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.
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."
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.