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Monday, January 19, 2009

Gaura is Kṛṣṇa, but is not a copy of Kṛṣṇa.

Bhakta: "Can one have svakīya or parakīya relations with Mahāprabhu? In Navadvīp He has one wife, who dies, then He has another wife.... Can He have more wives? Of course He is maryādā puruṣottama..."

Advaitadas: The fact that Mahāprabhu is Kṛṣṇa does not mean He is a copy of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is black, Gaura is golden, Kṛṣṇa is vaiśya, Gaura is brahmin, Kṛṣṇa lives in Braja, Gaura lives in Nadīya, Kṛṣṇa is a cowherd and Gaur is a teacher. Where are the cows in Navadvīp? Where is Mahāprabhu tending any cows? Mahāprabhu has only prakat līlā and this is repeated endlessly, with the two consecutive wives. Their svarūpas are mentioned in Gaura Gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā 45-47. They appear very briefly in Gaura-līlā yet they are eternally His spouses."

Bhakta: "What if someone is really attracted to Gaura-līlā and wants to participate in it eternally?"

Advaitadas: "When you are with God you are with God. You won't notice the difference between prakat līlā and nitya līlā when you're in the middle of it. prakat līlā is like an embassy of the spiritual world. When you enter the Indian Embassy in London you are officially on Indian soil, but still you are in the middle of the United Kingdom too. At any rate, we see Gaura-līlā as the academy of pure devotion rather than the goal in itself and it has been presented as such by the ācāryas too."

Bhakta: "Some say that all the Vaiṣṇava- temples in the material world are embassies of the spiritual world."

Advaitadas: "Only to an extent. The prakat līlā I mentioned before is for those devotees who have attained the first prema siddha, before moving on to rāga, anurāga, bhāva and mahābhāva, while the temples in the material world are filled with mostly neophyte devotees that are still largely under the spell of the material energy. They cannot fully represent the spiritual world as ambassadors."

Bhakta: 'I know someone who claims to have a married relationship with Gaura, like a svakīya Gaur Nāgarī bhāva."

Advaitadas: "Where does it end? Gaur Nāgarī bhāva is already at the other end of the imagination the way it is (parakīya) - now there is even svakīya Gaur Nāgarī bhāva as well! There is also a party that claims that Mahāprabhu's wives assist Him in His pastimes with other men's wives - too much! And none of this is rasābhāsa? As I said just earlier, Gaur is not an integral copy of Kṛṣṇa - Gaura has the attitude of a bhakta (āśray tattva), not of an enjoyer like Kṛṣṇa (biṣoy tattva). Next they will imagine themselves to be one of 16,108 wives of Mahāprabhu too, like Kṛṣṇa in Dwārakā. rasābhās hoy yadi siddhānta virodh, sohite na pāre prabhu mone hoy krodh (CC Antya līlā) - If there is rasābhāsa or bogus philosophy Mahāprabhu will not tolerate it but get angry instead." Besides, Mahāprabhu is the head of our sampradāya - depicting Him as a Nāgara would bring great disgrace upon our sampradāya. Mahāprabhu was so strict, following all the rules of a brāhmin and a sannyāsī, all the way to the end, when His pastimes became wildly ecstatic.

Bhakta: "You say Gaura is not a copy of Kṛṣṇa but I heard that all the places of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes are also in Navadvīp, such as Keśī Ghāt."

Advaitadas: "I have already shown in the beginning of this conversation that Gaura and Kṛṣṇa līlā are different in all respects. Now look at their abodes - does Braja consist of nine islands (like Navadvīp)? Does Navadvīp consist of 84 Krośa?"

Bhakta: "Couldn't there be an internal vision of Keśī Ghāt being in Navadvīp?"

Advaitadas: "If that were so, then where is the description of Mahāprabhu killing Keśī? Or Ariṣṭāsura, or Kaṁsa? Where are the cows in Navadvip, etc. etc.? "

Bhakta: "Mahāprabhu chanted Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa hey' so He seemed to be focused on Kṛṣṇa, but then He also chanted Rāma Rāghava Rāma Rāghava."

Advaitadas: "You need to see this in context. There are different levels of Mahāprabhu-līlā - a more conventional one and a more esoteric one. Roughly speaking, Navadvip līlā and the South India trip (during which Mahāprabhu chanted this) are the more conventional ones and Puri līlā the more esoteric one. Then also, in Caitanya Bhāgavata Mahāprabhu is Lord Nārāyaṇa and in Caitanya Caritāmṛta He is Kṛṣṇa in the mood of Rādhā. Not all of Mahāprabhu līlā is about rāgānugā bhakti and mañjarī bhāva. Returning to the differences between Gaura and Kṛṣṇa-līlās: Kṛṣṇa-līlā starts with the mādhurya (Vraja līlā) and turns into aiśvarya (Mathurā- and Dwārakā līlā), with Gaur the sequence is reverse - the earlier Navadvīp līlā is not showing the intensity and esoterics of the later Puri līlā (as far as the līlās are comparible at all). At the end Mahāprabhu would not even invite His devotees anymore to visit Him for the caturmāsya but would just relish Kṛṣṇa's madhura līlā with Rāma Rāy and Svarūp Dāmodar. There is no Rūpa Goswāmī and Svarūp Dāmodar in Navadvīp. They appear in Purī..."

Bhakta: "We discussed before about emanations and expansions. In Jaiva Dharma the verse Oṁ Pūrṇam adaḥ Pūrṇam idaṁ pūrṇāt purnam udacyate  from the Iśopaniṣad is translated as 'Even if the complete is subtracted from the complete it is still complete.' Who's crawling out here? I thought they were all eternal."

Advaitadas: "There is a deficiency in western languages, that were not made for such concepts of eternality and beginninglessness. For instance, the word avatārī can best be translated in English as 'origin of the descents', but that would at once create the impression that the avatāras emanated from the avatārīs, in historical sequence, but that is of course not the fact. All the forms of God, as well as all the jīvas, are eternal. kṛṣṇa bhūli sei jīva anādi bahirmukh (CC) - we forgot Kṛṣṇa, but not historically so, beginninglessly so. You need to scrap the time-factor in such philosophical statements. The pūrṇāt in pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate is indeed in the 5th case, which means 'From the full, the full is coming". This creates the illusion that there was some origin, some historical sequence."

Bhakta: "There seems to be some subtraction going on in this verse, like one thing comes from the other."

Advaitadas: "No. It looks like that but it is purely a philosophical statement. Just like the other Vedic statement 'eko'haṁ bahu syām' 'I was one, I became many'. That is not an historical event, but a philosophical statement only. Bhagavad Gītā's very first lesson shows us that the soul is beginningless and therefore never originally emanated from God - na tvevāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ na tvaṁ neme narādhipaḥ (Bhagavad Gītā 2.12). "Never was there a time when I (God) did not exist, nor you (the jīva) etc. " To those who may argue that the soul may have always been there, but originally was an integral part of Kṛṣṇa, I wish to quote another line in the Bhagavad Gītā (15.7) mamaivāṁśo jīvaloke jīva bhūta sanātanaḥ - the word sanātana indicates the soul is eternally a particle of Kṛṣṇa  Also, the Bhāgavata says time and again that the conditioning of the soul (and thus its separation from Kṛṣṇa) is beginningless. The point of the Īśopaniṣad verse is not that things emanate from God but that God is complete, eternally so. He can never be depleted."

Bhakta: There seems to be a book named Sanatkumār Saṁhitā, in which Sadāśiva explains the Aṣṭakāliya Līlā to Nārada Muni or Vṛndā devī. Is this a genuine scripture?"

Advaitadas: "One verse of it is quoted by Narottam Dās Thākur in his Prem Bhakti Candrikā, so at least that must be right. As for the entire book, I find it a bit hard to believe that this is an ancient scripture because if it was, the Gosvāmīs, who were always so eager to prove their points with scriptural quotations, would certainly have quoted it to prove the validity of Aṣṭakālīya līlā, but they didn't. This text would have been a dream come true for them. So I have my doubts about it. The same with so many verses from different Purāṇas and Upaniṣads, that are supposed to prove the Godhead of Mahāprabhu - if they were genuine, the Gosvāmīs would have gratefully used them to prove their point, but they didn't. "

Bhakta: "In chapter 39 of Jaiva Dharma, Bhaktivinode says that ' your spiritual form your age begins at ten and, as you make advancement in service, increases up to the age of sixteen."

Advaitadas: "Hmm. He might speak about the prakat-līlā here. Rūpa Gosvāmī and Viśvanātha Cakravartī say that before you are elevated to Goloka you are first trained in the prakat-līlā of Kṛṣṇa and you take a regular birth there as a gopī in the womb of a gopī and grow up there, with parents etc., just like any other girl. It could not apply to the spiritual sky because the forms should be eternal there."

Bhakta: "Then, a little later, he says: You will be the follower of a certain sakhī. Her cottage at Rādhākuṇḍa will be your residence also."

Advaitadas: "That is the way I received it from Sādhu Bābā too. Some Vaiṣṇavas give a personal abode (kuñja) to each mañjarī sādhaka, to entertain Kṛṣṇa there but we don't do that because the mañjarī is not after her own personal enjoyment with Kṛṣṇa.  We serve in the cottage of Viśākhā-sakhī only, without our private space. Even ancient European queens' ladies-in-waiting did not have their private spaces - they slept in the queen's quarters only."

Bhakta: "So the service of the mañjarīs is ultimately service to Kṛṣṇa too?"

Advaitadas: "Yes, that is how Sādhu Bābā explained the verse jīvera svarūpa hoy kṛṣṇer nitya dās in the context of manjari bhava. Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa have no separate interests from each other, so serving one is serving the other - śakti śaktimatayor abhedaḥ - there is no difference between the energy and the energetic. rādhā snehādhika bhāva is, however, the highest relish in rasa. In Utkalika Vallari and Vilāpa Kusumāñjali there are descriptions that the mañjarīs kick Kṛṣṇa out of the kuñja and He can only come back with the goodwill of the mañjarīs themselves. All this seems like mistreatment of the Supreme Person but in fact it gives the highest relish to both Him and to us. Kṛṣṇa's active aggressive masculine nature gets challenged and that gives Him great relish."

Bhakta: "Does Candrāvalī have some awe and reverence? If so, then how is she in Vṛndāvana?"

Advaitadas: 'She has more awe for Kṛṣṇa than Rādhikā, but not that she thinks He is God or so. Her awe is called ghṛta sneha ('ghee-affection') in contrast to Rādhikā's madhu-sneha ('honey-affection') which causes Rādhikā to act more freely towards Kṛṣṇa. But in Vraja no one considers Kṛṣṇa to be God."

Bhakta: "Then, later, Bhaktivinode quotes Vraja Vilāsa Stava verse 29, to prove he/she serves under Lalitā."

Advaitadas: "That is correct. He was initiated by Bipin Bihāri Goswāmī, who was in Nityānanda Prabhu's family. They serve under Lalitā, while we in Advaita Prabhu's family serve under Viśākhā, like Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī, who was a grand-disciple of Advaita Prabhu. In his Vilāpa Kusumāñjali (99) he offers a prayer only to Viśākhā, not to Lalitā. He offered prayers to both of them in Vraja Vilāsa Stava because that is a very generic stava, which offers praises to all of Kṛṣṇa's associates in Vraja, regardless of any personal relationship he/she may have with them."


  1. In regards to Candravali's awareness of Krishna as the Supreme Lord, Donna Wulff (author of Drama as a Mode of Religious Realization) asserts that in Rupa Gosvami's Vidagdhamadhava, when Krishna has an exchange with Candravali, the epithets of Krishna often allude to his divinity. Interestingly enough, these aisvarya-suggestive names are not used in the play when Krishna's dealings with Radha take place. However, perhaps this is simply used as a dramatic device and not proof that Candravali has some awareness of Krishna's supernatural identity. I am not certain as I'm not an expert on Gaudiya siddhanta nor am I terribly familiar with Indian dramaturgy. Unfortunately I don't have the book handy to cite examples, but if you're interested I could dig up some references.

    BTW, glad to hear that you didn't suffer any losses in the recent fire next door to you.

  2. Anon 2, this with Candravali may be just coincidence, because Caitanya Caritamrita clearly says that the Vrajabasis do not know that Krishna is God. It would create an impossible situation if some knew and others didnt.

  3. That's what led me to believe that the use of such epithets were dramatic devices used primarily for the benefit of the reader. Their use reminds the audience that Krishna's relationship with Candravali lacks the sweetness that is shared between Radha and Krishna and doesn't necessarily indicate that Candravali is aware of Krishna's divinity.

  4. Advaitadas: Some Vaishnavas give a personal abode (kunja) to each manjari sadhaka, to entertain Krishna there but we dont do that because the manjari is not after her own personal enjoyment with Krishna. We serve in the cottage of Vishakha sakhi only, without our private space.

    Some devotees have asked me about this statement. It needs to be explained that this refers to our position in the Yogapith, the mystical seat of Radha-Krishna in Radhakund and Vrindavan. There the 8 sakhis occupy an 8-petalled lotus around Radha-Krishna, and we reside in Vishakha-devi's petal in the north-east. It does not refer to Radha-Krishna's home-abodes of Nandagram and Yavat.