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Friday, November 21, 2008

Self-evident?

We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

On a Vaiṣṇava forum I recently debated a secular issue and to support his point a devotee quoted this sentence from the US constitution. Actually, this is not an authoritative statement in principle because those who drafted this constitution are of course conditioned souls, who are prone to mistakes, inattentiveness, deceit and imperfect senses (bhrama pramāda vipralipsā karaṇāpaṭava). Comparing this statement with the verdicts of śāstra was amusing, because it turned out to be not-so self-evident at all.

'All men are created equal' has two flaws in it -

1. No one was ever created. na tvevāhaṁ jātu nāsam na tvaṁ neme narādhipāḥ (Bhagavad Gītā 2.12) "Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you nor all these kings." The jīva is beginningless and thus never created.
2. No one is equal, created or otherwise. In his commentary on the Vedanta Sūtra 2.1.35, Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa argues that God may be blamed for being partial, since some souls suffer and some souls enjoy, but the Vedanta Sūtra text denies that by saying: na karma vibhāgād iti cen nānāditvāt 'If there is a division (inequality) of karma (then that is unfair), but no, for it (karma) is anādi (beginningless).' Baladeva then continues to quote a verse from the Smṛti:

puṇya pāpādikaṁ viṣṇuḥ kārayet pūrva karmanā
anāditvāt karmanas ca na virodhaḥ kathancanaḥ

"Viṣṇu engages (the conditioned souls) in sin or virtue according to (their) previous karma, but there is no controversy (injustice) in that since karma is beginningless.'

Regarding equality on the material level, no Barack Obama is going to turn each homeless bum in Harlem into a Beverly Hillbilly. Inequality is intrinsic. Even communism failed to bring equality to even a single nation.
Then what about ' unalienable rights' like Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness'? Can any US government provide it?

Life - what about the lives that were lost in all the US interventionalist wars, and that are lost now since abortionwas legalized? Can the US government insure or protect Life? Hardly. jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyuḥ (Bhagavad Gītā 2.27) "For those who are born, death is sure."
Liberty - Freedom is an illusion. In this world we serve our families (by having to maintain them), governments (by paying taxes) and our senses. In the spiritual world we serve Krishna, but there is no freedom anyway anywhere.
Pursuit of Happiness -
ye hi saṁsparśaja bhogaḥ duḥka yonaya eva te
ādyantavanta kaunteya na teṣu ramate budhaḥ

(Bhagavad Gītā 5.22)

"Any enjoyment which arises from the touches of the senses are just sources of misery. They have a beginning and an end and thus a wise men does not rejoice in them." duḥkālayam aśaśvatam (Bhagavad Gītā 8.15) ' This world is miserable and temporary.' As the Christian founders of the American state must have known from the Bible, this is the valley of the tears..

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ruci means chanting, not womanizing

Yesterday one commentator to my 'Advaita's rebuttal to Advaita's reversal'- blog of November 4 quoted this verse from Bhakti Sandarbha (312), from Gautamiya Tantra:


prītir atra tādṛśa-ruciḥ ....
na japo nārcanaṁ naiva dhyānaṁ nāpi vidhi-kramaḥ
kevalaṁ santataṁ kṛṣṇa-caraṇāmbhoja-bhāvinām


"There is no japa, no deity worship, no meditation and no succession of rules. There is only feelings for Kṛṣṇa's lotus-feet."

It is important that this verse is not misunderstood to mean rāgānugā bhakti consists of idleness, dirtiness, carelessness, much less debauchery. This verse is quoted in the context of the ruci stage of rāgānugā bhakti. It means that the rāgānuga bhakta has no quota or duty of japa, deity worship or meditation, but he will do it (nāma gāne sadā ruci, he always has taste for nāma) naturally. Otherwise what would be the meaning of rāga (passion) and ruci (taste), if he would not chant or meditate? This would make no sense. As for dhyāna, rāgānugā bhakti has been called 'mano-dharma' (mental religion) by Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda (Rāga Vartma Candrikā), and then the rāgānuga bhakta will not meditate? The Gosvāmīs' books are sūtras (aphorisms) and can be easily misinterpreted by unscrupulous people who want to twist them to their advantage.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Advaita's rebuttal of Advaita's reversal

On October 31 Jagadānanda Dās posted a blog in a reaction to my blog of October 5. His mundane intellectual superimpositions on transcendental śāstra have been dealt with many times by yours truly and others, but as he continues to try to defy the ācāryas and śāstra by denying that sex is for procreation, here’s an updated and extended catalog of what the ācāryas and śāstras have to say on it:

"As one in his list of definitions of what a Vaiṣṇava is, Jīva Gosvāmī in his Bhakti-sandarbha (202) cites the Skanda-purāṇa's instructions of Mārkaṇḍeya to Bhagīratha:

yathā skānde mārkaṇḍeya-bhagīratha-saṁvāde -
dharmārthaṁ jīvitaṁ yeṣāṁ santānārthaṁ ca maithunam 
pacanaṁ vipramukhyārthaṁ jneyās te vaiṣṇavā narāḥ 
atra śrī-viṣṇor ājnā-buddhyaiva tat tat kriyata iti vaiṣṇava-padena gamyate

"Those people for whom the purpose of life is religion, for whom the purpose of sexual intercourse are children, and for whom the purpose of cooking is to serve the brāhmaṇas, go by the name of 'Vaiṣṇava'."

Thus those, who act in awareness of the orders of Viṣṇu, are understood as Vaiṣṇavas. The essence of the thought here is that a Vaiṣṇava would not do something that wouldn't be pleasing to Viṣṇu, and since sexual intercourse for mere enjoyment isn't something that can be offered, a Vaiṣṇava would not unnecessarily engage in it. Then, the Bhāgavata-purāṇa repeats the concept in three locations, describing the suitable period for sexual union:

gṛhasthasya ṛtu-gāminaḥ 

"The householder have sexual intercourse only in the fertile season."  S.B. 7.12.11

gṛhasthasyāpy ṛtau gantuḥ

"However [though brāhmacarya was described], the householder may approach his wife for intercourse in the fertile season."  S.B. 11.18.43

evaṁ vyavāyaḥ prajayā na ratyā imaṁ viśuddhaṁ na viduḥ sva-dharmam 

"In the same way [as with other injunctions giving room for sensual indulgence], sexual intercourse should not be for the sake of lust, but for the sake of progeny. Regardless, people do not understand such pure sva-dharmas."  S.B. 11.5.13

The theme is brought up in Bhagavad-gita (7.11):

dharmāviruddho bhūteṣu kāmo'smi bharatarṣabha

"I am that lust, O greatest of the Bharatas, that is not contrary to dharma."

The commentaries prominent in the Gauḍīya line of thought, namely those by Śrīdhara Svāmī, Viśvanātha Cakravartī and Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, read as follows:

śrīdharaḥ -- dharmeṇāviruddhaḥ sva-dāreṣu putrotpādana-mātropayogī kāmo’ham iti 
viśvanāthaḥ -- dharmāviruddhaḥ sva-bhāryāyāṁ putrotpatti-mātropayogī
baladevaḥ -- dharmāviruddhaḥ svapatnyāṁ putrotpatti-mātra-hetuḥ

Śrīdhara: "I am lust that is not contrary to dharma, suitable only for bestowal of progeny in one's wife."
Viśvanātha: "Not contrary to dharma means suitable only for the birth of progeny in one's wife."
Baladeva: "Not contrary to dharma means for the sole cause of the birth of progeny in one's wife."

Hence, begetting children with one's duly wedded wife is the desired application for sexual desire.

Further, in Bhagavad Gītā 10.28, Kṛṣṇa says prajanaś cāsmi kandarpaḥ “Of progenitors I am Cupid.”
Śrīdhara Swāmī comments:

prajanaḥ prajotpatti-hetu kandarpaḥ kāmo’smi na kevalaṁ sambhoga-mātra-pradhānaḥ kāmo mad-vibhūtir aśāstrīyatvāt

“I am the desire that is only for making children, the desire for sex for just pleasure is not scriptural.”
Madhusūdana Sarasvatī comments :

kāmānāṁ madhye prajanaḥ prajanayitā putrotpatty-artho yaḥ kandarpaḥ kāmaḥ so’ham asmi ca-kāras tv artho rati-mātra-hetu-kāma-vyāvṛtty-arthaḥ

“Of desires I am the desire for making children only. ca means it excludes sex just for pleasures.”
Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa comments :

prajanaḥ santānotpādakah kandarpaḥ kāmo’ham rati-sukha-mātra-hetuh sa nāham iti ca-śabdāt

“I am the desire for just making children, but I am not the desire for mere sexual pleasures.”

Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, citing Padma-purāṇa (5.9.44-47), praises a householder's abstinence except for the sake of begetting progeny as the equivalent of brāhmacarya:

ṛtu-kālābhigāmī yaḥ sva-dāra-nirataś ca yaḥ 
sarvadā brahmacārīha vijneyaḥ sa gṛhāśramī 

"One who is devoted to his own wife and approaches her for intercourse in the period suitable for fertilization is known always as a brahmacārī even though he may be in the householder-āśrama." (HBV 11.156)

iti matvā sva-dāreṣu ṛtumatsu budho vrajet 
yathokta-doṣa-hīneṣu sakāmeṣv anṛtāv api 

"Thinking this way, even if his wife is willing during unseasonable times, the intelligent person will approach her only in her fertile period. when she is free of detrimental effect, as has been explained before." 11.173

This is just śāstra. Now comes yukti (common sense): If sex were not for procreation, then why do women get pregnant of it each time? And why does one apply artificial tricks to avoid that, items of contraception that do not grow on the trees?

As for our professor's argument that sex is LOVE, the following from the śāstras and ācāryas (this is really kid stuff, it doesn't take a rocket-scientist to understand):

ātmendriya prīti vānchā tār boli kāma;
kṛṣṇendriya prīti dhare tār prem nāma

Caitanya Caritāmṛta: “ The desire to satisfy one’s own senses is called kāma (lust) and the desire to please Kṛṣṇa’s senses is called prema (love)."

ātaeva kāma-prema bahu antara;
kāma andhatama prema nirmala bhāskar (CC)

“Therefore there is a big difference between lust and love – lust is deep darkness and love is clear light.”

Let then not our friend, who was twice initiated into the sannyāsa-order of life, come with self-styled ahangropāsana theories like ‘our sex is love for Kṛṣṇa’ or ‘ it’s the same as Kṛṣṇa’s’, because the first quote I made from Caitanya Caritāmṛta is also confirmed at the end of the Bhāgavat’s Rāsa-līlā: naitat samācarejjātu manasāpi hyanīśvara ‘ Not even in one’s mind should one imitate the intimate pastimes of the Lord’ vināśatyaciran mauḍhyāt ‘ You quickly perish from such foolishness’ yathā rudro’bdhijaṁ viṣam ‘ As you can also not imitate lord Shiva’s drinking poison from the ocean’. It’s only that he knows it. In Holland we say – a warned man counts for two.’

As for svarūpa-siddha bhakti, Brajabhūṣaṇa dāsji patiently explained (in my blog of August 22, 2008), quoting from Viśvanātha's ṭīkā of Bhagavad Gītā 9.27, that as soon as overall surrender has taken place, everything is done for Kṛṣṇa’s sake. If the progeny does not show interest in bhakti, that is between Kṛṣṇa and the child – the parent can only have the best – devotional – intentions.

The 1960s' western sexual revolution-generation is turning 60 and frankly, I think it's pathetic to see a 60-year old, who has known Vaiṣṇava siddhanta for 40 years, speak of lust as love like this.

By the way, I don't agree that undue loss of seed is mass murder, as no doctor or scientist can perceive the soul in any of the millions of sperm cells released during an ejaculation. Many times a woman does not get pregnant even if approached on a fertile day.

Anyway, my final comment to Jagat and his faith-fellows is this: If illicit sex would lead to enlightenment, the whole world would have been enlightened from day 1.