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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.

2 comments:

  1. It is very interesting about Madhavaites and Gaudiyas. I've downloaded Laghu Bhagavatamrita, but cannot understand Sanskrit: nirbandhaà yukti-vistäre mayätra parimuïcatä |
    pradhänatvät parmäëeñu çabda eva pramäëyate (1.7)... could you please confirm that the Madhvaites are really mentioned here?
    In fact, I have doubts about Gaudiyas belonging to the Madhvaites. I read that Baladeva Vidyabhushana was initiated into Madhva sampradaya (tattva-vadi). Was he the first one who claimed that the Gaudiyas belong to Madhva sampradaya? Can you please tell a bit of history?

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  2. Boris, sorry I borrowed hat book and I don't have it anymore. It may be stated in Baladeva's tika instead. Gaudiyas are connected with the Madhvaites through diksa but not through siksa. Their upasana and siddhanta is totally different. Baladeva may have wanted to link us to the Madhvaites to get us Radha Govinda's service back in Vrindavan, so at the abha in Galta he made the point that we do belong to one of the four sampradayas. He himself also stated all the differences between us and the Madhvaites. Factually, however, since Caitanya is Bhagavan, we are our own Sampradaya.

    This Baladeva writes in his tika on Tattva SAndarbha:

    bhaktänäà vipränäm eva mokñaù devah bhakteñu mukhyäù viriïcasyaiva säyüjyaà lakñmyä jéva-koöitvam ity evam mata viçeñäù

    “Only a brähmaëa-devotee is eligible for liberation, the demigods are foremost among devotees, Brahmä attains säyüjya-mukti (merging in Brahman), and Lakñmé-devé is included among the jévas – these are differences in opinion.”
    Other differences include:
    1. The Madhvaites practice upäsana on vidhi-märga, filled with moods of aiçvarya (majesty) while the Gauòéyas’ worship is one of räga-märga, where mädhurya (sweetness) predominates.
    2. The Madhvaites worship Nartaka-Gopäla alone, whereas the firm resolve of the Gauòéyas who follow the footsteps of Çré Raghunätha Däsa Gosvämé is substantially different: ya ekaà govindaà bhajati kapaöé dämbhikatayä “Whoever worships Govinda alone is a cheater and a hypocrite”. To highlight the contrast, it may be noted that many proponents of the Madhva-sampradäya contest the existence of Çré Rädhä altogether, since she is not presented in the literature of their sampradäya as a consort of Gopäla!
    3. Madhva taught the concept of dvaita, or absolute duality, whereas Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu presented the refined concept of acintya-bhedäbheda-tattva, the doctrine of simultaneous oneness and difference.
    4. Moreover, we find the following words spoken by Çréman Mahäprabhu Himself to an äcärya of the Madhva-sampradäya in the Caitanya Caritämåta (Madhya-lélä, 9.273-276):

    çuni’ tattväcärya hoilo antare lajjita; prabhura vaiñëavatä dekhi, hoilo vismita
    äcärya kahe – tumi yei kaha, sei satya haya; sarva-çästre vaiñëavera ei suniçcaya
    tathäpi madhväcärya ye kariyäche nirbandha; sei äcäriye sabe sampradäya-sambandha
    prabhu kahe karmé, jïäné, dui bhakti-héna; tomära sampradäye dekhi sei dui cihna
    sabe, eka guëa dekhi tomära sampradäye; satya-vigraha kari’ éçvare karaha niçcaye

    “Hearing these words of Çréman Mahäprabhu, the äcärya of the Tattva-väda sampradäya became ashamed, and was struck with wonder upon seeing His degree of Vaiñëavism. The äcärya said, “Whatever you have told, that is the truth proclaimed in all scriptures, and the firm conviction of the Vaiñëavas. However, whatever Madhväcärya has firmly established, that we practice due to our sampradäya-connection with him.” Prabhu said, “Karmés and jïänés are both devoid of bhakti. In your sampradäya, I can see symptoms of both. All in all, the only qualification I see in your sampradäya is your firm acceptance of the truth of the Lord’s form.”
    Hence it should not be a surprise that a majority of the Gauòéyas have little or no identification as members of the Madhva sampradäya.

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