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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Śukadeva, the cosmos, fall-vāda.

Bhakta: "It is sometimes said that Śukadeva Gosvāmī is originally a parrot of Smt. Rādhārāṇī. Is that true?"

Advaitadas: "Not to my knowledge."

Bhakta: "One says it is mentioned in Jīva Gosvāmī's Gopāl Campu?"

Advaitadas: "I haven't found it there."

Bhakta: "Or perhaps in a commentary on it?"

Advaitadas: "None of the leading acaryas have written a comment on Gopāl Campu. I have one here by Vīracandra Goswāmī, but that is not the son of Nityānanda Prabhu, but some less known person."

Bhakta: Does the verse "aham vedmi śuko vetti, vyāso vetti na vetti vā; bhaktyā bhāgavatam grahyam, na buddhyā na ca ṭīkayā " (''I (Shiva) know the meaning of the Bhāgavata, as does Śuka. Vyāsa may or may not know it. The Bhāgavata is knowable by devotion, not through the brains or the commentaries." indicate anything about Śukadeva being a parrot?"

Advaitadas: "No, not at all. This verse just shows us that the Bhāgavata cannot be understood through the intellect, but by devotion."

Bhakta: "Bhānu Swami has issued a new book on the 5th Canto cosmology, based entirely on the bona fide comments on chapters 16-26 by Śrīdhar Swāmī, Jīva Goswāmī, Viśvanātha Cakravartī etc."

Advaitadas: "That is very interesting, if it contains the original Sanskrit text of these comments."

Bhakta: "It does. It explains that the Vedic model is based on more of an astral dimension of seeing things. That could explain the mystery of Ugrasena's bodyguards and Nanda's cows. It is compared in this book with Parīkṣit, who is said to have had the whole of Jambudvīp under his control, king Pṛthu had the whole bhū-maṇḍala and Dhruva had the whole universe under his control. What they had under their control? The subtle levels. There you find descriptions of 10,000,000 people and so, but that was possible because it was all on the subtle level."

Advaitadas: "Kṛṣṇa's līlā is not subject to laws of material time and space and hence such fantastic figures are easily possible. If even the mind, which is just a subtle material instrument, can conceive of this, then what to speak of the capacity of Kṛṣṇa's transcendental internal potency sandhini, that displays all these divine realms?"

Bhakta: "Someone came with yet another indication from the Bhāgavata (2.5.19) that we fell down from the spiritual world."

Advaitadas: "No, that is again wrong. This is what the ācāryas say about this verse: Jīva Gosvāmī’s Krama Sandarbha ṭīkā of SB 2.5.19 -

kīdṛśam api badhnanti. tatrāha nityadā muktam api. nanv idaṁ viruddham. tatrāha - māyinam iti. māyā’tra māyā-kṛto moha ucyate. sa cānādir iti eveśa-vimukhasya tasya māyā - pāravaśyād eva. tena ca guṇāveśa eva bandha iti. 

“It is said that the living being is eternally liberated, so how can he be bound? How to solve this contradiction? To this is it said 'māyinam - the delusion is caused by māyā'. He is averse to the Lord from beginningless time and subject to māyā, who keeps him bound in the modes.”

Viśvanātha Cakravartī's ṭīkā of SB 2.5.19 says -

pūrvokta-yuktyā bhagavataḥ pṛṣṭhadeśa-sthānāṁ jīvānāṁ pṛṣṭha-deśa-sthayā māyayā svata eva saṅga-sambhavād iti bhāvaḥ. nitya-muktam iti jīvasya yathā anādy-ajñānaṁ tathā anādi-jñānam apy astīti saptamānte vyaktībhaviṣyati -

“According to previously proposed logic, the conditioned souls are situated at the back of the Lord, where māyā is situated, and that association (with māyā) is by itself or naturally (svata eva) so. Their ignorance and knowledge are both beginningless, as will be revealed at the end of the seventh canto.”

 (Viśvanātha himself has repeated this explanation in his comment on SB 3.7.10, where he also stated there is no reason for our conditioning in this world) And that 10% of jīvas have fallen from the spiritual world is completely new to me even - it is even more bizarre, since there is first of all no limit to the number of jīvas (S.B. 10.87.30) so what is 10% of unlimited, and secondly, it is best to first prove that anyone has fallen from the spiritual world at all before coming with percentages. There is of course no evidence for any of this. tasmacchāstraṁ pramāṇaṁ te (Bhagavad Gītā 16.24) - "Therefore one must act according to evidence from the revealed scriptures."


  1. In regards to Goswamipada's comments on SB 2.5.19, is the the living entity eternally liberated yet somehow eternally bound by maya? I'm afraid I still don't understand. Further clarification would be much appreciated! Thanks.

  2. Anon, in this connection Cakravartipada announces saptamAnte vyaktIbhaviSyati "At the end of (or after) the seventh (Canto) it will be revealed." Unfortunately no exact verse number is mentioned so I can't check which verse he refers to. The only thing I can think of is the inconceivable fact that we are eternally in the spiritual sky (vasanti yatra puruSAH, SB 3.15.14) and yet conditioned here from beginningless time (anAdyavidyA, Sb 11.11.4). For this discussion, see my blog of August 5, 2006. My purpose for the time being was to show that the author of that article had no idea about the Acaryas' purports and had just made up his own interpretation of it.

  3. Thank you for your comments. Regarding SB 3.15.14, the English translations that I have (admittedly perhaps not the most accurate) seem to indicate that the verse is referring to associates of the Lord in Vaikuntha, not to conditioned souls in the material world. Am I to understand that as a conditioned soul in this world I am also simultaneously existing eternally in the spiritual realm? Perhaps that's your point. Or, maybe I'm missing something.

  4. Yes that is correct, 3.15.14 is about the Lord's associates in Vaikuntha, of which it is said that they reside (vasanti) there, in present tense, which means, according to the Goswamis, that they are eternally there.

  5. If the verse refers to the Lord's eternal associates in Vaikuntha, how does that relate to conditioned souls being eternally in the spiritual world (suggested in your previous post)? Thanks.

  6. Anon, eternal is eternal. It refers to anyone who is there. Let me quote Krishnadasji from my blog of August 5, 2006:

    The text itself says that mUrtayas tatra vartante, they are there eternally, tAsAm (out of them) ekayA saha (with one) muktasya (of the liberated) ekasya (of the one) mUrtir (body) bhagavatA (by the Lord) kriyate (assign), i.e. the Lord awards one of the bodies that eternally reside in Vaikuntha (in an inactive state) to the liberated one. vaikuNTasya mUrtir iva mUrtir yeSAm, the body that one is given is similar (iva) to that of Lord Vaikuntha. Jiva Goswami wants to explain that one achieves bhagavat-tulyatvam at utkrAnta-mukti (gone forth or out, gone over or beyond , passed , surpassed, trespassing , exceeding - MW) by quoting the Bhagavata verse (3.15.14 vasanti yatra puruSAH) there (utkrAnta-mukti-dazAyAM tu teSAM bhagavat-tulyatvam evAha). There is nothing like that that the spiritual body is created at some time. It is eternal. It is aprAkRta. The fact itself should make it clear that it can't be created. "

    As you see, the word utkrAnta mukti does refer to jivas going there but still they must be considered eternal residents of Vaikuntha since everything is eternal there.

  7. Thank you for the clarification. The additional information helped immensely. Radhe Radhe.