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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gaur Nāgarī, public Abhiṣekh, brahmacāriṇīs and dhṛti

Bhakta: “A prominent bhakta is saying that there is really a line of Gaura Nāgarī bhāva, coming from Mahāprabhu's associate, (forgot his name ..) that has practised and is still practicing it.”

Advaitadas: “These associates are Locandās and Narahari Sarakāra. The point is, Murāri Gupta worshipped Rām and Nṛsiṁhānanda Brahmacārī worshipped Nṛsiṁha and these are also associates of Mahāprabhu. But these are exceptions. We are to follow the authorized ācāryas ourselves - the 6 Gosvāmīs, and they have not prescribed any of all of this. The ācāryas, both then and now, are giving mañjarī bhāva.”

Bhakta: “In the abhiṣek in India everybody can take part?”

Advaitadas: “No, I have never seen this anywhere in India. It is done by the pūjārīs. You see, in Iskcon everyone can take part - menstruating women, people who passed stool in cotton clothes, who wore the same clothes for a week or more, or people who did not shower at all. If I ever have a public abhiṣek I would never allow anyone to shower Giridhārī. In Sādhu Bābā’s āshram its also done just by the pūjārīs.”

Bhakta: “Yes, after seeing your arguments I agree, though at that time I saw it as a mercy.”

Advaitadas: “Mercy comes in the form of harinām; everyone can take part in kīrtan. Not in arcanā. What is the use of vetting pūjārīs on sadācāra and 'brahminical qualifications' then if you allow all dirty bums to shower Kṛṣṇa with (contaminated by) stool and menstrual blood on His own birthday even?”

Bhakta: “You say the mañjarīs have no intimate relationship with Kṛṣṇa but we do find statements in Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta, Govinda Līlāmṛta and Muktā Carita that hint at it or even openly describe it.”

Advaitadas: “rasika līlā-matters are subjective, tattva is objective. In other words, if your Guru teaches that the mañjarī is not married and is an all-round brahmacārinī, also not enjoying with Kṛṣṇa, then that is your svarūpa. If other ācāryas say you are married and/or enjoy with Kṛṣṇa, then that is your svarūpa. But tattva is objective. Its not that one Guru’s teaching that the living entities fall down from the spiritual world is true and another Guru’s teaching that we were always here is also true.”

Bhakta: “Nāndīmukhī is called brahmacārinī in the Muktā Caritra (428), but she asks Kṛṣṇa about amorous details. How is that?”

Advaitadas: “That’s nothing. mañjarīs are eternal brahmacārinīs and they have the most intimate access to Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. Speaking of brahmacārinīs,  for long I wondered whether this term was actually Vedic. I only accepted it as such when I first read this verse. I was under the impression that it is not Vedic for a girl to remain single and that they should all be married in time for their own protection, but when I took dīkṣā from my Guru I found that he encouraged his female disciples also to remain single and take jobs as teachers, nurses etc.”

Bhakta: “In the Bhāgavata (10.45.60) Rukmiṇī seems to preach to women not to accept a man whose body is filled with puss, stool, urine and covered with hair everywhere as a husband but simply to worship Kṛṣṇa. That is preaching to girls to remain brahmacārinīs.”

Advaitadas: ‘bālasya neha śaraṇaṁ pitarau nṛsiṁha (SB 7.9.19) – The parents cannot protect their child, tvad upekṣitānām – if it is neglected by You.” Similarly a woman cannot really be protected by her husband, if God decides otherwise.

Bhakta: “Previously (blog of June 2, 2008) you objected against compulsory Nṛsiṁha worship because Nṛsimha is such an aiśvarya deity, but Nanda Mahārāja loved the Nārāyan-deity too.”

Advaitadas: “Nanda Mahārāj only loves Kṛṣṇa. People in Vraja are formally worshipping Sūryadeva (Rādhā’s family) Durgā (Candrāvalī’s family) or Nārāyan (Kṛṣṇa’s family) but that is only a backdrop for the greatest love for Kṛṣṇa that the Vrajavāsīs posses. Who of them cares for Nārāyan?”

Bhakta: “If they don’t care for Nārāyan why they worship Him at all?”

Advaitadas: “Kṛṣṇa wont want to live in a paradise full of atheists. And He can also not live in a paradise where He Himself is God – so the solution is that devatās are worshipped in His environment. Everybody in Vraja has their kuladeva, their traditional family-deity.”

Bhakta: “So they worship Nārāyan to go to the abode of Nārāyan in the next life. They think like that?”

Advaitadas: “Most Indian families are not really hankering for this to be their last birth in the material world. They are mostly interested in their relatives and their family deity is another thing. Nanda Mahārāja is like that too, in the līlā of course. Once Nārada Muni approached Nanda Mahārāja and told him: “Why don’t you renounce household life – it is all māyā.” Nanda Mahārāja replied: “Oh sādhu, I am totally happy in this household life – I have Kṛṣṇa as my son. What more would I want?” This is called dhṛti, contentness.”

*

This will be the last blog from Holland for now, I am flying to Delhi tomorrow, though I am suffering from complications of ear infections. Everyone keep their fingers crossed – I will take painkillers for the take-off and landing (ear-pressure).

15 comments:

  1. Regarding public abhishek in the West held at Iskcon centers around the world, to be accurate in this matter, it is important to note that the
    great majority of attendees to these public bathing ceremonies, where in fact the bathing may cost one $500US dollars or more for a few moments of bathing Thakurji, is carried out by Indians immigrants in the West. Very, very, and I insist, very few Westerners proportionally take part in these bathings. In fact, the few native westerners visitors who come to these events tend to be appalled by the ease with which Indians are accomplice to this commerce carried out by Iskcon.

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  2. 'Around the world' may be just your region or your country (the USA I presume). I havent been all over the world to see this going on, but at least in Holland it is going on the way I described it in the blog. No one is charged any money. So financially the Amsterdam-bhaktas may be cleaner in that respect, but the uncleanliness in sadAcAra is still there instead.

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  3. "Speaking of brahmacarinis, for long I wondered whether this term was actually VEDIC. I only accepted it as such when I first read this verse. I was under the impression that it is not VEDIC for a girl to remain single and that they should all be married in time for their own protection, but when I took diksa from my Guru I found that he encouraged his female disciples also to remain single and take jobs as teachers, nurses etc.”

    Just wondering, why would a raganuga sadhak be concerned over whether something is "vedic" or not?

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  4. The point is, paying or not, is is the Indians living in the West the ones neglecting their own tradition of cleanliness in arcana - it is not a Western thing alone.

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  5. Just wondering, why would a raganuga sadhak be concerned over whether something is "vedic" or not?

    I have no time to elaborately answer this, but I suggest you learn raganuga tattva from the right source, like Visvanatha Cakravarti's Raga Vartma Candrika. Particularly the end verse of that booklet will show you that raganuga is not anarchism or hippyism.

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  6. The point is, paying or not, is is the Indians living in the West the ones neglecting their own tradition of cleanliness in arcana - it is not a Western thing alone.

    1. I never said anything about Western/Indian in that paragraph.
    2. Indian expats in the west are not Indians in the real sense of the word anymore.

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  7. "I have no time to elaborately answer this, but I suggest you learn raganuga tattva from the right source, like Visvanatha Cakravarti's Raga Vartma Candrika. Particularly the end verse of that booklet will show you that raganuga is not anarchism or hippyism."

    What does a woman being married or single have to do with either "anarchism" or "hippyism", or raganuga bhakti?

    I really don't get your point here.

    And, is raganuga bhakti "vedic"?

    I had asked you a question and you came back to me with an advice to read a book which I have already read several times and offered up two terms "anarchism" and "hippyism", neither of which were part of my question.

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  8. I'm afraid you're quite wrong about ISKCON allowing abhishek to be done by all and sundry.

    It is wellknown that abhisheks are carried out by pujaris alone, who are educated well enough to know that they shouldn't do it if they are menstruating (females) or wearing dirty clothes (both genders). So yes, in ISKCON it is done only by the pujaris.

    The sole occasion on which members of the public may take part in abhishek is during Snana-yatra. Here also, this is usually done by regular congregational members who are educated about sadachara standards enough to know the importance of the occasion, although it is possible that proper public members may take part also. Of course it is impossible to guarantee a perfect standard of cleanliness and it is left upto the conscience of the individual. Generally speaking, most people are educated enough about the standards. Especially those from the Indian community.

    It might be better for you to restrict your sweeping generalisations to ISKCON Holland rather than glibly talking of ISKCON worldwide.

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  9. i think Adwaita is totally correct in his observations. Iskcon not only charges people to do the abhishek on the hoildays, but they allow people from off the streets to do it.
    It is true some Indians have low standards of cleanliness for archana, but they do anyway, because they have been awarded special status.

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  10. It might be better for you to restrict your sweeping generalisations to ISKCON Holland rather than glibly talking of ISKCON worldwide.

    The question on the public abhisekha was not asked by a Dutch devotee but by one from Latin America, so it's not exclusively an Amsterdam phenomenon. Anon, have you been to all 108 Iskcon centers around the world?

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  11. What does a woman being married or single have to do with either "anarchism" or "hippyism", or raganuga bhakti?

    That was your question, not mine.

    I really don't get your point here.

    The point is, from your initial question I got the impression you think a raganuga bhakta should not read shastra, should not have any interest in anything but Radha-Krishna vilasa, etc. That is not the case, that is why I gave the hippy/anarchist answer.

    And, is raganuga bhakti "vedic"?

    That question is already included in the above answer.

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  12. I don't need to have been to all ISKCON temples in the world. By the way, there are more than 108 since 1977.

    My comment was based on your remark that you haven't seen it going on anywhere except in Holland, hence my comment that you should restrict your observations to your local temple instead of speaking of the whole organisation. It may go on freely in Latin America where they may not be educated well enough or maybe they are just allowing the public to gain an opportunity of "mercy", that still doesn't change my general point about generalising throughout the whole organisation.

    By the way, I forgot to mention that Snana-yatra is very often an early-morning ceremony usually held between 8am-9am. Therefore it is very likely that the ceremony will be attended by committed congregational members who are educated well enough about sadachara to participate properly. I'm not anonymous, my name is Solvent.

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  13. It appears to me that raganuga bhakti is Vedic - Jiva Goswami says in Tattva Sandarbha the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya is based on the Vedas and the Bhagavat, which is sarva vedanta sara. GV has 2 flavours - raganuga and vaidhi, thus raganuga is Vedic. The verses dismissing the Vedas (BG 2.45 18.66, manah siksa 2 etc.) refer to karma-kanda, which should be renounced by vaidhi bhaktas too.

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  14. 1. I never said anything about Western/Indian in that paragraph.
    2. Indian expats in the west are not Indians in the real sense of the word anymore.


    1. What paragraph are you talking about? In your reply to Bhakta you did speak about public abhisekha in India and in the West by Iskcon. What you din not mention was that in Iskcon in the west, it is still the Indians immigrants who foment these deviations.

    2. Why are Indian expats in the west not Indians in the real sense anymore? Because of leaving Indian soil?

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  15. 1. What paragraph are you talking about? In your reply to Bhakta you did speak about public abhisekha in India and in the West by Iskcon.

    I said clearly in the blog that I never saw a public abhisekh anywhere in India. Check it out.

    2. Why are Indian expats in the west not Indians in the real sense anymore? Because of leaving Indian soil?

    Leaving Indian soil means leaving Indian life. I made a general statement here, of the millions of Indian expats there may be lacs who live a decent life, but most Indian expats go through a catharsis when they go west and behave even worse than their western neighbors. Any sadacari expat can of course ignore this comment of mine - it does not apply to them.

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