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Thursday, September 27, 2007

25 ২৫

Sādhu Bābā shortly after he gave me diksa, on his 48th birthday anniversary in Navadvip, October 1982

It is often said that the day of your initiation is the day of your new, spiritual birth. In that case it is my 25th birthday today, though my material body is already 51. The closest statement I can find in śāstra to confirm this belief is

dīkṣā kāle bhakta kore ātma samarpana; 
sei kāle kṛṣṇa tāte kore ātma sama. 
sei deha kore tār cid-ānandamoy; 
aprākṛta dehe tar caraṇa bhajoy 

from Caitanya Caritāmṛta 4.192-193. "At the time of initiation the devotee surrenders him/herself. At that time Kṛṣṇa considers that devotee to be equal to Himself. He grants the devotee a transcendental body through which the devotee can worship His lotus feet." Śrīla Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja then quotes the following verse from the Bhāgavata (11.29.34) to illustrate it:

martyo yadā tyakta-samasta-karmā 
niveditātmā vicikīrṣito me
tadāmṛtatvaḥ pratipadyamāno 
mayātma-bhūyāya ca kalpate vai 

"If a mortal person gives up all social duties to surrender unto Me, I grant that person immortality and My personal service." Of the ṭīkās, Śrī Viśvanātha's is the most interesting. He explains: niveditātmā mat-svarūpa-bhūyāya man-mantropadeśakāya gurave -"Surrendering one's self means surrendering to the dīkṣā-Guru". Then he quotes a śloka from an unknown source:

yo’haṁ mamāsti yat kincid iha loke paratra ca 
tat sarvaṁ bhavato nātha caraṇeṣu samarpitam

"Whoever I am and whatever I have, either in this world or in the other, all that, O Lord, I offer unto Your lotus feet."

ātma-bhūyāya sva-bhṛtyai "ātma bhūya means attaining the Lord's servanthood."
phalaṁ tu premavat pārṣadatvam "The result is prema and becoming the Lord's personal associate."

In the week preceding my dīkṣā I had been interviewing Bābā with the help of Bābā's disciple Nivedita Bannerji (now living at Rādhākund under the name 'Haripriyā Mā'). This lady was the only person present who knew both English and Bengali, so she was of crucial importance. Because Bābā was scheduled to return to Navadvīp on September 27 and was said not to visit Vraja more than once a year, I was compelled to make a snap decision on taking dīkṣā. Moreover, I was unsure if my visa would be extended to last another year. On September 24 I had resolved to take dīkṣā and expressed my application to sister Nivedita, who told Bābā.  It was an exciting moment, because Bābā thought for a while before he decided to give me dīkṣā. In those days traditional Vaiṣṇavas were very suspicious of westerners (with some reason) and were very cautious about giving them dīkṣā.  Only 2-3 Gurus had so far agreed to give them dīkṣā, so it was far from guaranteed. Besides, the Haribhakti Vilāsa (chapter 1) says that Guru and śiṣya must test each other for 1 year (brāhmin), 2 years (kṣatriya), 3 years (vaiśya) and 4 years (śūdra), so where would that even leave a westerner? So it was a great relief when Bābā said yes. He will give it tomorrow. Later that same afternoon I hear that Bābā wants to postpone it to September 27, the day of his departure back to Navadvipa. Many years later, in 2000, I learned that 25-9-82 was a bad constellation, mūlā, while the 27th was an auspicious one, uttarāṣāḍhā. Baba was so kind to give me a good launching-pad for my bhajan!

I was also asked to hand in a notebook for Bābā to write the mantras and other instructions in. I asked him to give me a new name on that day. This was also kind of special, because new names are generally only given when devotees take sannyāsa, as we can see in the pastimes of Gaurāṅga f.i.

I received a number of photos to install on my altar - one of Bābā, one of Advaita Prabhu and one of Rādhā-Madangopāl, the deities of Jyetha Mahāśoy (Bābā's elder brother Govinda Gopāl Gosvāmī).

On september 26 I begged 15 Rs dakṣiṇā (alms for the Guru) from two friends in Vṛndāvan and early on Monday, 27th september, I took a bath in the Yamunā (Bābā had asked me to do so) and put on a neat dhoti (normally I walked around in short white rags in those days). At Bihārījī Mandir I bought a flower garland and then proceeded to Advaita Bhavan. I arrived a bit early because Bābā had to bathe still. After bathing Bābā took me into the back room, blinded the windows and whispered two dīkṣā-mantras in my right ear. After that he also gave me the mahā mantra, which he called tārak brahma nāma. This was also extraordinary - Bābā normally first gave only harināma and only six months later mantra, but he gave me mantra at once, while I was even just a westerner, and then harināma afterwards. I had to repeat each word of each mantra three times over. After this he made tilaka on the twelve designated places on my body with the emblem of the Advaita-parivāra. My friend Rādhā Ramaṇa had previously told me how it looks and now Bābā confirmed it in deed: A stem on the forehead and a Banyan-leaf on the nose. After that Bābā took a Tulasī-mālā in the hand to put around my neck, but when he saw that I already had one he left it. Bābā had already written the dīkṣā-mantras in my notebook in both Bengali and English, adding to it: "Your present name is Adwaita dasji Maharaj". The dīkṣā consisted of just two Kṛṣṇa-mantras, as I had expected, the two mantras that are actually mentioned in the śāstras. I asked Bābā what the rules for an initiated devotee are, and he told me: ‘Eat pure, be chaste and don’t drink’ (this is just a rough, concise translation of a more elaborate sermon Bābā gave me). I offered Bābā the flower garland I bought, but it was entangled, and I failed to unravel it, so I just left it like that on the floor. Then I gave him the Rs.15 guru dakṣiṇā that I managed to collect but he did not want to accept it. Instead he said, in English: "I don't need this. I want your heart." This is also not a usual reaction for a poor Indian sādhu vis a vis a rich westerner. I left the money at his feet. Bābā also said: “Our caste distinction is based on the body, not on the soul.” I received a Bengali folder with an arcanā paddhatī that explained the rites for practising the mantras. I also asked Bābā for siddha praṇālī, but he found that too early. Before leaving for Navadvīpa, Bābā told me: “If you have any questions about bhajan then ask my elder brother.”

The family's Vṛndāvana-residence is in Patthar Purā, in the north of town. Patthar Purā means "stone city", the place in Vṛndāvana that delivered the stones to build Rūpa Gosvāmī's Govinda Mandir, which is just down the road from there. I received my mantras at the base of the Yogapīṭh, Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s mystical meeting place.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Phone Sanga (8)

Bhakta: "Are you sure that westerners are not qualified for sannyāsa?"

Advaitadas: "In Mādhurya Kādambini a symptom of a beginner is called utsāha, enthusiasm. This is not the same enthusiasm which is hailed by Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Upadeśāmṛta, because the latter is connected with dhairya, patience, and niścaya, determination. That is a much higher level. In the scale of reincarnation westerners are totally new to this Vedic culture. You see they are much more enthusiastic than an average Indian Vaiṣṇava, but this wears off, and it may not wear off in a few minutes, but it can take 10-15 years. We are so new to this that we think 15 years is an 'old' devotee, so we give such an 'old' western devotee sannyāsa and within a few years he is back out on the street again, because his was, still, merely utsāha. There is purity but it does not have deep roots. There is no saṁskāra of this life, what to speak of the previous life. That is why the Vedas only allow born brahmins to take sannyāsa - even low caste Indians are a risk, let alone a westerner."

Bhakta: "The Vṛndāvana Mahimāmṛta (1.54) says "The entire festival of the Lord's bliss is only a drop compared to the joy the sakhīs experience when they stare at the ocean of pastimes of Rādhā's hero (Kṛṣṇa)." So their joy is greater than the Lord's and everyone else's together?"

Advaitadas: "This is a glorification. The very name of this book says it all -mahimāmṛta - glorification. In the same book (2.15) it is said that "If someone will tell me to leave Vraja I will certainly kill him (hanmyavaśya), and if my Guru tells me to leave Vṛndāvan I will reject my Guru." Well, Narottama was told by his Guru to leave Vraja and he submissively left Vraja. Can you imagine? There are so many people - your relatives or the Indian Govt - who may tell you to leave Vraja - would you kill them for it? Some verses must be read with the heart rather than with the brain. They are cries of love. These are super-subjective statements and interpretations of love - AbsoluteTruth vs Absolute Fact. Rational analysis of this is like pushing a square peg into a round hole. In understanding these statements, change just one letter in the word 'literal' and come to 'liberal'. This is not undevotional or anti-devotional."

Bhakta: "How does the holy name enter the ears?"

Advaitadas: "The holy name is the sound form of the Lord. You associate with Kṛṣṇa in a sound form."

Bhakta: "So I associate with Rādhā when I chant Hare and with Kṛṣṇa when I chant Kṛṣṇa?"

Advaitadas: "In our concept (the one of Śrīla Raghunātha Dās Gosvāmī) the whole mantra is about Kṛṣṇa, but even if Hare meant Rādhā, there is the verse 'rādhā pūrṇa śakti - kṛṣṇa pūrṇa śaktimān; dui vastu bheda nāi' (CC) 'Rādhā is the supreme energy and Kṛṣṇa the supreme energetic. There is no difference between the two." Your conception will depend on the explanation the Guru gives of the mantra, but the presence of the Lord will always be there, regardless of the angle of vision. Nectar appears in the mouth while chanting, that is the proof - abhinna nāma nāmino -there is no difference between the Name and the Named. Only on the level of bhāva-bhakti you can see Them in the Names, but otherwise you can taste Them still. Even ordinary devotees often have the experience that they cannot stop chanting because it is so nice. A Guru-given interpretation of the words of the mahā mantra is required, as well as a peaceful concentrated mind. We chant in mañjarī bhāva, trying to save Śrī Swāminījī's life by chanting the names of Kṛṣṇa,  lest She dies of separation."

Bhakta: "Is relishing Kṛṣṇa's sweetness a side-effect of devotional service?"

Advaitadas: "We have to analyse the meaning of the word bhakti. It is sometimes translated as 'devotional service', implying that it needs to be some hard labour. Actually it means 'devotion', and Rūpa Gosvāmī has listed 64 items of it, of which just some of them are hard labour. Many items, like tasting (actually honouring) prasāda, seeing the deities, tasting Tulasī-leaves, smelling incense, are certainly not hard labor, but they are acts of worship just as well."

Bhakta: "Yes, but what about the verse hṛśīkena hṛśīkeśa sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate? (Serving Kṛṣṇa with the senses is called bhakti)?"

Advaitadas: "There are jñānendriya (knowledge-acquiring senses) and karmendriya (active senses). It is not that Kṛṣṇa can only be served with the active senses, and bhakti consists only of loading sankīrtan-vans and mopping the floor of the temple-building. Maharaja Ambarīṣa served Kṛṣṇa with his eyes by seeing the deity, through his nose by smelling offered Tulasī-leaves and through his tongue by tasting prasāda, na tu kāma kāmyaya - 'But not for his own gratification'. (SB 9.4.18-20). In Vilāpa Kusumāñjali (76) Tulasī Mañjarī prays just for the vision of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa's pastimes. In his explanations, Śrīla Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī quotes Swāminījī saying: “Tulasi! Aren’t you doing anything?” Tulasī – “Do we have to serve all the time? Now we cannot serve – You found Yourself a good decorator now! (In this verse Kṛṣṇa decorates Rādhikā) Let the ocean of our bliss surge as we watch Him perform this service!” Watching is an act of dedication. A non-devotee would not bother watching it, but a devotee is interested, and that is pleasing to Kṛṣṇa - anukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā. In the material context it is the same - if someone gazes at you with love and admiration, that will certainly please you. The only thing that counts is dedication."

Bhakta: "In Vṛndāvana Mahimāmṛta trees of wine are mentioned. Is this poetry, glorification or real time?"

Advaitadas: "I think it is all of this. Wine is liquid, not solid, but in the spiritual world that should not be impossible. Jesus walked over water in the material world, and when you freeze water it becomes solid (ice), too. Vai-kuṇṭha means there is no limitation."

Bhakta: "Are the assistents of the 8 sakhīs like Lalitā also celibate, like Rādhā's maidservants, or do they indulge with Kṛṣṇa?"

Advaitadas: "I don't know, and the identity of these sakhīs or mañjarīs is also not really clear to me. Some devotees have elaborated on the eight sakhīs' kuñjas at Rādhākuṇḍa and have ascribed eight assistants to each of the eight sakhīs and then these 64 assistants may have again 8 assistants. Such assistants are called upasakhīs, though, not mañjarīs. I once joked about it that such coronas of lotus-like kuñjas may extend up to Sūryakund or Kośī."

Bhakta: "Well, it is said in śāstra that all the universes fit into a single corner of Vrajamaṇḍala, so why not?"

Advaitadas: "Just joking. The point is that my Guru emphasised simplicity. Such endless coronas may be there, but we don't spy on the neighbors. We have enough to do ourselves - 8 - 64 - 512 - 4096 kuñjas, and so it may go on. Let it go on."

Bhakta: "Mañjarī bhāva is directly taught by Mahāprabhu?'

Advaitadas: "It is briefly described by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and more elaborately by Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī, who had Mahāprabhu's Personal association for 16 long years in Puri. What actually took place in these years we don't know, but the Caitanya Caritāmṛta speaks of antaraṅga sevā, Raghunātha rendering intimate services to Svarūpa Dāmodāra there. Since Svarūpa Dāmodara's notebooks are lost we may never know what that actually means. But the Gosvāmīs are of course totally empowered and endorsed by Mahāprabhu, so we see Mañjarī Bhāva as His personal gift to us."

Bhakta: "If Kṛṣṇa's ornaments are beautified by His limbs then why should He wear ornaments at all?"

Advaitadas: "In Śrīla Ānanda Gopāl Gosvāmī's comments on Vilāpa Kusumāñjali Rādhikā asks Tulasī Mañjarī: "Why put lipstick on My lips if they are anyway so beautiful?' Tulasī replies that the lipstick will look good on an indigo background (Kṛṣṇa's cheeks). Similarly the red lac on Her feet looks good on Kṛṣṇa's head, etc. I do believe that the ornaments have some decorating effect in themselves, though. Besides, we must remember that these are not ordinary metals, stones and flowers -they are manifestations of the internal potency's sandhinī śakti, transcendental items. Just as the love of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs constantly enhance each other (hurāhurī), so it is with the beauty of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa's limbs and Their ornaments. It is not that the ornaments will dim the splendour of Their limbs either.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Śrī-Śrī Rādhāṣṭamī



rādhā karāvacita pallava ballarīke
rādhā padāṅka vilasan madhura sthalīke
rādhā yaśo mukhara matta khagāvalīke
rādhā bihāra bipine ramatāṁ mano me

( Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi - 14)

This is probably Sādhu Bābā's favorite verse of Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi, and the verse through which he first introduced me to  Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi. In English it says:

"My mind rejoices in the play-forest of  Rādhā,  where all the vines and leaves are touched by  Rādhā's hands, where the place is sweetened by the playful footsteps of  Rādhā and where the birds madly sing about the fame and glory of  Rādhā."


Pada by Ghanaśyām Dās:

Rāgiṇī Kalyāṇī - Tāla Daśa Kusi

BHĀDRA ŚUKLĀṢṬAMĪ TITHI, VIŚĀKHĀ NAKṢATRA TATHI,
ŚRĪMATI JANAMA SEI KĀLE
MADHYA DINA GATA RAVI, DEKHIYĀ BĀLIKĀ CHABI,
JAYA JAYA DEI KUTŪHOLE

"On the eighth day of the bright lunar quarter in the month of Bhādra, during the Viśākhā constellation Śrīmati took birth. When the sun had passed midday and they saw the luster of the little girl the people eagerly sang "Jaya Jaya!"

VṚṢABHĀNU PURE,     PRATI GHARE GHARE,
JAYA RĀDHE ŚRĪ RĀDHE BOLE
KANYĀRA CĀṄDA MUKHA DEKHI,     RĀJĀ HOILĀ MAHĀ-SUKHĪ,
DĀNA DEI BRĀHMAṆA SAKALE

"In every house in Vṛṣabhānupura the shouts of Jaya Rādhe! Śrī Rādhe! resounded. Seeing his daughter's moonlike face, Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja became very happy and gave donations to the local brāhmaṇas."

NĀNĀ DRAVYA HASTE KORI, NAGARERA YOTO NĀRĪ,
ĀILĀ SABHE KĪRTIKĀ MANDIRE
ANEKA PUṆYERA PHALE, DAIVA HOILĀ ANUKŪLE,
E HENO BĀLIKĀ MILE TORE

"Taking different presents in their hands all the women of the town came to the abode of Mother Kīrtidā (saying:) "As a result of great piety Fate became favorable to you, so that you have attained such a little girl!"

MODERA MONE HENO LOY, EHO TO MĀNUṢA NOY,
KON CHALE KEBĀ JANAMILĀ
GHANAŚYĀMA DĀSA KOY, NĀ KORIHO SAṀŚAYA,
KṚṢṆA PRIYĀ SADAYA HOILĀ

"We think that this is not a human being. Who has taking a hidden incarnation here?" Ghanaśyāma dāsa says: "Don't doubt it! Kṛṣṇa-priyā has become merciful (by appearing)!"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The ācāryas on immature bhajan

The commentaries on the Gītā's 'hypocrite'-verse (3.6) give a fascinating description of what can go wrong when one immaturely takes sannyāsa and starts / continues making a show of meditation. In our sampradāya one cannot help but think of immature persons who, either out of naive idealism or for material benefits, settle full-time in a holy place like Rādhākund to start 'meditating'. The Gītā-verse itself runs as follows:


karmendriyāṇi saṁyamya ya āste manasā smaran
indriyārthān vimūḍhātmā mithyācāraḥ sa ucyate


'He who controls his active senses but whose mind dwells on sensual objects and is bewildered by them, is called a hypocrite."

Let us first relish Sridhara Swami's comments:

ato’jnaṁ karma-tyāginaṁ nindati karmendriyāṇīti vāk-pāṇy-ādīni karmendriyāṇi 

"The Lord here criticizes the ignorant who give up activities and control the active senses like the speech and hands."

saṁyamya bhagavad-dhyāna-cchalena indriyārthān viṣayān smarann āste 

'Controlling the senses means here: Making a show of meditating on the Lord while remembering sensual things.'

aviśuddhatayā manasā ātmani sthairyābhāvāt

'His impurity is caused by unsteadiness of the mind' (When the mind is not peaceful one will become active in the wrong way, A.d.)

sa mithyācāraḥ kapaṭācāro dāmbhika ucyata ity arthaḥ

"He is called a hypocrite or fraudster."

Madhusudan Saraswati comments in his tika:

yathā-kathancid autsukya-mātreṇa kṛta-sannyāsas tv aśuddha-cittas tat-phala-bhāṅ na bhavati yataḥ

"Simply due to some enthusiasm one takes sannyāsa with an impure mind. This will not yield the desired fruits."

yo vimūḍhātmā rāga-dveṣādi-dūṣitāntaḥ-karaṇa autsukya-mātreṇa karmendriyāṇi vāk-pāṇy-ādīni saṁyamya nigṛhya bahir-indriyaiḥ karmāṇy akurvann iti yāvat

"This verse speaks of the bewildered soul whose psyche is polluted by attachment and repulsion and simply out of some enthusiasm controls his external senses like speech and hands, not performing any external action."

manasā rāgādi-preritendriyārthān śabdādīn na tv ātma-tattvaḥ smarann āste 

"His minds remembers things, like sounds etc., he is attached or averse to, instead of remembering spiritual things." (The word 'sounds' is funny - it reminds me of all the agitation caused in the mind by the blasting loud all-night Bollywood Music in the holy places nowadays. I do know real saints, including Sādhu Bābā, though, who were / are completely undisturbed by that).

kṛta-sannyāso’ham ity abhimānena karma-śūnyas tiṣṭhati sa mithyācāraḥ sattva-śuddhy-abhāvena phalāyogyatvāt pāpācāra ucyate

He proudly thinks/says 'I have taken sannyāsa' and remains devoid of external activity, but he is a hypocrite. Because of a lack of viśuddha sattva he is unqualified for attaining the results of his activities and thus is called a sinner."


tvaṁ-padārtha-vivekāya sannyāsaḥ sarva-karmaṇām
 śrutyeha vihito yasmāt tat-tyāgī patito bhavet ity ādi-dharma-śāstreṇa 


Śrīpād Madhusūdan then quotes the Dharma Śāstra: "To attain the Supreme one must renounce all activities (sannyāsa). This is what the Śrutis command. Whoever gives this up is considered fallen."

Monday, September 10, 2007

প্রথম মিলন Pratham Milan - Silver jubilee


brahmāṇḍa bhramite kon bhāgyavān jīva;
guru kṛṣṇa prasāde pāy bhakti latā bīja


(Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 19.151):

"Some soul wandering through the material world may be so fortunate to, by the grace of Guru and Kṛṣṇa, receive the seed of the creeper of devotion."

After searching for long, that moment came for me, 25 years ago today, in Vṛndāvana, as I first met my eternal Guru. I made these notes on it in my Indian diary - Vṛndāvana, Friday, September 10, 1982:

(In the preceding days my friend, compatriot and neighbor Rādhā Raman Dās, tried to help me find a Guru, so he had introduced me to some of the prominent Mahātmās of Vṛndāvana of the day, like Rohiṇīndranāth Mitra and Tinkuri Bābā. After introducing me to Tinkuri Gosvāmī, Rādhā Ramaṇa tells me there is another Gosvāmī in town, from Navadvīpa, who is a direct descendant of Advaita Prabhu. He had met him with Asurāri and Madhusūdan when he was in Navadvīpa last July and is named Nikuñja Gopāl Gosvāmī).

September 10, 1982 — Rādhā Raman brings me for the first darśana of Nikuñja Gopāl Gosvāmī as a candidate-guru, in a small house next to the bhajanāśrama, named "Śyāma Vinodini Kuñja". It is the same house where I met Govinda Gopāl Gosvāmī three months earlier; he turns out to be his elder brother. Bābā is corpulent and short, but very effulgent. He has a long beard, long jaṭās (dreadlocks) and huge Tulasī-beads around his neck. He is very happy to meet us. He calls out "Jay Rādhe! Jay Rādhe!" to greet us. It is love at first sight. We don’t stay long, since we don’t really know what to say (Rādhā Raman knows only little Bengali, I don't know anything yet at this point). Back outside I tell Rādhā Raman  "Wow, he's really amazing!" "I told you so!", Rādhā Raman says.

(It would take another 10 precious days before I met Bābā again, because I came down with dysenteria in between).


I found Bābā pretty much the in way he looks on the picture here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A happy Janmāṣṭamī to all




pūtanā-vadhādi yata līlā kṣaṇe kṣaṇe
saba līlā nitya prakaṭa kare anukrame

ananta brahmāṇḍa, tāra nāhika gaṇana
kona līlā kona brahmāṇḍe haya prakaṭana

ei-mata saba līlā — yena gańgā-dhāra
se-se līlā prakaṭa kare vrajendra-kumāra

krame bālya-paugaṇḍa-kaiśoratā-prāpti
rāsa-ādi līlā kare, kaiśore nitya-sthiti

'nitya-līlā' kṛṣṇera sarva-śāstre koy
bujhite nā pāre līlā kemane 'nitya' hoy

dṛṣṭānta diyā kahi tabe loka yadi jāne
kṛṣṇa-līlā — nitya, jyotiścakra-pramāṇe

"Kṛṣṇa's pastimes are eternal, even the manifest ones - at each moment he is killing Pūtanā somewhere, and all His other pastimes are progressing somewhere at some point at this moment. There is no counting the number of universes, and in which universe Kṛṣṇa performs which pastime. In this way His pastimes flow like the course of the Ganges. At each point the son of Brajendra manifests one pastime or the other. It is like the sun who is traversing the sky and is always shining at one point in creation, though not everywhere at the same time. Wherever He performs His pastimes He grows from babyhood to boyhood to adolescence, where His age enters eternity."

Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya 20. 379-384

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Jīva manifestation of the svarūpa śakti?

I recently stumbled upon this interview with B.V. Tripurāri Swāmī on Audarya fellowship. It originally appeared on Swāmījī’s website on August 8, 2005:

Q. What is the relationship between the jīva (individual soul) and Kṛṣṇa's svarūpa-śakti, and where does the soul's attraction to a particular relationship with Kṛṣṇa come from?

A. Śrī 
Kṛṣṇa's svarūpa-śakti is his primary śakti, and thus all other śaktis have their origin in it. The svarūpa-śakti is constituted of sandhinī (eternal existence), samvit (complete spiritual knowledge), and hlādinī (joy). The jīva-śakti is a partial manifestation of the svarūpa-śakti and the māyā-sakti (illusory energy) is a distorted manifestation of it. Because the jīva is a partial manifestation of the svarūpa-śakti, it exists eternally, can know itself (brahma-jñāna), and has the capacity to experience the joy of brahmānanda. However, only when the jīva comes in contact with the svarūpa-śakti through the guru-paramparā can it realize its full potential to exist, know, and be happy. This is a potential that is not present in the māyā-śakti, as all manifestations of the māyā-śakti, including material knowledge and sense pleasure, are relative and fleeting, the latter ultimately only leading to greater degrees of suffering. In connection with the svarūpa-śakti, the jīva-śakti has the potential to experience an eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa,  as it is a partial manifestation of the svarūpa-śakti. When the jīva-śakti comes in contact with the svarūpa-śakti through the guru-paramparā, its dormant spiritual potential gradually awakens. "


With due respect to Swāmījī, the underlined sentences do not represent Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava siddhānta, and he is kindly invited to quote evidence for this from śāstra. Rather, in Caitanya Caritāmṛta Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaches Sanātan Gosvāmī (CC Madhya 20.108):

jīvera svarūpa hoy kṛṣṇera nitya dāsa; kṛṣṇera taṭastha śakti bhedābheda prakāśa


“The jīva’s real form is of an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, being Kṛṣṇa's intermediary energy, both different and non different from Him.”

Here the jīva is established as a certain distinct energy of the Lord. Later, in verse 111, Śrīman Mahāprabhu says:

kṛṣṇera svābhāvika tina śakti pariṇati; cicchakti, jīva-sakti, āra māyā śakti


"Kṛṣṇa naturally has three energies – the cognizant (internal, spiritual) energy, the jīva-energy and the illusory potency.”

The Lord then quotes the Viṣṇu Purāṇa:

viṣṇu śakti parā proktā kṣetrajñākhyā tathā parā; avidyā karma saṁjñānyā tṛtīyā śaktir iṣyate


“Lord Viṣṇu has three energies: “The supreme (internal, spiritual) energy, the field-knowing energy (the living entities) and the ignorant energy (māyā).”

It is nowhere stated that jīva śakti is a partial manifestation of svarūpa śakti. Wherever there is a discussion of the Lord's śaktis, jīva-śakti and svarūpa-śakti are mentioned as eternally separate. One also never becomes the other.