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Friday, March 20, 2009

Uttam Bhāgavats, adhikāra for mādhurya rasa and for punishment

Bhakta: “Devotees should surrender to Rādhā Kṛṣṇa. In what case surrender gets affected? For example devotees also do Saraswatī pūjā. Why?”

Advaitadas: This is mostly practised by ethnic Bengali devotees and is clearly taken over from the local Bengali custom, Sarasvatī Pūjā is immensely popular in Bengal. It is not mentioned in Haribhakti Vilāsa.”

Bhakta: “Devotees also do Piṇḍa-dāna (Offering food to ancestors/ Śrāddha). This comes in Karma Kāṇḍa section. So which Karma Kāṇḍa sections are included in bhakti and which are not?”

Advaitadas: “Mahāprabhu met Īśvara Puri while on a Piṇḍa-yātrā so it benefited Him. Advaita Prabhu also performed all Vedic rituals, yet He was responsible for Mahāprabhu's advent, too. The Pānḍavas followed all the rules of their caste and yet they were highly rated as pure devotees by Sanātan Goswāmī in the Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta. It is the overall attitude of surrender that counts. For devotees born outside of varṇāśrama there is no need to practise all this.”

Bhakta: “Devotees go to doctors for health, while surrender means depending on Śrī Rādhā Kṛṣṇa for everything.”

Advaitadas: “Unless you studied medicine you need to see a doctor when you get sick. śarīram ādyaṁ khalu dharma sādhanam - the first priority in bhajan is a healthy body. How can you meditate and serve if you are sick? All this is part of surrender.”

Bhakta: "In Caitanya Caritāmṛta it is said sarvatra hoy tār iṣṭadeva sphūrti - the uttam bhāgavat sees Kṛṣṇa everywhere.”

Advaitadas: "It is important to look inside the consciousness of the uttam bhāgavat with the stethoscope of Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda, in his commentary on the uttam adhikārī- verse (Bhāgavat 11.2.45):

atra paśyed iti tathā darśana-yogyataiva vivakṣitā, na tu tathā darśanasya sārva-kālikatā .

“The fact that he sees Kṛṣṇa does not mean he sees Him all the time, but that he is qualified to see Kṛṣṇa. (Otherwise how could he lecture, manage so many śiṣyas and festivals etc.?)”

tathātve nārada-vyāsa-śukādāv apy avyāptiḥ syān, nahi te sarvadaiva sarvatra bhagavantaṁ paśyanti, kintu tad-didṛkṣādhikya evātas tad-darśanautkaṇṭhyam atyadhikaṁ yadā vardhate, tadaiva kāmukāḥ kāminī-mayam iti nyāyena sarva-jagad eva bhagavan-mayaṁ paśyet | tathaiva ātmavan manyate jagad iti nyāyena sarva-bhūtāny eva premautkaṇṭhya-vyākulāny eva paśyed iti jñeyam.

"Even if this is so, one should not think that it would not apply to personalities like Nārada, Vyāsa, Śuka etc. They always see the Lord but this happens on account of the eagerness to see. When the eagerness to see Him increases then, just as the lusty men see the whole world filled with women, they similarly see the whole world filled with Bhagavān, as the saying goes: 'One thinks the whole world to be just like oneself'. They also see all living beings as being agitated with loving eagerness."

atra dṛśer jñānārthatve vyākhyāte bhagavataḥ sarva-bhūtādheyatvādhāratva-jñānavataḥ śāstrajña-mātrasyaiva bhāgavatottamatvaṁ syād iti tan na vyākhyātam

"The seeing here means knowledge. However, one should not interpret it in such a way that only jñānīs who are knowers of śāstra and know that Bhagavān is the foundation of the whole creation are uttama-bhāgavatas."

[With many thanks to my friend Kṛṣṇadas for assisting in the translation]

Other current issues-

Jagat is back with a bang, and at once begins to twist Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī's teachings again. He writes in his blog of March 13:

"At the heart of the problem is how Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa līlā, or madhura rasa, which is said to be "inappropriate for people following the nivṛtti mārga" (nivṛttānupayogitvāt) is in fact appropriate for the pravṛtti-mārga, and how the particular sādhanas of sahajīyaism are consistent with the sādhanas of yoga described in the Gītā."

In their commentaries on that Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu-verse (3.5.2), Jīva Goswāmī and Visvanatha Cakravarti clearly say that nivRtta refers to those who have no taste for mādhurya rasa, not to renunciates - asmād rasād virakteṣvanupayogitvād ayogyatvāt. In the commentaries there is nothing said about renunciates at all. I have made this point earlier, in my blog of December 16, 2006 and perhaps even more often. Perhaps Jagat has overlooked that or perhaps he simply doesn't want to admit it. His interpretation of that verse is not just wrong, it is highly irresponsible because it could lead to the conclusion that the more illicit sex one has, the more one qualifies for madhura rasa. At any rate, if renunciation would disqualify someone from madhura rasa, then why the very authors of those books, Rūpa, Sanātana, Viśvanatha etc., were so renounced? Any reasonable person will easily see the folly in Jagat's reasoning.

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In his exquisite commentary on Śrīmad Bhāgavata Skandha 10, chapter 35, Śrī Prabhupād Rādhābinod Goswāmī provides rasik interpretations of 'aiśvarya' tags of Kṛṣṇa. Wherever Kṛṣṇa is named Devaki-nandan it can be read as Yaśodā-nandana, as in Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī's Krama Sandarbha: devakī-śabdenātra śrī yaśodaiva sādaraṁ prastūyate. vraja-rājatvāt deva eva devakaḥ śrī nandaḥ  tasya patnī devakīti  "Devakī is a name of Yaśodā used here in a respectful manner. Because he is the king of Vraja Nanda can be called Deva, or Devaka and thus his wife can be called Devakī." And when Kṛṣṇa is named Yadupati, it can be considered Gopa-pati. In the Skanda Purana, when Balarāma comes to Vraja from Yadupura, he tells the cowherds: yādave'pi sarveṣu bhavanto mama ballabhāḥ  "Of all the Yādavas you are most dear to Me."

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I am watching the 94-episode Hindi Mahābhārata again on Youtube, and found a scene there that confirms my blog of April 19, 2006, in which I made the point that ignorance is an excuse and non-Vedic people can and will not be judged on Vedic measures. At the time some devotees asked me for evidence, and here it is. Princes Yudhiṣṭhira and Duryodhana were both tested in their skills as future monarchs. Four murderers were brought to court and when asked for his judgement, Duryodhana sentenced them all to death. Yudhiṣṭhira, however, asked for the caste of the 4 culprits. Duryodhana mocked him, saying: “Four judgements for one crime?” On Yudhiṣṭhira’s request the culprits revealed themselves as a śūdra, a vaiśya, a kṣatriya and a brāhmin. Yudhiṣṭhira sentenced the śūdra to 4 years, the vaiśya to 8 years, the kṣatriya to 16 years and the brāhmin to 32 years because they were punishable according to their level of knowledge and culture.

5 comments:

  1. Advaitadas, I wont go to this omniscience topic again. You know my take on the topic. But I’ll comment on the anons’ comments here.

    As regular readers of this blog know, I don’t just toe Advaitadas’ line if I believe he is wrong. On this thread, he is only doing what a real student of the shastra should do – putting Jagat’s version of Sri Rupa’s word in order, to the best of his ability, I’d say. And he has every right to do so. He is doing it in his home turf.

    If Advaitadas is a fundamentalist as some of you accuse him, then I’d say Jagat is dogmatic too, a fundamentalist too. Jagat is using the Gaudiya Vaishnava shastra/literature to support his indefensible agenda.

    After the shastra, common sense will tell us that his agenda is not exactly within the spirit of the teachings of the foundational acharyas.

    Let’s cut the chase here. Jagat, just please don’t implicate the GV acharyas to your razzmatazz.

    Advaitadas is not perfect but at least he tries hard, even with hurls of abuse from some gutless commenters, and even when many western sanyassis are lazy to dive deeper into our literature (except for a few like Tripurari Swami) to present the words of the acharyas with depth and range to the broader GV community. And he is not asking for donations left and right.

    My only question is why a GV devotee would ever visit his site. Since I gave my opinion on Jagat in Nov 2007, I’ve never visited his site again. There are many sensible devotee sites to waste our time on.

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  2. Malati, thank you for the support and for bringing this discussion back on topic.

    he is only doing what a real student of the shastra should do – putting Jagat’s version of Sri Rupa’s word in order, to the best of his ability, I’d say. And he has every right to do so. He is doing it in his home turf.

    This is not just my own opinion, it is just what the text says. The sloka itself says nivRtta, and this could mean 'renunciates', but as I said in the blog, Jiva Goswami and Visvanatha Cakravarti clearly say that nivRtta refers to those who have no taste for madhurya rasa, not to renunciates - asmAd rasAd virakteSvanupayogitvAd ayogyatvAt. In the commentaries there is nothing said about renunciates at all. And, from the common sense (yukti-) point of view, too, there is no sign that devotees in madhura rasa are hindered by their renunciation, as the acaryas who preached it were extremely renounced themselves. So what is so 'fundamentalist' about it, if ever there is such a thing as fundamentalist in shastra? Still waiting for quotations from my accusers. (Of course we all know it is a term coined by mundaners, but my accusers won't want to admit they are influenced by mundaners).

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  3. What Jagad and others, who might have read many books, don't appear to understand is that bhakti is not an activity of the brain. It is not something you learn from studies, it is not something you speculate and discuss to get. It is more like a force that grabs you in the soul and takes it with you.

    Anyone who have progressed on the path of bhakti, and have acquired some bhakti, can also confirm from own experience that what is said about bhakti is true.

    One of the big hurdles, or mile stones, of Krishna bhakti, is to overcome gross material desire. The pillar of this desire is often described as sex desire. To conquer sex desire, meaning to be in control of one's own desires in this regard, is often the turning point and what opens the door to bhakti. (there is a scriptural quote confirming this) Before that point one is mostly neophyte and mostly clueless.

    When one have progressed on the path of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, and have passed a certain amount of milestones, bhakti starts to like whisper from within. Emotions of bhakti enters the heart in mysterious ways, and your understanding changes from blind faith to firm faith. From his firm faith, the mysterious experience of taste emerges, which intensifies into more deeper transcendental emotions. Madhurya rasa is not just something that one can read about in some shastra, but something that whispers to you from within the heart. It is rather like a gift given to you by Krishna, when you have purified your own heart enough to be able to experience it.

    When bhakti has entered the heart, it is not something that comes and goes. It is always present. All the time. And the sublime force of bhakti, that taste of Krishna, is what makes sex-desire distasteful. It becomes both bitter and uninteresting. When the taste of Krishna has emerged, everything else dwindles in importance, and one's life more and more turnes into the obsession to get more bhakti. That intense desire for more bhakti disturbs one day and night, and one have no more time or interest for acquiring sense-gratification.

    People who speculate about sex desire in the way that for example Jagat appears to do, does not have bhakti, do no know about bhakti. Sorry.
    They should not be listened to, by those who want real bhakti, since they have not seen the truth, and therefore cannot enlighten about it.

    Prisni Dasi
    (Sorry I could only post it like this, as anon, as per your request - AD)

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  4. It's Anon III again dear friends..

    Can Advaita or Prisni Dasi please enlighten me whether the level of Prema (love) developed by people with different rasas (say for example Mother Yasoda's love for Krishna in Vatsalya; Gopa Kumar's love for Krishna in Sakya) is same as Gopi's love for Krishna in Madurya. What I mean is that whether Sastras talk about the intensity and difference of love exhibited by devotees in different rasas to Krishna.

    Radhe Krishna.

    Anon III

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  5. Anon III,
    This is an elaborate subject, but it is summarized by Sriman Mahaprabhu in CC Madhya 23, from verse 53 onwards. The first verses of that text are most essential - shanta rasa reaches up to prema, dasya rasa upto rAga, sakhya and vatsalya up to anurAga, the sakhya of friends like Subala up to bhAva (which is a higher stage than the pre-prema stage of bhAva btw), and the gopis' prema up to mahAbhAva.

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