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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rādhākuṇḍa saṅga

Recently I had the following discussions with devotees around Rādhākuṇḍa:

Bhakta: " What about the Vrajavāsīs? Some are even Buddhists, offering Coca Cola and snacks to the tiles in their homes, saying God does not exist."

Advaitadas: " Actually a landslide majority of Vrajabāsīs is Hindu and Vaiṣṇava. Mahāprabhu told Jagadānanda Paṇḍit: mathurār svāmīr saṅga nā loibā  "Don't take the company of the people of Mathurā (Vraja)." He then said  sanātanera saṅga na chāḍibe ek-kṣaṇa ' Never leave the company of Sanātan Gosvāmī', which nowadays means the followers of Sanātan Gosvāmī, the pure Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. Vṛndāvana Mahimāmṛta and other scriptures glorifies the Vrajabāsīs in connection with Kṛṣṇa in great superlatives, because they are living in His abode only. Sādhu Bābā offered feasts and other gifts to the Vrajabāsīs, but because they took advantage he would not stay in Vraja too long, lest he would not get too disappointed with them. He never stopped loving the Vrajabāsīs, though. "

Bhakta: " Your preaching of rāgānugā bhakti being available before anartha nivṛtti may have been the cause of some of the current Sahajiya movements starting in the west."

Advaitadas: " Perhaps, but it is the same in Bengal - āul, bāul etc. are caused by misinterpreting the ācāryas. What can be done? There will always be some abusers. Doing rāgānugā bhakti before anartha nivṛtti doesn't mean one should deliberately break the principles - anarthas means subtle attachments which we should remedy through sādhana while following the principles."

Bhakta: Some say meditation on the mañjarī svarūpa in an unripe stage causes one to take birth as a mundane Indian woman in the next life."

Advaitadas:
1. There must be a sense of belonging to Smt. Rādhārāṇī, not that you just identify with some Vrajavāsī women you see on the street. Reading and meditating on Vilāpa Kusumāñjali, Utkalikā Vallarī and Rādhā-rasa Sudhānidhi is helpful as well as associating with like-minded devotees and residing at Rādhākund."
2. You have to start somewhere, even while anarthas are there, there must be basic aspiration.
3. It is an internal meditation on a transcendental form, which will be revealed in truth at the bhāva bhakti stage.
4. Those preachers of caution need not worry too much - only a happy few take interest in rāgānugā bhakti anyway."

Bhakta: But Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja Gosvāmī writes in his Kṛṣṇa Karṇāmṛta ṭīkā (3) that one can meditate on the siddha deha before bhāva bhakti too."

Advaitadas: "That may still mean on the stage of āsakti, niṣṭhā or ruci."

Bhakta: " It is said that only bābājīs / sannyāsīs attain the spiritual world."

Advaitadas: " You cannot make a reservation, nor is it only through celibacy that one can attain the spiritual world. Such a reservation is certainly not there for bābājīs or sannyāsīs that just wear their uniform but do not follow the rules of their ashram, as some foolishly believe. The Bhāgavat says (2.6.20) - antas trilokyās tvaparo gṛhamedho'bṛhad-vrataḥ  "Others, who live in the three worlds (material world), who are not in the spiritual sky, are fixed on the home and do not follow the great vow (celibacy or bṛhad vrata)." There needs to be prema and the stages beyond - rāga, anurāga, bhāva mahābhāva etc., as is explained in Mādhurya Kādambinī. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (18.65):

manmana bhava mad bhakto mad yaji māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te pratijāne priyo'si me


"Think of Me, be My devotee, worship Me and bow down to Me. Thus you will surely attain me. I promise you this because you are dear to Me."
Arjuna would surely attain Kṛṣṇa and he was a gṛhastha."

Bhakta: "Where did you learn such nice Bengali?"

Advaitadas: "Association. You don't learn a language from a book. You learned your mother tongue before you even entered kindergarten just from association with your relatives. Association is everything."

Bhakta: "Is the Guru supposed to be siddha?"

Advaitadas: "That's a bit much to ask nowadays, huh? Still one should take initiation..."

Bhakta: "What about 'brahmaṇyupaśamāśrayaḥ' (qualifications of the Guru given in SB 11.3.21, saying he should be in spiritual consciousness and in control of himself)?"

Advaitadas: "According to Jīva Gosvāmī in Bhakti Sandarbha (206), this applies to śravaṇa- or śikṣā-guru, not to dīkṣā-guru. For that he quotes another verse, 11.3.48.Surely a Guru must be qualified but it is objectively speaking, not easy to know who is siddha, or to find one. Subjectively speaking, for the śiṣya, the Guru is none other than Bhagavān. Hence I object against talk of 'uttama', 'madhyama' and 'kaniṣṭha' Gurus. That is pulling the Absolute into the realm of the relative. No śāstra speaks of uttama, madhyama and kaniṣṭha Gurus. Rather, the Bhāgavata (7.15.26) says:

yasya sākṣād bhagavati jñāna dīpe prade gurau
martyāsad-dhi śrutaṁ tasya sarvaṁ kuñjara śaucavat

'The fool who sees the Guru, who is God Himself and who is the giver of the light of divine knowledge, as a mortal person, sees all his learning go in vain."

Bhakta: "Some prominent Vaiṣṇavas claim the word brahmacārī and the āshram with that name was not especially marked by celibacy. It just means 'student'."

Advaitadas: Yajñavalkya Muni says:


karmaṇā manasā vācā sarvāvasthāsu sarvadā
sarvatra maithuna-tyāgo brāhmacaryaṁ pracakṣate


"To always give up sex, everywhere, in action, mind and words, is called brāhmacarya."

Bhakta: "The Bhagavat says ajāta śatrava śānta sādhava sādhu bhūṣaṇam - 'The devotee's enemy is never born".

Advaitadas: "You may have to see this as a glorification of the sādhus. Sanātan Goswāmī was jailed and almost killed by a robber. Raghunāth dās Gosvāmī was jailed, Yudhiṣṭhir Mahārāja had many ferocious enemies, too. Haridās Thākura was nearly beaten to death by the Muslims. Everyone naturally gets friends and enemies in life. No one is without enemies."

4 comments:

  1. You are writing
    There must be a sense of belonging to Smt. Radharani, not that you just identify with some Vrajavasi women you see on the street. Reading and meditating on Vilapa Kusumanjali, Utkalika Vallari and Radharasa Sudhanidhi is helpful as well as associating with likeminded devotees and residing at Radhakund.
    How is it possible that person can just by hearing and associating with devotees get a sense of belonging to srimati radharani?
    Writers writesuch literature because that is their realisation and meditation but it is not ours.Than I can conclude that I will just intoxicate my mind with their words but it is the question if it is proper realisation or jst speculation and sentimentalisam?
    How can I be sure that I am doing the right thing?

    ReplyDelete
  2. [ Bhakta: " Your preaching of raganuga bhakti being available before anartha nivritti may have been the cause of some of the current Sahajiya movements starting in the west."

    Advaitadas: " Perhaps, ...but it is the same in Bengal - aul, baul etc. are caused by misinterpreting the acaryas. What can be done? There will always be some abusers. Doing raganuga bhakti before anartha nivritti doesnt mean one should deliberately break the principles, anarthas means subtle attachments which we should remedy through sadhana while following the principles. ]

    Even without breaking the principles...

    We now have an illustrative example of someone who tried to do raganuga bhakti before he was ready for it. Maybe an illustration of why Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswat and Srila Prabhupada took the position they did about it.

    Is there something lost in the translation of "lobha" as "greed"? Or is it a matter of how material or spiritual that greed or desire is?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous : How is it possible that person can just by hearing and associating with devotees get a sense of belonging to srimati radharani?
    Writers write such literature because that is their realisation and meditation but it is not ours.Than I can conclude that I will just intoxicate my mind with their words but it is the question if it is proper realisation or jst speculation and sentimentalisam?
    How can I be sure that I am doing the right thing?


    First of all, you should not underestimate the power of these books and the proper Vaishnava association. Whether this is all mental or sentimental is really impossible to judge from the outside by others. It is our meditation too if we adopt it as such and it is adopted after feeling sincere attraction to it. Sri Rupa Gosvami writes about it in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.2.270-306). You may find that passage helpful. Again, as for personal experience, that is just what it is. No outsider can judge, and if it is phony and fake it will show in due course - the jijnasu, or curious, will fade away in due course of time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jaiprabhupada: We now have an illustrative example of someone who tried to do raganuga bhakti before he was ready for it. Maybe an illustration of why Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswat and Srila Prabhupada took the position they did about it.

    You do not specify which person this is, but in my 26 years of raganuga sadhana I have seen many many devotees go away or astray, for different reasons. This blog is not about one particular individual.

    Is there something lost in the translation of "lobha" as "greed"? Or is it a matter of how material or spiritual that greed or desire is?

    No, neither. There is a misunderstanding about the status and the quality and quantity of that greed. Please see my essay on qualification for raganuga bhakti on my website madangopal.com (linktab Articles). The acaryas explain in their commentaries on Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu that there are gradations of greed, starting with a slight amount (yat kincit).

    ReplyDelete