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Thursday, April 17, 2008

More on Advaita Prakāśa

This is part of an e-mail discussion with a submissive inquirer on the Advaita Prakāśa and the Advaita Vaṁśa.

Bhakta: "In Caitanya Bhāgavata and Caitanya Caritāmṛta if it is stated that Acyutānanda was just 5 years old when Mahāprabhu took sannyasa then how is it possible to question its authority? For this in refutation you have said...........”Therefore Caitanya Bhāgavata's statement that Acyutānanda was a 5-year old boy, dusty and naked, after Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa, must be a mere sign of love, as a loving parent treats even his grown up children as if they were still breast-milk-drinking toddlers. This is told by Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Goswāmī is it not, then why Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Goswāmī  or Vṛndāvan Dāsa Thākur have used "five years old" instead of that they might have used some other numbers, how they can say so precisely?

Advaitadas: "Bengali poetry and vernacular has its style, just as Sanskrit, German etc. have. So 5-years old is a standard simile for someone really cute. I was working in Iskcon Gurukula in Nepal in 1980 and the Bengali teacher called the boys 5 years old, though they were 11-12 actually. So that is called śailī, or linguistic style. It is also important to keep in mind that there are many poetic hyperboles of glorification used in śāstra. They are not all literal truths. "

Bhakta: "Advaita Prakāśa has been mentioned in one breath with booklets on Gaur Nāgarī Bhāva as bogus."

Advaitadas: Advaita Prakāśa is different - it does not promote any type of controversial sādhana. It is a biography only. It is not just 40-50 years older than Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Goswāmī  has taken many stories over from it to put in his Caitanya Caritāmṛta, that is my point - if it is bogus, why would Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Goswāmī  take stories from them, like the story of Mādhavendra Puri, to put in his Caitanya Caritāmṛta?"

Bhakta: "Ok I agree with it, but is there any strong evidence to show that Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Goswāmī  has taken the stories from Advaita prakāśa? Kindly answer........"

Advaitadas: "The stories of Mādhavendra Puri (ch. 5), Haridās Thākur delivering the prostitute (ch. 9), Mahāprabhu coming to Advaita Prabhu’s house after taking sannyāsa (ch. 16), meeting Rūpa and Sanātana in Rāmakeli (ch. 16), making the animals in Jharikhaṇḍa forest chant (ch. 16), meeting Rūpa Gosvāmī in Prayāga (ch. 17), the dog of Śivānanda Sena (ch. 18), the banishment of Chota Haridās (ch. 18), Rūpa Gosvāmī reading his dramas to the Lord (ch. 19), Sanātan Gosvāmī coming to Puri with the sores (ch. 19) and the passing away of Haridās Thākura (ch. 19) are the same, though the Advaita Prakāśa versions are admittedly much more concise. Advaita Prakāśa is 40 years older than Caitanya Caritāmṛta,  so that is clear, isn't it? (This is added to the Giri Swami refutation on

Bhakta: "But some people says there were two Īśāna Nāgaras at that time and the one was the Servant of Jagannatha Miśra and disciple of Advaita prabhu but another was different and also it is unsure that who has written this Advaita prakāśa, what you say about this? Kindly answer.........."

Advaitadas: "I don’t know of any other Īśāna Nagara than the disciple of Advaita Prabhu. He narrates of his personal relationship with Advaita Prabhu and Sītā Devī in chapters 18 (twice) and 21 of Advaita Prakāśa. In Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Abhidhāna, which lists all the parṣads of Mahāprabhu, there is just one Iśāna Nāgara mentioned:

শ্রীঅদ্বৈতপ্রভুর শাখা, ব্রাহ্মণবংশে ১৪১৪ শকে জন্ম । আদি নিবাস - শ্রীহট্ট জেলার লাউড় পরগণান্তর্গত নবগ্রাম । পাঁচ বত্সর বয়ঃক্রমকালে ইঁহার বিধবা মাতা ইশানকে লইয়া শ্রীঅদ্বৈতপ্রভুর গৃহে আশ্রয় লন । ঈশানের শিক্ষা ব্যবস্থা শ্রীঅদ্বৈত প্রভুই করেন । অদ্বৈতপত্নী সীতাদেবীর আজ্ঞায় ৭০ বত্সর বয়ঃ ক্রমকালে ইনি সংসারী হইয়া বিবাহ করিয়াছিলেন । ঈশান অতীব তেজস্বী ছিলেন । এক দিবস মহাপ্রভুর পদধৌত করিবার জন্য অগ্রসর হইলে - মহাপ্রভু ঈশানের উপবীত দেখিয়া তাঁহাকে ব্রাহ্মণ জানিয়া নিষেধ করিলে ঈশান তদ্দণ্ডেই উপবীত ছিঁড়িয় ফেলিলেন .....ঈশান নাগর ১৪৯০ শকে শ্রীলাউড়ধামে 'অদ্বৈতপ্রকাশ' গ্রন্থ রচনা করেন - 'চৌদ্দশত নবতি শকাব্দ পরিমাণে । লীলাগ্রন্থ সাঙ্গ কইনু শ্রীলাউড় ধামে" ।

“A member of Śrī Advaita Prabhu’s branch, born in a Brahmin family in 1414 Śaka (1492). His ancestral home was Lāuḍa, Navagrāma in the district of Śrī Haṭṭa (the same ancestral home as Advaita Prabhu’s). His widowed mother took shelter of Śrī Advaita Prabhu’s home when he was 5 years old, where he was educated by Advaita Prabhu Himself. On Sītā-devī’s order he married at the age of 70. He was very powerful. One day he came forward to wash Mahāprabhu’s lotus-feet, but when Mahāprabhu saw his Brahmin-thread he did not want accept service from him. Īśāna then punished his Brahmin-thread by breaking it. Īśāna Nāgara composed the book ‘Advaita Prakāśa’ in 1490 Śaka (1568) in Lāuḍa Dhāma – caudda-śata navati śakābda parimāṇe; līlā-grantha sāṅga kainu śrī lāuḍa dhāme.

The Īśāna who served Jagannāth Miśra was not surnamed Nāgara. He was just named Īśāna and did not write any books to my knowledge.

Bhakta: "Advaita dāsji, is there any Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava scripture like Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Caitanya Bhāgavata etc. which supports Vaṁśa Paramparās like Nityānanda and Advaita? Kindly explain........."

Advaitadas: "No this is not in Caitanya Caritāmṛta or Caitanya Bhāgavata, because these books are solely about Mahāprabhu and do not diverge into the separate lives of Advaita and Nityānanda."

(Added to to the essay "In defense of the Advaita Vaṁśa" pages 4, 19,20 and 21, under linktab 'Articles' on

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