa is self manifest and independent, the full nectar of which is experienced at a stage where independence is irrevocably given up - when one attains the Spiritual Sky. Giving up independence is a gradual but irreversible consequence of the process of surrender.

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  15. One pramana I can find of point 2 is rasasya sva-prakAzatvam akhaNDatvaM ca sidhyati 'rasa is self-manifest and comprehensive'. Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 2.5.112

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  16. Bhakta: If God is all-powerful, is he able to change jiva shakti into svarupa shakti?

    Advaitadas: "No he isnt. This is fixed, it is never created and is also never destroyed. It is nirvikara, untransformable. By his mercy a conditioned soul can become a liberated soul, but it still remains tatastha shakti."



    Advaitadas,

    I think a more appropriate answer is "He is able to but, according to his sweet will, he doesn't." There is nothing that God isn't *able* to do.

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  17. Advaita das: “1. Responsibility is there for anyone who acts independently. If you have children it is easy to understand - you will not accept responsibility for things they do against your will or prohibition. So anyone who is separated from the Lord's will has his/her own responsibility - the law of karma.”

    Very good. I thought you were gonna explain it like this. Thank you.

    So, there is an important independence here, even if only as minute as it can be.
    Well, thats exactly what Swami Prabhupada and Vedanta sutra is stating as well.
    Hmmm. You just confirmed my previous thoughts? Hmm.


    Advaita das: “2. Bhakta rasa is self manifest and independent, the full nectar of which is experienced at a stage where independence is irrevocably given up - when one attains the Spiritual Sky. Giving up independence is a gradual but irreversible consequence of the process of surrender. “

    OK, thank you.
    So, you are saying that independence exists as long as we are under the spell of ahankara, false ego, and when false ego is gone, also our independence is gone?
    Once we are not separated from Krsna's will anymore, our independence vanishes?
    Hmmm.
    Any sastra evidence for that?
    (didnt you claim on you Blog that marginal position of jiva is non-changable, not even by Krsna?)


    OK, even if that is the case, how should we understand this, then:

    Satyanarayan Das: "Mahaprabhu failed to persuade Jiva Gosvami's father Vallabha to switch from Ram-bhakti to Krishna-bhakti. Nrisimhananda Brahmacari was worshiping Nrisimha, but the object of his love was Gaura. Its just like Nanda Maharaja, who loves Krishna but worships Narayana."

    If Jiva's father did not want to change from Rama-bhakti to Krsna-bhakti (even though it is said that Krsna-bhakti in the most sweet, but all rasas are on non-material platform), wouldn't that imply independence? If Mahaprabhu couldn't convert him, can we assume that Vallabha did not want to due to his independence?

    Doesn't this imply independence on the non-material platform as well, please?

    Thank you again,
    with respect
    nityananda

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  18. Dear Nitya, as for independence, I skimmed through Satyanarayan Prabhu's Leaves-book and found many hits for it, but none with any shastric evidence, nor from him nor from his opponents in the jiva debate. For now we will have to do with yukti, or common sense. Satyanarayan Prabhu writes: "
    There is no mAyA in the spiritual world, na yatra mAyA (2.9.10). That means there is no misuse of independence in the spiritual world. Independence is there, but no misuse. This is the difference between the spiritual and the material world. Just like two sons of a father, one of them is well-behaved and another is an upstart. Both sons have independence but use it differently. The well-behaved son is voluntarily well-behaved and does not misuse his independence. The liberated soul is like that, but even more so."

    As for Nrisimhananda Brahmacary and Vallabha, they are not jivas but svarupa shakti, Mahaprabhu's internal potency. But even if they werent, sthayi bhava is also something which seems to be beyond our free choice. If you think of it, you will see how minute our independence really is....
    Mahaprabhu couldnt even convert them.....

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  19. Are we really independently independent? I s our free will , free choice of such great prominence/influence to determine the course of our life here in the material world and beyond?

    Firstly, I took birth in my parents family. I have no choice in that. Not that I don’t like my parents, on the contrary I love them so much. How lucky am I? I took birth in the Philippines, but I’d be very fortunate if it was in Vrindaban.

    M first contact with the Radha-Krishna philosophy was something indirect as to be from mercy; not through my own initiative but through my sister who bought a book in the street. Though she exercised her independent responsibility I got the mercy. How fortunate can I get?

    Yes, we have the free choice and free will to choose what colour sari we want to wear today, or to not chant our rounds or to go short on the number of rounds, to do smaranam or not, the brand of our Ipods, the dressing for our windows, and even the person we want to marry, (but not during our fanatical ISKCON days, I’m afraid, but that is a different story) etc, -- such mundane day to day choices.

    But on the other hand, this free will/choice and independence just do not seem to go my way most of the time. It get thwarted all the time.

    I planned to bush walk today but the rain spoiled it. The other day I was reading the news about a man peacefully sleeping in his front bedroom when the car rammed through it. Instant death!

    I work the same number of hours as the other people in my neighbourhood but they seem to have more money than me. And I’m thinking of babies born to the richest familes on the planet. Do they deserve it? Very fortunate indeed!

    Some seem to be the “perfect people” but they still experience family break-ups.

    Bad things happen to very good and very responsible people. Can they do within the scope of their free choice, will and indepence to reverse the situation?

    Last year, after long years of searching, “I” felt that GV was for me. I went to Vraj after studying and planning to ask for the mercy of a guru. But as Providence had it for me, mercy seemed to be available from another Guru. I call that Providential set-up!

    I may think, plan, endevour to make this lifetime my last in the material world yet I’m not even sure what my state of devotional life will be in a year’s time. I can only pray for mercy to continue on this path.

    The more I read what the shastras and whatever limited comments of the acharyas have on this topic and the more I ponder about MY LIFE, the more I feel that I am a marionette greatly influenced by the strings of “some principle” other than my free will and independence.

    I am not being lazy and irresponsible, on the contrary I’d say (at least in the common definition of the words). Still I believe things happening to me are just "are" and any of the following: something apparently materially "good", something that's more evidently a spiritual grace, or it may appear as something apparently unfortunate.

    If we look at the BIG PICTURE admittedly in a metaphysical way, even of our material lives, our exercise of independent responsibility, free will/choice are not the defining factors on how the course of our lives are shaped. So I’d say the influence of our free will in our lives is so small as to be negligible.

    Radhe Radhe

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