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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Yogapīṭh, Gaura Līlā, Sādhu Saṅga and Nityānanda Trayodaśī


Yogapīṭh, Gaura Līlā, Sādhu Saṅga and Nityānanda Trayodaśī

Bhakta: 'What is Yogapīṭh practise?"

Advaitadas: "It means the sacred meeting place of Rādhā Kṛṣṇa. It is not a concoction, it is mentioned in Govinda Līlāmṛta (21.94, with reference to the Vedas) and in Sankalpa Kalpadruma (51) by Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda. It is a ritual diagram in the shape of an 8-petalled lotus flower. It has been developed into an elaborate ritual, involving two diagrams, one of Navadvīpa and one of Vṛndāvana, in which you have to offer so many articles like sandal pulp and flowers to so many characters inside the diagram. In the whorl of the lotus are Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, and each of the petals houses one sakhī; under each sakhi serves again one main mañjarī. There is a mirror-model of Navadvīpa, where Mahāprabhu stands in the whorl, surrounded by all His associates. The practise has been elaborated upon by Gopal Guru Goswāmī and Dhyānacandra Goswāmī of the Vakreśvara Paṇḍit parivāra."

Bhakta: "But in your parivāra you don't practise the Navadvīpa-yogapīṭha, right?"

Advaitadas: "We don't practise either of them; it has not been given by Advaita Prabhu and we will not add things ourselves."

Bhakta: "In Nārada Pañcarātra there is a description of all kinds of circles existing around Lord Nārāyan in Vaikuṇṭha. Is there some sort of parallel there?"

Advaitadas: "Yes, that may be the text that is referred to in that Govinda Līlāmṛta verse (21.94) I quoted just now. The Goswāmīs presented us with a rasik version of these ancient tāntrik rituals (tantra here means Vedic ritual, not the sexual practises)."

Bhakta: "But we are not in circles around Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, right?"

Advaitadas: "If your Guru gives you this Yogapīṭh practise then you must take your position within the diagram, at least during the time of pūjā. As I said, it is mentioned in śāstra - in chapter 7 of Govinda Līlāmṛta you find a description of the 8 sakhīs' groves around Rādhākuṇḍa, each in a fixed corner of the kuṇḍa. They have exactly the same position in the Yogapīṭh in Vṛndāvana (situated roughly where the Govinda Mandir is, in the north of town). Its current form is a pretty recent practise."

Bhakta: "I heard that if you don't practise Yogapīṭh you cannot attain Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa or realize your mañjarī svarūpa."

Advaitadas: "I have not seen that in śāstra or heard it from my Guru. It's hard enough as it is - there are 10 offences to the name, 32 offences in service and 6 offences to the Vaiṣṇavas - that is 48 hurdles already. That should be enough."

Bhakta: "Professor Dimock, in his presentation of Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta, says: "Kṛṣṇa did not have the experience of Rādhā to the full. For a while He was with Rādhā, but He did not experience fully what She was experiencing, so He became Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in a single body, etc." That does not sound correct."

Advaitadas: "No that is not correct and that is why Sādhu Bābā cautioned against reading Kṛṣṇa-kathā from non devotees. They cannot understand due to a lack of spiritual insight which is only gotten through bhakti practise - bhajatāṁ prīti pūrvakaṁ dadāmi buddhi yogam tam (Bhagavad Gītā 10.10) "I give buddhi yoga (spiritual intelligence) to those who do my bhajan with love." This buddhi is different from mundane intellect. It is expanded consciousness. They have no dīkṣā and perform no sādhana, without which it is simply impossible to understand these things. bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvan yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ (Bhagavad Gītā 18.55) Kṛṣṇa was not with Rādhā for a while. Swarūp Dāmodar has given three reasons for Mahāprabhu's descent - succinctly it boils down to one - wanting to understand Rādhā's feelings for that. Was there any conclusion to that? Is it written at the end of Caitanya Caritāmṛta, 'Yes, now He understood it!'? No. If Kṛṣṇa were able to understand Rādhā's love then Gaura-līlā would be temporary, a once-only mission. Yet all pastimes of the Lord are eternal, including Gaura līlā. He tries to understand, but cannot, eternally so. Otherwise what would be the use of Gaura-līlā "

Bhakta: "Prof. Dimock concludes that two become one in Mahāprabhu, Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa."

Advaitadas: "Not only he, even most Vaiṣṇavas have that mistaken understanding. Mahāprabhu is Kṛṣṇa, accepting the feelings of Rādhā. That is quite something else from a merger. Look at it like this - your father is English, your mother is English, so genetically you are 100% English, yet for many years you have accepted the feelings and culture of India. So now are you English or Indian? You are English, accepting the mood of an Indian. If one of your parents were Indian and the other English, you would be a half-breed, as what Dimock and many Vaiṣṇavas misunderstand about Gaura. Gaura is Kṛṣṇa, cent percent, but He accepts the feeling of Rādhā. rādhā bhāva dyuti subalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa svarūpam. Returning to the topic of intellectuals vs devotees, devotee association is crucial. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says ādau śraddhā tathā sādhu saṅga'tha bhajana kriyā  First there must be faith, then association with sādhus and only then one can commence bhajan. Furthermore, in his commentary on these verses Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī says that even before that faith occurs one requires association with devotees. Without devotee-association there is neither the commencement of bhakti nor its continuation or survival. You can distribute millions of books but they can only give a first prompt to a candidate. The candidate will have to seek out a personal explanation from a living devotee in order to understand the philosophy."

Bhakta: "Did Advaita Prabhu offer Tulasī-leaves to His Śālagram Śilā to invoke the advent of Śrīman Mahāprabhu?"

Advaitadas: "tulasī dala mātrena jalasya culukena vā - He offered water and Tulasī yes, but not to a Śālagrām. Not a single biography of Advaita Prabhu mentions Him having a Śālagrām. He had dual deities of Rādhā-Madangopāl only."

Bhakta: "One Vaiṣṇava told me that there is difference between the historical dates of a scripture and the content."

Advaitadas: "Transcendental devotional stories are not always historical facts, nor do they need to be. They are in fact far far superior to matters or events that fit in time- and space-frames. They are meant to give us meditation on Kṛṣṇa, and attraction to Him. In many cases, especially hagiographies, like those of Advaita Ācārya and Śrīnivāsācārya (in the beginning of Bhakti Ratnākara) it is very clear that they are impossible to fit into a chronological sequence. This does not mean that the stories are not true or that they are fabricated or made up. Same thing with hagiographies of Gurus and sādhus."

Bhakta: "How to break fast after Dvādaśī if the next day is Nityānanda Trayodaśī?"

Advaitadas: "The whole complication has been created because people have introduced the advent days of Adwaita Prabhu and Nityananda Prabhu as vrata (fasting-) days, which they are not according to the Haribhakti Vilāsa. That includes Rādhāṣṭamī too. If one would not fast on Nityānanda's day you could easily break the Dvādaśī-fast that often precedes it. Ekādaśī prevails over non-śāstric vratas, no doubt."

22 comments:

  1. "The whole complication has been created because people have introduced the advent days of Adwaita Prabhu and Nityananda Prabhu as vrata (fasting-) days, which they are not according to the Haribhakti Vilasa. That includes Radhastami too.

    may I have the quotes from hari bhakti vilas where above mentioned vrats should not be observed are mentioned?

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  2. Anon, they are not mentioned in Haribhaktivilasa, period. Which means that they have been introduced later, along with the related rules.

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  3. While the tantric tradition may indeed inherit to an extent from the magical formulae of Atharva-veda, it is distinctly non-Vedic. Tantriki and vaidiki are recognized as distinct traditions even in the Bhagavata. In the Vaishnava context, tantriki obviously means pancaratriki, yet even the Pancaratra-tradition is disowned by many Vedantic commentators, including Vallabha if memory serves.

    Most likely tantra and yogic tradition have their roots in the native cultures preceding the Vedic age. For them, worship of mother goddess, and of a figure bearing semblance to Rudra, at times seated in yogic posture, was the predominant form of worship -- instead of the heavenly gods of the Aryans. Obviously there has been a great deal of amalgamation ever since, both with vedic and native religion, and later between vedic and tantric traditions, the blend of which led to hinduism as we know it. Be that as it may, tantric is not vedic.

    If that makes any sense, you may want to consider amending the clarification you have in brackets about tantra meaning Vedic rituals.

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  4. Oh yes, not to omit the reference. BhP. 11.27.7 for an example:

    vaidikas tāntriko miśra iti me tri-vidho makhaḥ |
    trayāṇām īpsitenaiva vidhinā māḿ samarcaret ||

    "The vedic, the tantric and the mixed, these are the three kinds of worship. Of the three, with the methods of one's preference indeed one should worship me."

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  5. Vedic, post-Vedic or pre-Vedic, what matters is what you quoted in your second comment: vidhinā māḿ samarcaret 'With this rule one should worship Me'.

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  6. The paragraph about Mahaprabhu's milita tanu in this blog has been added to the Milita-tanu article on my site.

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  7. Tonight my stepfather, Daniel (Frits) Kiehl, passed away. He was born in the same month as my Gurubrother Niranjan Prasad Das, in February, 1912, and was, like Niranjan Babu, thus also blessed with a very long life. During WWii he was interned as a POW in Indonesia and was the victim of serious abuse in a forced labor camp in Burma in the early 1940s - an ordeal hardly anyone survived. So a true survivor he was, not only surviving that, but living 97 long years altogether. His 97th birthday was to be later this week.

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  8. Hare Krishna

    Sorry to hear that.

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  9. Advaitaji,
    Pranams!
    Since Maha-Shivaratri is coming up soon,and you are a devotee of Sitanatha, could you explain the procedure of following Maha-Shivaratri according to Haribhaktivilas?

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  10. Giridhari, I have already prepared a blog for Shiva Ratri and something is mentioned there also about Shiva Ratri. I can see if your request warrants a separate blog or not.

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  11. To support Giridhari's request,it would be good to hear about Siva Ratri according to Haribhaktivilasa in advance of the date. Although it would seem appropriate to blog on these days, I find that blogs on appearance days and the like are often missed because this is when I don't tend to go on the net.

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  12. Jagannathdas: I find that blogs on appearance days and the like are often missed because this is when I don't tend to go on the net.

    It is not really necessary to read it exactly on the day of commemoration. It will be there afterwards too. All my blogs are stored for the readers in the archives, all the way from the very first one in 2005. Only totally superseded blogs are ever deleted. Anyway, I need to see if I will be able to add the requested material to the existing draft-blog or if I should blog on it separately.

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  13. Where did the yogpith.jpg file come from? I would like to get a high resolution copy. It is very nice.

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  14. Where did the yogpith.jpg file come from? I would like to get a high resolution copy. It is very nice.

    Sorry, I cant remember where I got it from, but it is widely available in the Vraja area. You could buy a copy there and scan it on a higher resolution. I suppose if you download it and process it with Photoshop you could enhance the quality a bit......

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  15. I did not see this picture when I was last in Braj three years ago. Maybe it was there and I was just unfortunate to not be in a place where it was being sold. With the downturn in the world economy, it is hard to predict when I will be able to return. If you have your own copy, would you kindly scan it at a higher resolution so that we can benefit from this picture until the fortunate day when we will be able to buy a copy in Braj? Making this available in a high resolution would be a very good gesture to Vaishnavas everywhere.

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  16. I found the pic, I have a Lexmark x75 scanner working here and I also have Adobe Photoshop. So how do I get a higher resolution than the existing picture? Does it involve just increasing the size of the picture? Or, I have the options here in Lexmark of 150 dpi or 300 dpi.

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  17. 300 dpi is a resolution that would be "photo quality." If you scan it at this resolution, then when it is downloaded, the details will be sharp when the picture is enlarged in photoshop etc. It may not make much difference to how it will appear on the screen, but it will be much better looking in other contexts. Thanks for doing this.

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  18. Allright I hope this is OK - 300 dpi, 9 MB diskspace and 2611x2041 pixels, centered on maximum size at Blogger - took a long while to upload. In India I could never have gotten away with it! Unfortunately if you download it from the blog it becomes 96 dpi again, 32 kb size. How to remedy this?

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  19. Thanks so much. This looks better, although the download from the blog site goes back to 96 dpi. What to do? Maybe you could put it in the Gallery section of www.madangopal.com? I just downloaded a picture of Baba, which was at 150 dpi. Thanks for all the time you have given for this. Please let us know if you place this picture somewhere else where we can down load it.

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  20. I was hoping you could tell me how to recover the 300dpi of the pic, because I do have the 9MB 300dpi version on my harddisk. Just, when you upload it to blogger it turns into 96dpi and 32kb. Perhaps such are the standard settings for pics in blogger.

    Please let us know if you place this picture somewhere else where we can down load it.

    Well its really simple. If you dont know a way to upload the full version then send me an email with your own email address on it and I will send you a copy of the real thing. My e mail address is on the front page of madangopal.com, bottom right.

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  21. Yes, that would be an easily solution; but then I could not remain anonymous. If I send my email address, you would think that I am all of the other anonymous people that argue with you in your blogs. I only wish to do bhajan in peace. Thanks for the time you have spent on this. If you cannot put the picture on your web page, then I will certainly understand. Maybe I will be fortunate to find this picture if I get the chance to return to Braj. By the way, where did you get it from? Thank you.
    Radhe Radhe

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  22. Yes, that would be an easily solution; but then I could not remain anonymous. If I send my email address, you would think that I am all of the other anonymous people that argue with you in your blogs.

    Not necessarily. You can use the e mail address of a friend or relative.

    If you cannot put the picture on your web page, then I will certainly understand.

    If you or a friend are so expert to teach me how to upload the pic in google while retaining the 300 dpi bitrate I will do so at once and you can enjoy your picture, no problem. I just dont know how to do it myself.

    Maybe I will be fortunate to find this picture if I get the chance to return to Braj. By the way, where did you get it from? Thank you.

    I cannot remember but almost certainly from Radhakund. In Kartik people sell stuff on the streetside, or you can try the Ashram of Ananta Das Babaji...

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