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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sequence of sādhana, Madhumaṅgal, Gaṅgā and doctors in the spiritual sky

e mail from Bhakta:
"Today while I was reading the biography of Śrī Gaura Govinda dās bābājī ( from the Saints of Vraja of Dr. Kapoor) some doubts arose in my mind and I think that you may be the proper person to dissipate them. There ( in the biography ) it is written ( I am translating from Spanish ): "He (Gaura Govinda dās bābājī) discovered that some Vaiṣṇavas of Vṛndāvana meditate in Kṛṣṇa līlā in accordance with the Guṭikā of Siddha Kṛṣṇa dās bābājī of Goverdhan. He begin to do the same as them, but while he meditated in this way on Kṛṣṇa-līlā, he could not complete his japa. He did not know whether he should abandon his meditation or his japa, so he sought Jagadish dās bābājī's advice. He adviced him that first he must finish his japa, and then if he had some time, meditate on the līlā". The doubts are:

You know, the essence of all advice is to do japa and simultaneously meditate on līlā ( Upadeśāmṛta, text 8 or so many other evidence from śāstra proclaim this ). So my question is why he advice to Gaura Govinda dās bābājī to first complete his japa and then meditate if both must be done simultaneously ? It seems (his advice) is as if when he does his japa he must not meditate on līlā, otherwise why he would tell him to first finish japa and then meditate ?

Actually, every day while am I doing my japa I try to meditate simultaneously on aṣṭa kāla līlā as described in books ( Govinda Līlāmṛta, Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta, Bhāvanā sāra Saṅgraha ) contemplating my self as a mañjarī in this various līlās. It is not that first I finish my quota and then begin to meditate on līlā.
Thank you. Rādhee!!

Advaitadas:
Dear Bhakta,
Rādhe Rādhe
Actually what Jagadīśa Dās bābājī suggested is really what Rūpa Goswāmī also teaches in Upadeśāmṛta 8: sukīrtanānusmṛtyoḥ krameṇa rasanā manasi niyojya - Note the word 'kramena', or 'sequentially'. The tongue and the mind are sequentially engaged in chanting and remembering. I have the same tendency to chant and meditate simultaneously and I don't think there is anything wrong with that but strictly speaking the teaching of Jagadīśa Mahārāj ji is not wrong, it is according to the Goswāmīs teachings. Perhaps Rūpa Goswāmī considered the use of the tongue and the mind sequential because it requires great purity to attain a state of smaraṇa - smaraṇaṁ tu śuddhāntaḥ karaṇatam apekṣate. So after a period of chanting one gets pure enough to enter into līlā smaraṇam."

Bhakta: “Maybe it is like you said. Of course, you know, līlā smaraṇam has different steps (smaraṇam, dhyāna, dhāraṇā, dhruvānusmṛti and samādhi). I am of the opinion that unless the mind is engaged in hearing the Holy name with attention or focused on the form, qualities or līlā while chanting we are committing aparādha. You also know: "bahu janma yadi kori śravaṇa kīrtana tabu tā nā pāya kṛṣṇa pada preme dhana" (CC: Even after chanting for many lifetimes one may not get the wealth of love of Kṛṣṇa). Just by meditating with appreciation on this we can develop gradually a similar state of vision: 'bhāvite bhāvite kṛṣṇa sphuraye antare kṛṣṇa kṛpāya ajña rasa sindhu pāre. (CC: By thinking and thinking on Kṛṣṇa, by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa one reach the far coast of the sweet ocean of transcendental mellows.) This is the secret: thinking, thinking and thinking. Everything will come.”

(Phone-) Bhakta: "In Govinda Līlāmṛta, ch.2, Madhumaṅgal wakes up Kṛṣṇa in the morning, apparently without taking a bath."

Advaitadas: 'Whether he took a bath or not is not mentioned, perhaps he did. Some Vaiṣṇavas describe Madhumaṅgal as being the pūjārī of Nanda Mahārāja's Nārāyaṇa-deities but I strongly doubt it because such descriptions are not found in any of the Gosvāmīs' books, nor does it seem practically possible, as Madhumaṅgal is out with Kṛṣṇa from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m. - he also goes with Him to the barn between 6 and 7 a.m. - which pūjārī could be away from his deities for so long? Secondly, in Vedic/Indian culture not everyone jumps under the shower at 4 a.m. - those who have go-sevā to do or cleaning or shopping or so, they take a bath later, but at least before breakfast."

Bhakta: "In the same section of Govinda Līlāmṛta there is a comparison with Nārāyaṇa laying down in the ocean of milk. Isn't this aiśvarya?"

Advaitadas: "Many aiśvarya līlās have some mādhurya and vice versa. Nārāyaṇa takes rest for 4 months of the rainy season (caturmāsya). In the middle of it (pārśvaikādaśī) He turns to His other side. This is mādhurya within aiśvarya. Even in Christianity there is some mādhurya - after creating the world in 6 days, God takes rest on the seventh day, because He is tired."

Bhakta: 'What means Gaṅgā?"
Advaitadas: "It means ' swift mover'.

Bhakta: "And Godāvarī?"
 Advaitadas: "Giver of water."

Bhakta: In Govinda Līlāmṛta (3.67) it is mentioned that there is a doctor in Vraja called Kalyāṇada. Do people ever get sick there?”

Advaitadas: "Of course not – birth, death, old age and disease only apply to material bodies. There is no mentioning of Kṛṣṇa ever getting sick. The story of Kṛṣṇa getting a headache and only the gopīs' footdust being able to cure him is just a hearsay-glorification which is not in any śāstra - īśvara parama kṛṣṇa saccidānanda vigraha - Kṛṣṇa's body is totally transcendental and full of bliss. Of course in the course of naimittika līlā someone may get 'sick', like in Camatkāra Candrikā but that is just play, not real. In the spiritual sky there is no causality or functionality, but yet everything is there. Just like, some Vaiṣṇavas say that those Vrajabāsīs who have no amorous service to render to Kṛṣṇa have no generative organs, because they dont need them. That is nonsense. Everything is there, in order to create the perfect human like atmosphere for Kṛṣṇa, functionality or not. Just as celibate persons in this world still have generative organs, though they chose not to use them as long as they are in these bodies. The fact that they don't need them doesn't mean they don't have them."

6 comments:

  1. Actually what Jagadish Das Babaji suggested is really what Rupa Goswami also teaches in Upadeshamrita 8: sukIrtanAnusmRtyoH krameNa rasanA manasi niyojya - Note the word 'kramena', or 'sequentially'. The tongue and the mind are sequentially engaged in chanting and remembering. I have the same tendency to chant and meditate simultaneously and I dont think there is anything wrong with that but strictly speaking the teaching of Jagadish Maharaj ji is not wrong, it is according to the Goswamis teachings. Perhaps Rupa Goswami considered the use of the tongue and the mind sequential because it requires great purity to attain a state of smarana - smaranam tu suddhantah karanatam apeksate. So after a period of chanting one gets pure enough to enter into lila smaranam."How do you reconcile it with the idea that Krishna's nama (name), rupa (form), swarup (nature) and lila (activity) are non-different from Krishna himself. Thus saying his name and thinking of his form, activity, etc simultaneoulsy do not contradict that concept.

    How does raganuga or being spontaneous fit in here? If I feel like thinking of Krishna's pastimes while chanting his names, should I repressed myself. I feel that will do harm to my bhajan than good.

    Sorry if I disagree with the acharyas you quoted. Our mind and tongue and all our senses for that matter dont work sequentially at all (they're not compartmentalized) They operate simultaneously and its physiologically verifiable and on the practical level verifiable (because we can multi-task). Of course our mind and senses can work in unison or work in discord. We have to take our pick.

    Maybe a simple question is: will I go to hell if I persist with that practice because some acharyas say it's not the protocol?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Malati,
    1. It is of crucial importance to keep the utmost respect for Srila Rupa Goswamipada, if we dont want to end up like Jagai and Madhai (see their blogs), after they insulted him on GD. sri caitanya mano'bhistam sthapitam yena bhutale so'yam rupa...'Sri Rupa Goswami establishes Sri Caitanya's heart's desire on the surface of the earth'.
    2. I am a bit puzzled about the verse myself, but I am confident that there is a solution to it. As I already suggested on the blog, smaranam is not a cheap thing. Perhaps Sri Rupa presented this sequence to show one needs to get purified first by chanting before qualifying for smaranam.
    3. No one speaks about going to hell for not following this sequence, or that you should repress yourself. You are fortunate if you can think of Krishna at all, in fact it is the essence of all devotional practise. So if smaranam comes you should of course not block it or cast it out of the mind, that speaks for itself.

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  3. I sincerely apologize for my disrespect. Surely that’s an additional offence to my already stacking up offence scorecard.

    I’m very sold-out on the core of the GV philosophy. When theists of other religions can only understand the personal aspect of God , GVism offers more like, God’s nature and impersonal form. And that what makes Gvism ahead of other faiths.

    Although to be honest, I’m sometimes exasperated with the sometimes repressive culture in GVism when its always said that a jiva has free will and that developing spontaneous remembrance of Krishna is one of the main goals.

    So how do you reconcile the methodological , compartmentalized bhajan with what Sadhu Baba said one time when he came out of his kutir and clapped loudly and exclaimed “Today just by saying Radhe Radhe! your bhajan has been completed”? What is the significance of his words?

    Again I apologize for my outburst.

    Hare Krishna

    ReplyDelete
  4. (Something is wrong with the italic tags in blogger. They clutter together with the straight texts nowadays. So for now I cannot include the original comments in italics)

    Although to be honest, I’m sometimes exasperated with the sometimes repressive culture in GVism when its always said that a jiva has free will and that developing spontaneous remembrance of Krishna is one of the main goals. Free will does not mean there is no responsibility for one's deeds. Nothing is repressive in GVism. The door is wide open for those who wish to leave, and this is practically happening all the time - 95% quits after a while. That is the proof of free will and free bhakti too.


    So how do you reconcile the methodological , compartmentalized bhajan with what Sadhu Baba said one time when he came out of his kutir and clapped loudly and exclaimed “Today just by saying Radhe Radhe! your bhajan has been completed”? What is the significance of his words? The same Sadhu Baba had a manual compiled, Sanskipta Nitya Karma Paddhati, in which the 32 offences to the deities, the 10 offences to the holy name and the cautions by Shankaracarya about moral and spiritual pitfals, were included. Bhakti, be it vaidhi or raganuga, does not mean one becomes an animal. You also must have noticed there are certain rules of conduct in Sadhu Baba's ashram too. Baba might have made the Radhe Radhe statement as a glorification, and yes, Baba did not believe that studying heaps and chanting heaps was necessarily going to bring us closer to Radha Madangopal. Baba also said that any issue that had not been covered by his personal siksa could be learned from the 6 Goswamis' books.

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  5. If I'm not mistaken, you recently wrote on this blog something to the effect of, "a Goloka exists for us all individually". The idea being that when one attains siddhi one "gets" a Vraja of their own making according to whatever were their meditations, smaranam. You could have written this in a post or in a comment, I'm not sure but I've not been able to find it.

    Did you delete/edit that point out?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anon, I know I have blogged this point, perhaps even more than once, and I dont think I deleted it, because I only delete things that are historically or practically superceded, and I am sure that there is a Goloka for everyone, based on the sheer logic that there can not be just one Krishna that innumerable liberated souls can serve, and also on the base of shastra. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 'ye yathA mAm prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajAmyaham' - 'In whatever way one surrenders unto Me, in that way I will worship them', and in Brahma Samhita it is said 'advaitam acyutam anAdim ananta rupam' 'Krishna is one and infallible, beginningless and has innumerable forms.'

    [Sorry, not able to add italics or bold, due to Blogger malfunction]

    ReplyDelete