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Monday, May 12, 2008

Phone sanga (17)

Bhakta: "Returning to the Rādhe Rādhe greeting, when Mahāprabhu and His associates cleansed the Guṇḍicā Temple, they were saying "Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa!" with everything they did."

Advaitadas: "Yes that is fine, there is nothing wrong with that. It is not written anywhere in the Gosvāmīs books that we must greet each other with Rādhe Rādhe or Hare Kṛṣṇa for that matter. Shaving the heads or growing long hair, this is not settled in śāstras, nor is the custom of Vaiṣṇavas to live in three holy places - Purī, Navadvīp and Braja. The Gosvāmīs simply say Braja, they never mention Purī or Navadvīp. Not that there is anything wrong in living in these places. śāstra is mute about a lot of issues."

Bhakta: "On the other hand sometimes you hear endless Rādhe Rādhe kīrtans."

Advaitadas: Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī said:

rādheti nāma nava sundara sīdhu mugdha
kṛṣṇeti nāma madhurādbhuta gāḍha dugdha

"Rādhā, that name is like fresh sweet nectar and Kṛṣṇa, that name is like sweet astonishing condensed milk." Narottam Dās Ṭhākur sings:

jaya rādhe jaya kṛṣṇa, jaya jaya rādhe kṛṣṇa,

kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa jaya jaya rādhe.

Both Rādha nāma and Kṛṣṇa nāma are there. There are many glorifications of Rādhā nāma kīrtan in Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi. Sādhu Bābā told me all the goodies from that book: One morning he came out of his kuṭir and told us: "Just clapping your hands and saying Rādhe Rādhe accomplishes your whole bhajan." I later found that in Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi (144) - rādhā nāmaiva kāryaṁ hyanudina militaṁ sādhanādhīśa koṭis tyajya. Anyway, that is one level. When you are preaching to people on the street and introduce them to harinām kīrtan it is better to wait with Rādhā nāma, lest outsiders misunderstand. Sanātan Gosvāmī says that harinām saṅkīrtan is for your own benefit and for that of others. You can think of that sublime explanation of Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī wherever you chant."

Bhakta: "Rādhā is called sakhī praṇayitā vaśā, She is controlled by the love of Her sakhīs. Can you give some example?"

Advaitadas: "After She has enjoyed with Kṛṣṇa at Rādhākuṇḍa She feels sorry that Her girlfriends are alone in their kuñjas so She urges Kṛṣṇa to go to them, and He expands Himself eight-fold to go to each of them."

Bhakta: "In the previous sanga you said that eating prasād is service - does that mean we should not relish the taste of the prasād?"

Advaitadas: "No. In Caitanya Caritāmṛta (Antya 16.106-149) it is elaborately described how Śrīman Mahāprabhu relished the taste of prasād. He said that although the ingredients were material, the taste and fragrance had become divine due to having been touched by Kṛṣṇa's lips. Much of it can be read in the purport of Vilāpa Kusumāñjali's verse 49, which deals with the same subject. All devotional service is relishable anyway. Dāruk cursed his ecstasy while he fanned Kṛṣṇa only because it obstructed his service, but relish of bhakti is not condemned at all - the very name of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu says so - 'the ocean of nectar of the taste of devotion." Regarding food, please see my blog of June 6, 2006. Actually, it is even disrespectful not to relish prasād. It needs to be relished with devotional greed, however, not material greed."

Bhakta: "In aṣṭakāliya līlā it is described how Mother Yaśodā wishes Rādhikā to get married to Kṛṣṇa (and even sends presents along with Her to Jaṭilā for that purpose), but how is that possible since Rādhikā is already married to Abhimanyu?"

Advaitadas: "Love is blind. She knows that, but still she is hoping against hope. Wishful thinking. When your child is totally dumb out of love you hope he/she will go to college, though practically that is totally impossible."

Bhakta: "Kṛṣṇa initiates the gopīs into Kāma Gāyatrī. Did He actually become their Guru then?"

Advaitadas: "This is a poetic metaphor. Initiating in Kāma-gayatrī generally means that you are creating lusty desires in the opposite sex. Apart from that, since the spiritual sky is timeless, nobody has ever really taken dīkṣā from anybody."

Bhakta: "There are also accounts of either the sakhīs or the mañjarīs bathing Rādharāṇī. I thought the sakhīs were excluded from that?"

Advaitadas: "There are different angles. The aṣṭakāliya līlā which describes the sakhīs bathing Rādharāṇī,  is more generic and objective, while the typical mañjarī bhāva paddhatīs like Vilāpa Kusumāñjali, are really specialised and focused on mañjarī bhāva."


  1. Radhe Radhe!

    On the topic of the divine nature of prasad, how do we understand this in light of the fact that prasadam apparently decays like ordinary food? If it is simply our attitude towards it that makes it divine, then eulogizing its divinity would be exaggeration. Thanks in advance for your thoughts on the matter.

  2. Anon, Mahaprabhu said in the relevant chapter of Caitanya Caritamrita (Antya 16.108) ei sab hoy prakrita drabya; aiksava karpura marica, elaici labanga gabya "These are all material ingredients - cane-sugar, camphor, black pepper, cardamom, cloves and dairy." prAkRta vastura svAda sabAra anubhava 'The material relish of these substances are relishable by everyone'. (verse 109). So how is it divine? tAte ei drabye kRSNAdhara sparsa hoilo; adharera guNa sab ihAte sancArilo 'All these ingredients have been touched by Krishna's lips, so the qualities of His lips have become infused in it."
    If it were mere faith that would give prasAd its magical potency, then why would prasAd be distributed to non-devotees each day? When I was a novice in Amsterdam my mother came to visit me and took prasad. On the way back home she drove her car down the speedway and felt that she was taking off like in an airplane! And she had no faith in the prasad...