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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gaura Pūrṇimā 2009 - Discussing Caitanya Caritāmṛta - part 3

On the occasion of Śrīman Mahāprabhu's advent day, the third part of the Dimock- Caitanya Caritāmṛta discussions:

Bhakta: "In Madhya 16.239 Mahāprabhu speaks of appropriate enjoyment without attachment. I thought we were not supposed to enjoy at all."

Advaitadas: "This verse is an exact translation of Rūpa Gosvāmī's famous yukta vairāgya verse (Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.255). There it also says yathārham upayuñjitaḥ means 'appropriate enjoyment'. We enjoy in relation with Kṛṣṇa - nirbandha kṛṣṇa sambandhe . As we have discussed before in connection with the Queens of Dwārakā, they have a desire to enjoy, but only in relation to Kṛṣṇa (krsna sambandhe). We love our spouses, but only to create devotee-children and we enjoy foods but only those offered to Kṛṣṇa. Artificial deliberate renunciation is rejected in the following verse of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu - thinking sense objects to be material, those who desire liberation practise dry renunciation. This does not only apply to impersonalists but also to a class of devotees, the ārta, the materially frustrated who want to become free from miseries."

Bhakta: "Such enjoyment is not karma miśrita bhakti?"

Advaitadas: "Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu deals with only pure bhakti, as jñāna- and karma miśrita bhakti have been rejected right at the very start - jñāna karmādyanāvṛtam (1.1.11), instead it is anukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśilanaṁ bhaktir uttamā - Devotion only for Kṛṣṇa's pleasure. Miśrita bhakti is out of the question in the Goswāmīs' books."

Bhakta: "Prof. Dimock translates yathā-yogya bhuñjo as 'enjoy as if appropriate.'

Advaitadas: "That's not a good translation - it sounds like he promotes enjoyment itself."

Bhakta: "Prof. Dimock says in Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 18.18 that Harideva is on the western petal of Vraja as Nārāyan, as part of the meditative maṇḍala of the Yogapīṭh. I wonder how that can be as Nārāyan is an aiśvarya mūrti."

Advaitadas: "First of all everyone has their own conception of the Yogapīṭh - this is yet another more broad one, it is not seen like that by everyone.
Secondly, Nārāyan is just a title given to Harideva by the Vrajabāsīs who usually do not distinguish much between the aiśvarya and mādhurya sensitivities.
Thirdly, standing anywhere in the town of Govardhan is actually standing on top of Girirāj, whereas Mahāprabhu vowed He would not step with His feet on Girirāj. The town of Govardhan is an exception because wherever one is in that town one will be right on top of Girirāj. In this case it can simply not be avoided."

Bhakta: "In Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Madhya 18.184, when the Pathan soldiers thought that Mahāprabhu had been robbed by His associates He assured them that mṛgī vyādhite āmi kabhu hoy acetan 'Sometimes I faint of epilepsy'. In a footnote Prof. Dimock quotes Rādhā-govinda Nāth, speaking of mṛga-vyādhi, epilepsy, as the 'deer-disease' (literal translation of mṛgī vyādhi, ed.). Rādhā-Govinda Nāth refuses to consider the option that Mahāprabhu would lie but rather comes with this interpretation: Kṛṣṇa is here compared to mṛga, the deer (one deer species in India is called Kṛṣṇa-Sāra, ed.) and Rādhā is His hlādinī śakti, and thus mṛgī. Thus Mahāprabhu's mṛgī-illness is Rādhā's viraha fever that caused Caitanya's fainting. The mṛga is called thus because of his similarity to the stag in copulation."

Advaitadas: "Hm. It's a fascinating simile for sure, though most probably Mahāprabhu just did tell a white lie to get His companions off the hook."

Bhakta: "In Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 21.41, which is a quotation from Brahma Saṁhitā 5.48, Prof. Dimock translates it as the universes coming from the pores of hair of Govinda and not of those of Mahaviṣṇu. Is that right?"

Advaitadas: "No that is wrong. No other translator has ever put it like that. The first yasya in the verse (in line 1) refers to Mahaviṣṇu being the breather, the second yasya (in line 3) to Govinda being the source of Mahaviṣṇu."

Bhakta: "In Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 21.49, quoting Brahma Saṁhitā 10.43, Prof Dimock translates as Kṛṣṇa is in Goloka, and below it the places of the Devīs, the Maheśa-dham, as being the place of the Dwārakā-queens, Paravyom, being one with the place of the devīs and Haridhām."

Advaitadas: "No that is completely wrong. It is not devīs but devī, the world of māyā. That is the lowest of the worlds. Maheśa-dhāma is higher, then comes Hari-dhāma (Vaikuṇṭha), and then Goloka. Mahiṣī means 'queen', of Dwārakā, not Maheśa. In his ṭīkā Jīva Gosvāmī also distinguishes between them as vyutkrama, being in inverted order, and tal-lokānām ūrdhvordhva-bhāvitvam, the planets/realms here being mentioned from lower to higher. The following verses in Caitanya Caritāmṛta, 21.52-53, also confirm that devī dhāma is not the place of the queens but the material world."

Bhakta: "In the footnote Prof. Dimock quotes a comment on Caitanya Caritāmṛta by Viśvanātha Cakravartī, but I didn't know that he wrote a Caitanya Caritāmṛta commentary?"

Advaitadas: "Yes he did, though I believe it is not completed. It is the great pride of the Bengali Vaiṣṇavas that two Bengali texts have a Sanskrit commentary (Prema Bhakti Candrikā and Caitanya Caritāmṛta)."

Bhakta: "In Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 22.62, Prof Dimock splits the two lines of the verse into separate issues - 'Faith means a firm belief' (line 1) and 'By performing Kṛṣṇa Bhakti one has performed all duties', whereas normally line 2 is the conclusion of line 1."

Advaitadas: "Yes that is wrong too. It is one issue here, and it is confirmed by the following verse from the 4th canto, which says that watering the roots automatically nourishes the rest of the tree."

Bhakta: "In Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 23,61 (57 in my edition), is a description of udghūrṇa, in which the self is considered as Kṛṣṇa. I know one person who dreamed of him/herself as having the body of Kṛṣṇa."

Advaitadas: "We should beware of the sahajīya practise of ahaṅgropāsana, worshiping oneself as Kṛṣṇa. Thinking of oneself to be Kṛṣṇa here refers to the gopīs' stage of unmāda, as is described in the Bhāgavata 10.30.14-22, when the gopīs, while searching for Kṛṣṇa in the Rāsa-līlā, began to identify with Him. In his Sārārtha Darśinī commentary Viśvanātha Cakravartī explains that this is the stage of unmāda, divine madness. That confirms this Caitanya Caritāmṛta verse here, speaking of divyonmāda. The person who had this dream is very unlikely to be on that level. Besides, the Caitanya Caritāmṛta verse speaks of kṛṣṇa-jñāna, thinking oneself to be Kṛṣṇa, not assuming the body of Kṛṣṇa. sārūpya mukti, attaining the body of the Lord, is mostly practised in relation to Nārāyan, not with Kṛṣṇa, although the Gopāl Tāpanī Upaniṣad does speak of 'gopālo'ham', 'I am Kṛṣṇa'- Vaiṣṇavas don't practise that."

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