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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Discussing Caitanya Caritāmṛta - part 2

Bhakta: "In Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 9.98 it is said that that South Indian brahmin was illiterate but in verse 94 it is said that he read the Bhagavad Gītā's full 18 chapters."

Advaitadas: "The Bengali text 98 does not say illiterate, it says mūrkha, which means fool. How could an illiterate otherwise read the entire Bhagavad Gītā, as described just 4 verses earlier? That verse 94 speaks of aśuddha pore, he read it in an impure way, perhaps in the wrong meter or wrong pronunciation or so. Same for Gaurakiśora Dās Bābājī - if he was really illiterate then why did he carry a copy of Prem Bhakti Candrikā around his neck? The point is well taken of course, that intellect alone does not please Kṛṣṇa, only bhakti does, and thus sometimes hyperboles are created in certain stories, like the 'illiterate' brāhmin or the 'illiterate' Gaurakiśora to amplify this point. The brāhmin attained perfection by being attracted to the Śyāma complexioned Pārtha Sārathī-picture on the Bhagavad Gītā-cover, bas."

Bhakta: "Then, in Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 12.146 it is described that, after His son Acyuta fainted in a kīrtan, Advaita Prabhu recited a Nṛsiṁha Mantra. I thought that you opposed Nṛsiṁha worship as non-mādhurya?"

Advaitadas: "What Advaita Prabhu did here was not worship but first aid. Trust Advaita Prabhu - He is Veda Pañcānana - the topmost Vedic scholar. This was a healing ritual, not kīrtan or worship. There is a rule and a mantra-fix for everything in the Vedic literature. For ritual and other non-bhajan purposes there is no harm in Nṛsiṁha-mantra. Sādhu Bābā had a Nṛsiṁha Kavaca on his arm too. For more on Nṛsiṁha- worship, see my blog of June 2, 2008."

Bhakta: "In Śrīmad Bhāgavat 10.14.7, quoted in Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 21.11, Prof. Dimock says that the scientists are unable even to count the stars and dusts-pecks what to speak of Kṛṣṇa's qualities, but the BBT edition says the scientists may be able to count the stars etc."

Advaitadas: "Interestingly, instead of scientists Viśvanāth Cakravartī speaks of avatāras like Saṅkarṣaṇa in his commentary. But in any case, Viśvanātha says that the stars and dust-specks on earth can be counted but Kṛṣṇa's qualities cannot. So the BBT edition is right here."

Bhakta: "In Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 14.134 Prof Dimock says the servant of Lakṣmī-devī beat the unconscious car of Jagannātha, but in the BBT edition it is said that the servants of Jagannātha were as if unconscious and they were beaten."

Advaitadas: "Here the BBT Edition is correct."

Bhakta: "Dimock based his translation on Rādhā-govinda Nāth's comment, that in later days the ritual changed to beating the cart instead."

Advaitadas: "That is all right, but then he should not superimpose the later practise on the practise during Mahāprabhu's time, because that is the subject of that verse. When I returned to Puri 5 years ago I found the Aitoṭā Garden had disappeared, sold to property developers to build a plot of shops there. So now should we scrap the picknick-in-Aitoṭā pastime from the Caitanya Caritāmṛta too?"

Bhakta: "In Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 14.179 it is said that when Kṛṣṇa sees feelings of pride, desire, fear anger etc in Rādhikā's eyes and face He feels a happiness millions of times greater than during union. I thought that separation was higher than union?"

Advaitadas: "Union isn't contrasted with separation here, but with gestures and flirtation, which is more pleasant than union. It is mentioned in Ujjval Nīlamaṇi (15.253).-

vidagdhānāṁ mitho līlā-vilāsena yathā sukham
na tathā samprayogeṇa syād evaṁ rasikā viduḥ
"Clever lovers find that there is more pleasure in all the varieties of their mutual dealings than in sexual union per se. This is the conclusion of the knowers of rasa. "
Bhakta: "Some say that only the svarūpa śakti of Kṛṣṇa can assume unlimited siddha dehas."

Advaitadas: "My understanding of Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa's ṭīkā to Vedānta Sūtra 4.4.12 is that it is available to mukta jīvas too. In either case, it is not for me. Gurudeva gave me one and that's enough for me."

Bhakta: "In Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 15, 86, in the story of the coconut touched by the dusty hand of the pūjārī, prof. Dimock says "Rāghava threw the fruit against the wall.", whereas the BBT edition said 'over the wall'.

Advaitadas: "It is over the wall, prācīra laṅghiyā. Apart from this being the right word in the verse, it would have made no sense if he smacked it against the wall. If he is so strict in sadācāra, why make the wall dirty by smacking a fruit against it, hahaha! But seriously - this extreme example of the dust of the door vs the coconut is to make a point that Vaiṣṇavas should be strict with sadācāra in general."

Bhakta: "But it is a waste of the expensive coconut. It is a poor country."

Advaitadas: "You bet some poor man on the other side of the wall found the coconut and ate or offered it. But your point is taken - the example given here is extreme both in the sense of strict purity and the value of the item which had to be thrown away, both to make the point that one should be strict in sadācāra."

Bhakta: In Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 16.78 it is said that Puṇḍarīka gave re-initiation to Gadādhara. Dimock writes in his comment that Vidyānidhi gave him another iṣṭa mantra. It was also described in Caitanya Bhāgavata Antya 10.23."

Advaitadas: "The Caitanya Bhāgavat verse says that Gadādhara asked Mahāprabhu for re-initiation because he had spoiled his divine vision by leaking the mantra to some (obviously unqualified) person. Mahāprabhu, however, warned him (verse 25) that he would commit an offence to his upadeṣṭa (instructor, Puṇḍarīka in this case) if he would take re-initiation (even from Mahāprabhu Himself). There is no mentioning of Gadādhara getting a different mantra though, it was just re-initiation in the same mantra (punaḥ mantra dilo)."

Bhakta: "What means iṣṭa mantra and what is it?"

Advaitadas: "For Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas the iṣṭa mantra is the 18-syllable Gopāla-mantra. It was given to Brahmā at the time of creation by Lord Nārāyan. It is this mantra through which Gopa-kumār attained perfection in Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta and which is mentioned in Haribhakti Vilāsa as our dīkṣā-mantra. The Kāma-gāyatrī has been added because the ācāryas recognized Kṛṣṇa as the original Cupid in it. Nowadays there is a competition for disciples and the threshold for dīkṣā is lowered all the time."

Bhakta: "But shouldn't we be merciful to the fallen souls?"

Advaitadas: "Mercy comes in the form of harinām saṅkīrtan, not that all kinds of totally fallen and contaminated persons should be given dīkṣā and deities to worship. That comes only at a later stage. To the totally fallen you can reach out magnanimously with harinām saṅkīrtan or prasād. You can compare it with a business - if some product is not popular and will not sell you are a fool to invest in it - you will surely lose it. Similarly if a person has no sincere intention and no proper background, and is therefore unwilling and unable to follow the rules, giving dīkṣā to him/her is like investing in a sure loss."

Bhakta: "How could Gadādhara Pandit not recognize that person as potentially unqualified?"

Advaitadas: "It can be one of the many pastimes-of-instruction in Gaur-līlā, as a warning to aspirant Gurus to watch out, and not sell out. Every detail in Gaura-līlā is pregnant with significance. Of course since Gadādhara Pandit is an aṁśa of Śrījī Mahārāṇī he cannot really be affected or drained by a bad disciple, just like there is a pastime of Gaurāṅga described in Caitanya Bhāgavat in which He 'loses his ecstasy' during kīrtan in Śrīvāsāṅgana, due to the presence of an unqualified person. Mahāprabhu is Kṛṣṇa, the embodiment of bliss, and of course never really loses His bliss. These are clearly pastimes meant to teach us something."

Bhakta: "In Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 17.55 Mahāprabhu saw every forest as Vṛndāvana and every mountain as Govardhana. Should we also see it like that?"

Advaitadas: "There is adhikāra-bheda between three different adhikārīs - what you describe here is the symptom of an uttam adhikārī - top class devotee (it is described in Śrīmad Bhāgavata 11.2.45). It cannot be imitated cheaply. The way Vṛndāvana has been urbanised and paved in the last 15 years its hard to recognize Vṛndāvana even in Vṛndāvana itself."

Bhakta: "What about bathing in Rādhākuṇḍa?"

Advaitadas: "I took 100s of baths in Rādhākuṇḍa between 1981 and 2004 but then I stopped after I heard from Sādhu Bābā's tīrtha guru Rādhācaran Deslā that Sādhu Bābā never bathed in Rādhākuṇḍa himself. Apart from that, my doctors have forbidden me to bathe in stagnant water because of my ear-problem. Sādhu Bābā did not want to touch the Kuṇḍa with his feet so he had himself showered with loṭās of Kuṇḍa-water instead. Some say that since the mañjarīs don't enter the water of Rādhākuṇḍa during Radha-Kṛṣṇa's midday pastimes in Rādhākuṇḍa, we should also not bathe in the sādhaka-body. The statements in the Gosvāmīs' books that a single bath in Rādhākuṇḍa will bestow a prema equal to that of Rādhikā on the bather (premāsmin bata rādhikeva labhate yasmin sakṛt snāna-kṛt) is obviously a hyperbole of glorification because Rādhikā's mādana mahābhāva is unrivalled and unattainable by anyone else. The prema which is available to us jīvas can be attained by bathing in Rādhākuṇḍa, be it that it is done in an offenseless manner."


  1. Wonderful post Advaita-ji, thank you for all the information.

    I have a question if you kindly permit me to ask. It could just be
    my pretentious foolish mind but my heart always goes for Sakya relationship with the Lord. I understand that Madurya (as exemplified by Gopis) is the best to have with the Lord. Does it mean that the feelings I have for the Lord as a friend is just a sahajiya mentality and I might end-up as a loser?

  2. It could just be my pretentious foolish mind but my heart always goes for Sakya relationship with the Lord. I understand that Madurya (as exemplified by Gopis) is the best to have with the Lord. Does it mean that the feelings I have for the Lord as a friend is just a sahajiya mentality and I might end-up as a loser?

    nehAbhikrama nAsho'sti (B. Gita 2.40) - You never lose in this endeavour, and it is certainly not a sahajiya mentality, though I suppose you will find out automatically, by continuing your sadhana, whether this was/is a sentimental whim or a real thing - the stages of nistha, ruci, Asakti and bhAva will show........