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Monday, June 02, 2008

Phone sanga (19)

Bhakta: "Could the statement vaṁśī priya sakhī  in Brahma Saṁhitā be considered figurative?"

Advaitadas: "Symbolism is not māyāvāda, because even the staunchest anti-Māyāvādī, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī, has given symbolical interpretations of Kṛṣṇa līlā and the Bhāgavata itself openly preaches symbolism here and there. Viśvanātha says that the six sons of Devakī that were killed by Kaṁsa are the six faults lust, anger and greed etc. that need to be killed before one can see Kṛṣṇa. When the gopīs call Kṛṣṇa's flute 'a dead piece of wood' that is certainly figurative, because there is no dead matter in the spiritual sky, which is manifested by the svarūpa śakti's sandhinī śakti in toto. There once was a poor brahmin who got angry with Kṛṣṇa about his poverty and out of protest scrapped the word 'vahāmyahaṁ' from Bhagavad Gītā 9.22, where Kṛṣṇa promises to carry all His devotees' needs. Kṛṣṇa then came to his door disguised as a boy, carrying his needs on his head and the brahmin asked him in astonishment: "Oh dear boy, you have a scratch over your face - who has done this to you?" "You did" the boy said. "No that is impossible because I never saw you before." The boy replied, "I am My word and you scrapped My word." So first believe, then see, not first see and then believe."

Bhakta: (Returning to the point of bhajan being selfish, unlike preaching)

Advaitadas: "To think that doing bhajan is selfish is superimposing social morality and a material conception of what is the self on absolute surrender to the Objective Absolute. bhajataṁ prīti pūrvakam - "They do My bhajan with love" (Gītā 10.10)

Bhakta: "Earlier (May 12) you quoted Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī saying:

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." which seems to be about Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa nāma both and yet you say that the mahā mantra is all about Kṛṣṇa."

Advaitadas: "Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī is writing on different levels - bāhyāveśa and antarāveśa - internal and external level. The mahā-mantra vyākhyā, if indeed it is his, is on the internal level of mañjarī bhāva, and the rādheti verse is on external level. It is actually a verse of discipline, in the mood of Manaḥ Śikṣā, chastising his tongue, that it should taste the nectar of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa's names instead of palatable dishes. It does not refer to the hare kṛṣṇa mahā mantra. Rādhā-nāma is also regularly chanted by Vaiṣṇavas as they customarily address each other with Rādhe Rādhe."

Bhakta: "You said the mañjarīs have no husbands in your lineage, but Narottama Dās Thākur sings yāvaṭe āmāra kobe, e pāṇi grahaṇa hobe, "When will I be married in Yāvat?" (Prarthana - 30)

Advaitadas: "This is optional. Most Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sādhakas get a husband in siddha praṇālī but we in the Advaita Parivāra don't. Check the daily life of a mañjarī - where on earth would she even have a split second time for a husband? This statement of Narottama also needs to be seen in the proper philosophical context - everything is eternal in the spiritual world - there is no birth, death, old age and disease and there is also no marriage. Even those Vaiṣṇavas who do have a husband don't have any mentioning of him in their līlā smaraṇa manuals."

Bhakta: "There is a commentary on Caitanya Caritāmṛta by Rādhikānāth Gosvāmī?"

Advaitadas: "No. That commentator's name is Rādhā-Govinda Nāth, a gṛhastha. Unfortunately his commentary is also less than perfect. He made some errors too, though I wouldn't dismiss it as useless. (See blogs of October 23 and 25, 2005 and November 1, 2005). Rādhikānāth Gosvāmī is another person - though in Advaita Prabhu's lineage, he was controversial because he took red cloth sannyāsa, perhaps thinking it was all right for him as he was a brahmin. Sādhu Bābā was also a brahmin however, and though he never officially took sannyāsa (as far as this is official in our sampradāya anyway) he wore white. In retrospect Rādhikānāth Gosvāmī made some controversial comments on Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta too, like saying that one can ascend to Vaikuṇṭha without a Guru (aguru, verse 4.36). I spontaneously translated his comments 20 years ago without any deep preparation, but in retrospect I am not happy with everything he wrote. There are not many authorities that I trust blindly, only the 6 Gosvāmīs really. Unfortunately I have learned to read the more recent ācāryas' works cautiously. I don't reject any of them out of hand either, all of them have taught brilliant things but they are also shrouded in controversy. Each of their teachings have to be tested according to śāstra and conscience."

Bhakta: "What about Prof. Dimock's commentary? He quotes Rādhā-govinda Nāth a lot in it."

Advaitadas: "It may be of high intellectual quality but a non-devotee, which he essentially is, can never understand the mystical intricacies of bhakti - bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvan yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ (Gītā 18.55) "You can only know Me in truth by bhakti." bhajataṁ prīti pūrvakaṁ dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ (Gītā 10.10) "I give divine intelligence to those who worship Me with love." We are not scientists, but devotees. śāstra is not just read to gain knowledge but also to imbibe the bhakti of the authors and commentators. It's a type of sādhu saṅga."

Bhakta: "How do you judge if someone is not a devotee?"

Advaitadas: "Haribhakti Vilāsa (1.55) says:

gṛhīta-viṣṇu-dīkṣāko viṣṇu-pūjā-paro naraḥ
vaiṣṇavo’bhihito’bhijñair itaro’smād avaiṣṇavaḥ

"The wise call someone who has taken initiation in Viṣṇu mantra and is actively engaged in serving Viṣṇu a Vaiṣṇava. All others are non-Vaiṣṇavas."

Bhakta: "It is said in Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi Kiraṇa that the colour of the sweethearts dresses is fixed. If variety is the spice of life why they always dress the same?"

Advaitadas: "We're not talking of mundane textile here - these are transcendental items of the svarūpa śakti of sandhinī. In the Bhāgavata (12.11.10-23) the apparel of Kṛṣṇa is symbolically interpreted, which proves that they are not just external mundane coverings that are changed according to fashion-trends, like in this profane world. The dress Śrī Guru gives at siddha praṇālī too is also not just textile, since according to Jīva Gosvāmī (Prīti Sandarbha 10) the spiritual body is eternally resident in the spiritual sky. There is only ever-increasing ecstasy there, it is never boring, on the contrary."


  1. sriradhay,
    praphu from few days i am reading your, i find it very helping in solving adyatmik ques.
    I have few I u can solve i will be very grateful.
    I want to knnow can I carry japa mala in market , during travelling.

  2. Bankey Bihari, welcome.
    Please study my blog of January 31, 2007. Sanatan Gosvami is quoted there as saying one should not do japa while walking and talking. Mala can be carried on a journey but japa should be done sitting down at home, not while doing business or chitchatting with people on the street. It is disrespectful to Naam Prabhu.

  3. Dear Advaita,
    I have a question about the very meaning of svarupa. There is a soul inside a material body (somewhere in the heart area, I believe). Does "svarupa" mean the soul's form (which is definitely different from that of the body)? Also there are the spiritual bodies (of those devotees who have attained liberation) in Goloka and Vaikuntha. Is there a difference between the soul and the spiritual body in Goloka or Vaikuntha (like here, in material world)? Or do the "soul" and the "spiritual body" mean the same thing? In other words, is it true that "soul" = "spiritual body" = "svarupa"?

  4. Dear Boris, the soul in the body has the potential for a spiritual body or svarupa. This needs to be activated though by the Guru donating the seed of devotion to that person (guru krishna prasade pay bhakti lata beej), for it to be developed in the fully blown manifest svarupa. In the conditioned state there is no significant ananda in the soul, and so it cannot be identified with the svarupa in the conditioned state.

  5. Thank you. Very nice explanation. I have one more question. Can the soul be developed into only one specific svarupa (for example, the cucumber seed can be grown only into a cucumber, not into a cabbage) and is it already predestinated for every soul? Can the soul choose which svarupa he wants to be grown into?

  6. Boris, if you surf to my blog of August 5, 2006 (see the archives) you will find a very elaborate and fascinating explanation there about the 'origins' of the siddha deha. It is neither created nor imagined.