Follow by Email

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Satyanārāyan Dāsji on work and yukta-vairāgya

Jiva Institute, Vṛndāvana, October 1, 2008 -

Advaitadas: (Referring to the 'Work and family' debate of August 22):
"Sanātan Goswāmī says in Haribhakti Vilāsa that the anus and genitals cannot be used in Kṛṣṇa's service."

Satyanarayan Das: "If I don't pass stool I will suffer and that hampers my devotional service. The genitals can be used to make Vaiṣṇava children. If they don't become devotees that is not your fault if you did your best to train them. It is the attitude that counts. After all, Kṛṣṇa said dharmāviruddha bhūteṣu kāmo'smi (Bhagavad Gītā 7.11) ' I am desire in those beings who do not contradict virtue'. There are 4 types of bhakti - transcendental, sāttvika, rājasik and tāmasik. The activity is the same, however. They do pūjā but one does it for Kṛṣṇa's pleasure, one for purification, one for fame followers and money and one to destroy somebody. It is the attitude that counts."

He then confirms Brajabhūṣaṇa's opinion on uttama
bhakti. He adds to it, when I speak of asat saṅga on the work-floor: "Mahāprabhu gave the example of the para-vyasaninī nārī, the adulterous woman who lives with her husband (job, family) but whose mind is always fixed on her lover (Kṛṣṇa)."
He furthermore thinks it is great if one can have honest money without having to work for it (as I had almost all my life) - Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas have no duty to work, just to bhajan.

Advaitadas: Rūpa Goswāmī has rejected deliberate (dry) renunciation in favor of practical (yukta) renunciation (Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.255-256) Why then we see deliberate acts of renunciation in the Goswāmīs' lives, like Sanātan Goswāmī swapping his expensive quilt for the beggar's rag?"

Satyanārāyan Dāsji: "Vairāgya was in high esteem in India in those days, as a vital part of jñāna-mārga, which was prominent before bhakti was. Such deliberate acts of vairāgya by the Goswāmīs were examples for the social and public image of our sampradāya. Lord Caitanya Himself gave that example by taking sannyāsa. Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī's drinking of a little buttermilk at Rādhākund was not deliberate vairāgya - he felt such joy from his bhajan that he just lost interest in eating and sleeping. The Bhāgavata (1.2.7) says vairāgya occurs naturally, as a result of bhakti - jānayātyāśu vairāgyaṁ."

(Adwaitadas comment: Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī's progressive practise of vairāgya in Puri led him from deliberate vairāgya to yukta vairāgya - instead of begging at the Simha Dwār, speculating about who would give alms or not, he saved time for hearing and chanting by eating at the charity booth instead.)

Advaitadas: ' I broke Ekadaśī last week out of ignorance. Should I atone by doing the Nirjalā-vow next June?"

Satyanārāyan Dāsji: " I would just apologize for the breach, that's all"
(Note: Nirañjan Bābu said verbatim the same to me).

Adwaitadas: " But it is mentioned in Haribhakti Vilāsa"

Satyanārāyan Dāsji: " There are 1000s of rules there. We must accept the gist of them from the Guru." 
He then tells me that Haribhakti Vilāsa is not a book for or by smārtas, as is sometimes claimed: "Why would it be? There are already so many Smṛti śāstras anyway. In his Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu ṭīkā (1.2.296) Viśvanātha Cakravartī also rejects so many rules."

Adwaitadas: " Though jugupsa rasa is rejected by Rūpa Goswāmī in relation to Kṛṣṇa, we see descriptions of Mahāprabhu's saliva and nose-fluid flowing out of His mouth (Caitanya Bhāgavat), Tulasī Mañjarī cleaning Rādhārāṇīi's toilet with her hair (Vilāp kusumāñjali 18), or jokes about Kundalatā's menstruation (Govinda Līlāmṛta)."

Satyanārāyan Dāsji: " It is a material vision that makes it jugupsa (repulsive) for you, but look at Ṛṣabh-dev's carita: He rolled in his own stool, but it is described (SB 5th Canto) that his stool smelled deliciously, in a radius of miles around."

Satyanārāyan Dāsji concludes by saying: ' We translate the word 'dāsa' as ' servant' but actually it means 'slave' - we are sold out to Guru and can no more act otherwise."

29 comments:

  1. Meanwhile I also had a phone sanga with Tapan Da: When I ask Tapan Da about one having to do Nirjal Ekadashi after breaking Ekadashi he says it is not necessary. Doing a little extra harinam is the best atonement. Doing puja after pAran was not a problem either. This was being done in Baba's time too. He said Baba's virahotsava will be celebrated on 17-18 october. I apologize for not being able to come due to my poor health.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have a serious question even though to some it may sound silly. What is Satyanarayan Dasa' take on the dinosaurs? Did they exist? If so when and how does that reconcile with the Bhagavatam? Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. "He furthermore thinks it is great if one can have honest money without having to work for it (as I had almost all my life) - Gaudiya Vaishnavas have no duty to work, just to bhajan."

    How can one have "honest" money without working for it? Money gained from work IS honest money!

    Otherwise it is simply leeching off the state.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "There are 4 types of bhakti - transcendental, sattvika, rajasik and tamasik. The activity is the same, however. They do puja but one does it for Krishna's pleasure, one for purification, one for fame followers and money and one to destroy somebody."

    Is there a verse or a commentary that explains this?

    ReplyDelete
  5. "There are 4 types of bhakti - transcendental, sattvika, rajasik and tamasik. The activity is the same, however. They do puja but one does it for Krishna's pleasure, one for purification, one for fame followers and money and one to destroy somebody."

    Is there a verse or a commentary that explains this?


    SB 3.29.7-12

    ReplyDelete
  6. How can one have "honest" money without working for it? Money gained from work IS honest money!
    Otherwise it is simply leeching off the state.


    I did not refer to welfare money, there are other types of honest money too, like an inheritance for instance. By the way, in most countries welfare money has conditions attached. If one meets the conditions I believe it to be honest money. Besides, not all work is honest work either - there are so many swindlers and criminals who work hard, too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What is Satyanarayan Dasa' take on the dinosaurs? Did they exist? If so when and how does that reconcile with the Bhagavatam?

    I have no idea, you must ask him yourself, but if you check my blogs of mid-February, 2006, he does briefly speak of science vs Bhagavata there.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Gaudiya Vaishnavas have no duty to work, just to bhajan."

    No duty to work? And who will support them? This sounds like parasitism.

    ReplyDelete
  9. No duty to work? And who will support them? This sounds like parasitism.

    Anon, I dont know if you are the same one as the 'leeching' anon, but consider whether you are not blaspheming A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, BV Narayan Maharaj, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, Gaurakishor Das Babaji, Rupa Goswami, Jiva Goswami, Sanatan Goswami, Raghunatha Das Goswami etc. etc.
    Did they do 9-5 jobs?
    Perhaps you should look beyond human social morality and peruse Bhagavad-Gita 9.22.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Advaitadas all those people you cited worked for a living at some point in their lives, or were supported by family as was the case of Ragunatha Das Gosvami. Their changing to exclusive bhajan later in life was NEVER subsided by government pensions. Besides, these personalities are exceptional cases. They took to formal renunciation, which is not the case with every single Gaudiya Vaishnava. Householders, or those who do not take vows of renunciation, are actually advised to work for a living. Yes, 9-5 jobs, stock trade at home, cottage industry business, self-employment, whatever does not comprise someone else working for you, yes, that type of honest work. It is called honest precisely because the worker does not impose on another jiva(s) the burden of supplying for his personal MATERIAL needs.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anon,
    1. The level does not matter - sadhaka, siddha or nitya siddha. Krishna does not mention nitya siddhas as sole recipients of His yoga-ksema.
    2. Jiva Goswami never worked 9-5.
    3. Whether they had jobs or not, the fact is that they gave them up to dedicate their days to Krishna.
    4. As for grihasthas having to work, what about Vyasa? What about Ramananda Ray? Prataparudra put him on welfare personally + his whole family - hewas a grihastha.

    ReplyDelete
  12. 1. I did not say anything about 'level' or sadhaka, sidha or nitya sidha, so I don't know why you are mentioning this. I said the renounced order is allowed to be supplied for by the rest of the society.

    2. You don't know enough of Jiva Goswami to make an absolute statement about him like you do here, but there is enough indication that prior to meeting Caitanya Mahaprabhu Jiva Gosvami did function in society like any other worker.

    3. Indeed, what about Vyasa, he is none other than Krishna. Ramananda Ray was a king in the South, which is also a job, and when Prataparudra provided for him and his family in Puri, that was due to Ramananda spiritual contribution (according to the king) to the community.

    So the conclusion remains, apart from the genuine renounced, no one is to live at the expense of others' works, unless one is a spiritual guide at the level (since you want to talk about level) of Jiva Gosvami, Ramananda Ray or Vyasadev. Yes indeed one should have the decency to work for his own material living.

    ReplyDelete
  13. 1. You claim that grihasthas must work to make a living. I say, without getting a chance to purify oneself with sravanam-kirtanam how can you even become renounced?
    2. How do you know how much I know of Jiva Goswami? He came to Vraja in his late teens after studying shastra in Benares and never held a job in his life.
    3. Ram Ray did not please the community, but he pleased Mahaprabhu only, with Swarup Damodar.
    4. When Krishna spoke Bhagavad Gita 9.22, He used the words ye janAH, which means anyone, not just the advanced devotees or the renounced ones.
    5. Please prove from shastra that the first and foremost duty of the Vaishnava is doing 9-5.

    ReplyDelete
  14. 1. One can hear and chant AND work. What is the difficulty? Kolavech Sridhar did it, Bhaktivinod Thakur did it, Kunjabhihari Das Babaji Maharaja did it.

    2. Unless you know something of Jiva Gosvami which no else currently knows, then you know whatever is assumed in Gaudiya circles which is that Jiva was assisted by his family in childhood and by his uncles while going into adulthood in Vraja.

    3. I didn't say Ramananda Ray "pleased" the community. I said he "served" the community.

    4. I didn't say anything about "first and foremost" duty. I didn't say anything about "doing 9-5" either. Those are your words. I said it is recommended in this tradition that vaisnavas work according to their position in society and stage in spirituality. See Bhagavad-gita 3.8, 3.25, 3.28, 3.35 for samples.

    Gita 3.20 was clearly the case of Prataparudra and his protege Ramananda Ray.

    Gita 3.17 and 3.18 are for the self-realized, which is not the case of most of us.


    (Advaita, I can't believe you actually advise people to live off of welfare. If it happened to you, that may be, but to try and twist that that is the way of vaisnavas is just wrong.)

    ReplyDelete
  15. 1. One can hear and chant AND work. What is the difficulty? Kolavech Sridhar did it, Bhaktivinod Thakur did it, Kunjabhihari Das Babaji Maharaja did it.

    I never said there's anything wrong with working. But I return the compliment to you that Sridhar and (according to IGM) BVT are nitya siddhas and should not be imitated. That's not my opinion, though, because I do do believe there is an example for us in their carita.

    2. Unless you know something of Jiva Gosvami which no else currently knows, then you know whatever is assumed in Gaudiya circles which is that Jiva was assisted by his family in childhood and by his uncles while going into adulthood in Vraja.

    That's not Govt. money

    4. I didn't say anything about "first and foremost" duty. I didn't say anything about "doing 9-5" either. Those are your words. I said it is recommended in this tradition that vaisnavas work according to their position in society and stage in spirituality. See Bhagavad-gita 3.8, 3.25, 3.28, 3.35 for samples.
    Gita 3.20 was clearly the case of Prataparudra and his protege Ramananda Ray.
    Gita 3.17 and 3.18 are for the self-realized, which is not the case of most of us.


    The entire chapter 3 of Bhagavad Gita is, according to Baladeva Vidyabhushan, about niSkAma karma-yoga, and frankly, my friend, that's what I think you are at too.

    (Advaita, I can't believe you actually advise people to live off of welfare.

    I have never singled out welfare in particular, just honest money without asat sanga and a huge loss of time and energy. It can be any other source of sustenance too.

    If it happened to you, that may be

    Fyi, I left welfare on June 1, 2006, but I did not regret a single minute of it. The money was well spent.

    , but to try and twist that that is the way of vaisnavas is just wrong.)

    asat sanga-tyaga - ei vaisnava acara (CC) ' Vaishnava conduct means giving up asat sanga'. That's not a twist to me.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have never singled out welfare in particular, just honest money without asat sanga and a huge loss of time and energy. It can be any other source of sustenance too.

    There isn't any honest source of sustenance without work. Either we work or someone works (or worked) for us. And that is the point of chapter 3. Until free of Karma, one works according to duty. And once free, one works to be an example.

    Krishna calls those who choose inaction while still dwelling in the senses thieves and hypocrits.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Brother, Advaitadas, I have always looked up to you for wisdom. But on this one I have to disagree with your realization. So please don't take my views personally.

    My goodness don't make it look like that devotees who work for a living and therefore has less time for bhajan are guilty and inferior than devotees who have more time because they are on the dole or depend on someone for maintenance.

    We can't stop time. Time must go on in the material world and that includes natural laws like gravity and material activities. So if I have to move my bowel and work to earn money to pay my bills, hand in hand with my daily sadhana, so be it.

    I think our intention is at the heart of all these. And Krishna knows our hearts. I think Krishna is happy to see one endevouring to do his/her bhajan despite the necessities required of one living in this world.

    Let's be honest here. Who among those who have lots of time in their hands because they don't have paid work spend their time in bhajan 60/24/365?

    Those devotees that work and pay tax, indirectly help jobless devotees be Krishna conscious by maintaining them through the dole.

    About realizations. As I grow older, I tend to believe that realizations do not stop with Sri Visvanath, and others. Realization is something that is living and in a continuum. It's growing as we speak.

    I think Sri Haridas Shastri's realization is great for the future of Gvism.

    On a personal note: even in our own spiritual family, our leaders like Tapan da, do paid work and in Tapan's case financially support our ashram.

    I think that is very noble.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anon, it is clear you are deeply involved with karma yoga's mundane morality. As for that 'hypocrite' verse you mentioned, please see my blog of September 12, 2007, for what the AcAryas have to say about that.

    If you are unable to understand our point, then perhaps at least for other readers I can narrate this beautiful story - once Mahaprabhu visited Srivas Pandit, who was a big householder with many servants and extended family. He was not working. Mahaprabhu asked him why not? He said 'I am doing bhajan. I have no time for work'. Mahaprabhu said: 'Then who will maintain your vast household?' Srivas Pandit clapped his hands 3 times and quoted Bhagavad Gita 9.22. When Mahaprabhu asked why he clapped his hands 3 times, he said: 'If Krishna does not provide within that much time I know He made a false promise in the Gita' Mahaprabhu was pleased and said he would have no dearth ever, even if the Goddess of Fortune herself would have to go around begging. This is from Sri Caitanya Bhagavat.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Malati: My goodness don't make it look like that devotees who work for a living and therefore has less time for bhajan are guilty and inferior than devotees who have more time because they are on the dole or depend on someone for maintenance.

    Dear sister Malati, I am puzzled as to where on earth you have read me saying that dole is superior to work????!!! All that Satyanarayanji said is that IF you can get honest money without work, then that provides a great platform for bhajan. And why is everyone dragging on about this dole-thing? I never mentioned dole in the blog at all. What about trading shares or having an inheritance or living off interest, or in an ashram etc etc etc.?

    ReplyDelete
  20. f you are unable to understand our point, then perhaps at least for other readers I can narrate this beautiful story -

    "Our" point? Who besides you is making the point? If you mean Satyanarayana, I believe you might be misrepresenting him, actually.

    And why is everyone dragging on about this dole-thing? I never mentioned dole in the blog at all. What about trading shares or having an inheritance or living off interest, or in an ashram etc etc etc.?

    I believe you are the one who misses the point, still. The issue is simply this: from the fact that one is born in this world, one automatically is meant to do work. Such is the human condition. Those who, due to either attaining self-realization, or descending here from the liberated realm, do not need do perform any type of work but still do so for the sake of setting example. Even the work of a self realized soul is work, it benefits others. The point is, without making oneself of service to others, there is no question of living honestly in this world. Or any other world. And service means one does according to the need of others, not one's own.

    ReplyDelete
  21. "Our" point? Who besides you is making the point? If you mean Satyanarayana, I believe you might be misrepresenting him, actually.

    Unless I am in need of extra English lessons, which I doubt, since I speak it since 1963, I do believe I heard SND properly on this.

    The issue is simply this: from the fact that one is born in this world, one automatically is meant to do work. Such is the human condition. Those who, due to either attaining self-realization, or descending here from the liberated realm, do not need do perform any type of work but still do so for the sake of setting example. Even the work of a self realized soul is work, it benefits others. The point is, without making oneself of service to others, there is no question of living honestly in this world. Or any other world. And service means one does according to the need of others, not one's own.

    1. I think the issue is simply this - if a Vaishnava can avoid 8-11 hours a day of asatsanga because he has honest money from other sources he willingly commits spiritual suicide. I am not of the masochist type, anon.
    2. The problem is that any argument (about you treading karma-mArg instead of bhakti) and any quote I produce (about Krishna providing for His devotees or the need for asatsanga tyAga) gets no response from you. That indicates you are not debating in good faith, you are not understanding or you don't read attentively.
    3. Karma mArg (Vivekananda & co.) preach mAnava sevA mAdhava sevA (serving man is serving God), while the Bhagavat (4.31.14) preaches the opposite (mAdhava sevA mAnava sevA) - serving God is serving man.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Advaita I read your arguments attentively, my response to your charge that I am dwelling on karmamarg has already been given (perhaps you ignored it?) I said, "There isn't any honest source of sustenance without work. Either we work or someone works (or worked) for us. And that is the point of chapter 3. Until free of Karma, one works according to duty. And once free, one works to be an example.

    I am pretty sure you are the one who is confusing the issue. You say one engaged in bhakti does not work. For a liberated soul, work IS his bhajan. There is no asatsanga for a fixed up bhakta. He works for the benefit of all around. I doubt seriously Satyanarayan das is recommending that people stop working so to do bhajan. If one inherits money from family or a donor, if he really is an authentic bhajananandi, he will use that money for bhajan, for facilitating bhakti for others.

    Satyanaran himself is an example. He works hard on presenting sastra for the public. He works hard on a family franchise to generate funds for his mission. His work is his bhajan. But work it is. Haridas Sastri also works, he serves the cows of Vrindavana. And serves so many people by his own example.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anon, for the umptieth time - I never said it is wrong to work, work if you must, but see it like this:

    1. Karma-yogis live to work;
    Vaishnavas work to live.
    2. Again, if you get honest money thrown in your lap, wouldnt you be crazy to forsake it and instead spend 11 hours a day in asatsanga?
    3. For the uttam adhikari there is no asat sanga, he sees God everywhere, but you yourself have recommended work for those who are not uttam adhikary. Isnt that contradictory?

    ReplyDelete
  24. 3. No its not contradictory: asatsanga does not come from bewildered jivas imposing their influence on a practitioner, but from a practitioner failing to draw out the sadhu in bewildered jivas [he may happen to associatate with]. In other words, if one is honest in his desire for sadhu sanga, he may be surrounded by mundane co-workers and not be affected by the mundanity. He in fact will become a source of sadhusanga to such co-workers.

    2. Anyone spending any time in asatsanga is gotta be unfortunate. For a devotee, be he a uttama or otherwise, even while at work he can keep his mind and heart in sadhu sanga, There is no problem.

    1. That sounds good.

    ReplyDelete
  25. All these arguments make one wonder why the Vaishnava shastras are chock-full of warnings against asatasanga. Mind you, I do agree that some immunity can be obtained if one has to work for a living, or if the job is done on Sri Guru's direct order, but all this is off-topic. SND after all just said that if free and honest money is available that is of course preferable over spending 9-11 hours a day in avaisnava-sanga.

    ReplyDelete
  26. As an experienced devotee yourself Advaita, I am sure you have considered throughout these many years that the warning is ultimately against one own's anarthas. Ultimately the cause of one's downfall is one own's doing.

    Personally I think it is very important to make it clear to audiences on this path that sitting around living off other's labor is not what sadhusanga is about.

    You may have seen it in Iskcon there sprung this culture where devotees purposely live off welfare, setting a poor example in many ways, and call it brahminical life.

    I think it is more realistic to call people's attention to the fact that easy money does not come about, well, easily. On the other hand, It is very rare a story of a sincere vaishnava who was impeded to do bhajan because of having to work for a living. If anything, shastras tell of how tempting riches can be for those still entangled in material existence.

    Easy money does not free one from his own anarthas. One still has to work on that. That is the meaning of honest work.

    ReplyDelete
  27. As an experienced devotee yourself Advaita, I am sure you have considered throughout these many years that the warning is ultimately against one own's anarthas. Ultimately the cause of one's downfall is one own's doing.

    That depends on the individual. I know many devotees live idle lives off welfare and I condemn this in clear terms.

    Personally I think it is very important to make it clear to audiences on this path that sitting around living off other's labor is not what sadhusanga is about.

    I refer here to my first reply (depends on individual)

    You may have seen it in Iskcon there sprung this culture where devotees purposely live off welfare, setting a poor example in many ways, and call it brahminical life.

    If you read my blog and my website you will know what I think of this mleccha-brahmin hoax. Nuff said.

    It is very rare a story of a sincere vaishnava who was impeded to do bhajan because of having to work for a living.

    That is why I repeatedly referred to B.Gita 9.22

    If anything, shastras tell of how tempting riches can be for those still entangled in material existence.

    This too, depends on the individual. Pundarik and Buddhimanta Khan were pure devotees, so were Prataparudra and Ambarish. A pure devotee can handle wealth.

    ReplyDelete
  28. No to make anything of my insignificant self, I apologize Advaita if in a small way I might have contributed to your liver condition. I know my objecting mood can be irritating most of the time. You are a convalescent man so I will leave you alone.

    Thanks for your patience. Get well soon.

    ReplyDelete
  29. In connection to the issue of passing stool and urine being bhakti, this is what shastra says -

    utsargān mala-mūtrādeś citta-svāsthyaṁ yato bhavet
    ataḥ pāyur upasthaś ca tad-ārādhana-sādhanam

    Because the mind maintains a healthy state by excretion of urine and stool, the anus and urinary organ should be considered as senses engaged in the Lord’s service. Viṣṇu-rahasya

    ReplyDelete