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Monday, June 09, 2008

Phone Sanga (20)

Bhakta: "Is there anything in śāstra about how Vaiṣṇavas should greet each other?"

Advaitadas: "No. Neither haribol nor Jay Rādhe are mentioned in Gaura līlā śāstras. It is open, though most devotees say Rādhe Rādhe or Jay Rādhe."

Bhakta: "Returning to the topic of Dimock, he is not considered a devotee because he had not associated with Vaiṣṇavas...."

Advaitadas: "No I didn't say that. Surely he associated with Vaiṣṇavas, but your parents have also associated with you for the 30 years you have been a devotee and they never became devotees themselves. Although sādhu sanga works wonders, it does not automatically convert everybody."

Bhakta: 'He may not be initiated but he may still be a devotee. Some people may be initiated but do not have so much devotion. How can you tell?"

Advaitadas: "I have already shown from śāstra (in the previous blog) that a Vaiṣṇava is someone who is initiated and actively engaged in Lord Viṣṇu's worship, and that all others are non-devotees. It is true that many initiated devotees have become non-devotional, but at one point in their life they had so much devotion that they took dīkṣā, which is an act of surrender - dīkṣā kāle bhakta kore ātma samarpan (CC Antya 4). One of the persons who comes to Kṛṣṇa is the curious (B.Gita 7.16, jijñāsu). That is typically a westerner, who doesn't know anything about Vedic religion. They go very deeply into this, studying all the śāstras, but when their curiosity is satisfied they leave. Others are distressed (ārta) because of some broken love affair, and take to celibacy, but when their heartache is over they leave too. In the process they may have taken initiation and are thus marked devotees. Some surrender was there. There is a difference between an initiated and non-initiated devotee. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī says: kṛṣṇeti yasya giri taṁ manasādriyeta "Mentally honour those who say Kṛṣṇa" (non-initiated bystanders and sympathisers), dīkṣāsti cet praṇatibhiḥ "but when there is dīkṣā you must offer full obeisances." (Upadeśāmṛta) That is the difference between the sympathising bystander and someone who took dīkṣā.  In India an initiated devotee is called āśrita, a person who took shelter. All glories to them (dīkṣāsti cet praṇatibhiḥ)!"

Bhakta: "In the previous phone sanga you mentioned the hyperboles and figurative statements in the Bhāgavata. Where can we read about it?"

Advaitadas: "Unfortunately at this stage there is not much about this in English yet, but look at this in Jīva Gosvami's Bhagavat Sandarbha (109):

yathā ca siṁho devadatta ity atra gauṇyā vṛttyā śaurya-guṇa-yukte devadatte siṁha-śabdaḥ pravartate. yathā ca gaṇgāyāṁ ghoṣa ity atra-lakṣaṇayā vṛttyā gaṇgā-śabdas tasminn ity asambandhe taṭe pravartate 

"siṁho devadatta (lion Devadatta) does not mean that he literally is a lion, but that he is (a human being) endowed with the quality of (lion-like) heroism. Similarly, though 'gaṅgāyāṁ ghoṣaḥ' literally means 'a village in the Ganga' it of course means 'a village on the bank of the Ganges'.

Bhakta: "Is there an injunction that one must chant one's 64 rounds in the morning?"

Advaitadas: "No. nāmnāmakāri bahudha nija sarva śaktis tatrārpita niyamita smaraṇe na kāla "All divine energy is there in the name and there is no rule on the time for chanting it. Some devotees have early morning or late night shifts and they cannot chant in the morning, so they have no choice but to chant on other times. The morning is good because the mind and body are fresh and so the mode of goodness reigns. The name is always great, though, also in the evening because then it dispels the predominant mode of ignorance (fatigue)."

Bhakta: "I was surprised that in Nikuñja Keli Virudāvali, Viśvanāth Cakravartī is praising Kṛṣṇa only, while, as a mañjarī, he should be just into Rādhārāṇī."

Advaitadas: "All ācāryas, even those who were fervently into mañjarī bhāva, like Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī and Viśvanāth Cakravartī, have done their fair share of praising Kṛṣṇa as well. Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī also wrote Madan-gopāl Stotram, Gopal-rāja Stotram, Vraja Vilāsa Stava, Prayers to Mt. Govardhan etc. etc. No ācārya has written exclusively about Smt. Rādhārāṇī."

Bhakta: "We have discussed before that sthāyi-bhāva cannot be changed, yet in Caitanya Caritāmṛta we see that even Satyabhāmā covets the fortune of the gopīs."

Advaitadas: "The women of Mathurā praise the gopīs in Śrīmad Bhāgavat 10.44.14-16, and the queens of Dvaraka do so too in Śrīmad Bhāgavat 10.83.43. The fact that they know about the gopīs' glories does not mean that they actually can enter into gopī-bhāva, however. Look at Śrīmad Bhāgavat 10.16.36, where it is described that Lakṣmī could never attain Kṛṣṇa's feet, even after eternal penance! nāyaṁ sriyo'nga u nitanta rateḥ prasādaḥ (Śrīmad Bhāgavat 10.47.60) If ever a person is seen to graduate from aiśvarya to mādhurya, from vaidhi to rāga, then it must be understood that the latter, not the former, was his sthāyi-bhāva. For instance, in his ṭīkā to Śrīmad Bhāgavat 10.83.43, Viśvanāth Cakravartī says that the 8 principal queens could not be swayed from their (Dwārakā-) feelings towards Kṛṣṇa, but secondary queens were later kidnapped by Kṛṣṇa and taken to Gokula."

Bhakta: In Nikuñja Keli Virudāvali, (29) it is said that Kṛṣṇa bites Rādhā's lips and then drinks the nectar and sprinkles it on Her. Is that blood?"

Advaitadas: "Hahaha, no - Kṛṣṇa is not a vampire. That is horrid, and horror in relation to Kṛṣṇa is rejected as jugupsa rati, the secondary rasa of disgust. saptamyās tu rater vasāt (Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 2.5.41) - Jugupsa does not apply to Kṛṣṇa, most specially within madhura rasa. Otherwise, biting is a common item of Vedic lovemaking (see Kāma-sūtra). In retrospect these things like sprinkling are not mentioned in the Sanskrit of Nikuñja Keli Virudāvali 29. I must have taken this interpretation from the Bengali translation."

Bhakta: "Speaking of jugupsa, do the gopīs have hair under their armpits?"

Advaitadas: "It looks bad, and I have never read of a mañjarī service of shaving Rādhā's armpits."

Bhakta: "One Vaiṣṇava organization claims that Vaikuṇṭha will ultimately be folded and everyone will ultimately get into mañjarī bhāva."

Advaitadas: "That would be wholly contrary to the principle of sthāyi-bhāva. Besides, there is not a shred of evidence for that theory. Vaikuṇṭha is eternal and eternal means eternal. sthāyi-bhāva means permanent emotion, and permanent means permanent. Can you imagine, not only countless jīvas would transfer to Goloka, but Lord Nārāyan would cease to exist altogether? That is crazy. When Jīva Gosvāmī speaks of the eternality of the spiritual sky in Prīti Sandarbha (10) he specifically quotes a verse from Śrīmad Bhāgavat (3.15.14) that describes Vaikuṇṭha. vaikuṇṭhasya bhagavato jyotir-aṁśa-bhūtā vaikuṇṭha-loka-śobhā-rūpā yā anantā mūrtayas tatra vartante.

Bhakta: "But everybody will want the highest thing..."

Advaitadas: "That is subjective. Everyone thinks they have the highest relationship with God anyway and is satisfied with that. With such logic the cowherd boys and Nanda-Yaśodā would also go extinct, or what? You must understand things with śāstra (scripture) and yukti (common sense) and such theories have neither. Also the idea that there will be no Kalki avatāra after Mahāprabhu's yuga is nowhere in śāstra, like Laghu Bhāgavatāmṛta, and not even in the Caitanya-śāstras."

Bhakta: "(In connection with this) I read that Śrīmad Bhāgavat is not written for this kalpa."

Advaitadas: "That is absurd. The Śrīmad Bhāgavat we are reading is meant for people of this Kali-yuga, not for another yuga - kalau naṣṭa dṛśam eṣā purāṇārko'dhunodita (Śrīmad Bhāgavat 1.3.43). Can you imagine we are reading a Śrīmad Bhāgavat for the wrong kalpa?"

Bhakta: "But other Purāṇas are spoken for or in other kalpas."

Advaitadas: "Let it be. śāstraṁ bhāgavataṁ pramāṇam amalam - śrī caitanya mahāprabhor matam idam - Mahāprabhu has said that the Śrīmad Bhāgavat is the spotless authority."


  1. I was under the impression Dimock was initiated in Vallabhacarya's "pusti sampradaya." Anyone know for sure?

  2. So then, if not Dimock and other scholars, whose translations would you recommend for vaishnavas who do not read bengali and sanskrit?

  3. Habermann's good, Bhanu Swami (that includes all his work that was published under the name of Mahanidhi Swami), OBL Kapoor (there are some historical and philosophical inaccuracies there though) Satyanarayan Prabhu, there is a new translator for Ananta das Babaji, Madhumati, she publishes her translations for free on their website, you might appreciate yours truly's works too. The Gita Press Bhagavata is OK, though they are admittedly not Gaudiyas and Dasharath Suta's work is OK though a bit emotionally embellished here and there. Others, like Kushakratha and Bhumipati, really make/made too many mistakes to recommend for safe reading.