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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Māyāvādī-trees, Vaiṣṇava suicide, henna, bāla vivāha, Manu Saṁhitā, entering Vaikuṇṭha and why the demons attacked Brahmā.

The glorious appearance of Kankan Kund, June 23, 2009

Bhakta: "Caitanya Caritāmṛta (Madhya 8, 256) says māyāvādīs become trees in their next lives - how can that be the result of all their tapa? What about all the śāstras speaking of brahma līna (merging in Brahman)? Is that not possible or so if they all become trees?"

Advaitadas: "Sometimes you need to read these devotional books with the heart, not with the brains. Of course brahmavādīs don't find their siddhi in tree-bodies, the only thing that mattered to Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj is that we Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas should not take this path of brahma jñāna, just as previously (October 7, 2007) we discussed Vallabhācārya's 'humiliations' at the hands of Mahāprabhu and His associates (or rather the pen of Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja), in CC Antya 7. These may not be historical events perhaps, but may be just for preaching to the own flock, not to follow Vallabhācārya but Caitanya Mahāprabhu."

Bhakta: Should Vaiṣṇava ladies immolate themselves (commit Sati) after their husbands die?

Advaitadas: "Certainly not. Sati is not for Vaiṣṇavas. Pāṇḍu's widow Madrī was an exception, but she decided to do Satī after discussing it with her co-wife Kuntī, since a mother cannot abandon her small children like that. Much of the Mahābhārat is written for a karma-miśrita bhakta audience. For pure Vaiṣṇavas, Mahāprabhu forbade suicide (see CC Antya līlā chapter 4), since the devotee's body is a transcendental treasure (nṛ-deham ādyaṁ sulabham sudurlabham plavaṁ sukalpaṁ), and is meant for self realization, not self-immolation. Even ordinary śāstras forbid Sati for women with small children etc."

Bhakta: "Speaking of suicide, Mahāprabhu did welcome the suicide of Junior Haridās"

Advaitadas: "Yes but that was a completely different situation - this was to set the standard for those who want to enjoy the prestige of sannyāsa and still enjoy the material world."

Bhakta: "During Hindu/Vaiṣṇava weddings we see the bride's hands decorated with henna. What is the origin of this?"

Advaitadas: The origin is Arab perhaps, or Persian, but it is not Vedic. It has been unknowingly taken over by Hindus during the long Muslim-occupation of India. There is even a lake in Barsānā named Pili Pukur, of which the locals say it is a place where Rādhā's hands were decorated with henna. Henna is mentioned nowhere in śāstra, there is not even a Sanskrit word for it. Look all over Vilāpa Kusumāñjali, Saṅkalpa Kalpadruma, Govinda Līlāmṛta, Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta, etc. etc. There is no mentioning of Rādhā's hands decorated with henna anywhere at all."

Bhakta: "Is child marriage taken over from the Muslims too?"

Advaitadas: No - bāla vivāha is mentioned in Manu Saṁhitā (9.88 and 9.94), but, like Satī, this too is not a Vaiṣṇava custom."

Bhakta: "Some say Manu Saṁhitā is only written to defeat the Buddhists and is not an ancient Vedic śāstra."

Advaitadas: "Buddhism is 2,500 years old, much older than Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism, and I don't exactly know the age of the Manu Saṁhitā. It is accepted as evidence in the Gosvāmīs' books, though, being often quoted in the Haribhakti Vilāsa. But things like Satī and Bāl Vivāha are not recommended there (in Haribhakti Vilāsa, that is)."

Bhakta: "In his blog Gaurav Mohnot quotes Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta 2.4.25-41, saying it describes how all the associates of lord Nārāyaṇa enter into Vaikuṇṭha. Does that not prove we fell down from the spiritual sky?"

Advaitadas: "The associates of Lord Nārāyaṇa are eternally so. They never enter Vaikuṇṭha - in these verses it is rather described that they enter the antaḥ pura (inner quarters) of the Lord. In verse 26 it is said that Nārāyaṇa 'returned to His own city' puraṁ praviśya - did Nārāyaṇa also fall down from the spiritual world then? No, pura means the city. He entered His city from elsewhere in Vaikuṇṭha, and so did His associates at the time. Sanātan Goswāmī writes in his ṭīkā to that verse that the associates entered the antaḥ pura, inner quarters of the Lord along with Him - pārṣadās te'ntaḥ-puraṁ praviṣṭas."

Bhakta: "Is the Bhāgavat-verse 3.20.23 condemning homosexuality?"

Advaitadas: The demons who approached Brahmā were not homosexual but, according to Śrīdhara Swāmī, ati-lolupān strī-lampaṭān 'Very greedy womanizers'. Brahmā's body-part was obviously female, not male. He was, after all, creating the whole world, and his body must have reflected the feminine half of the world as well."


  1. I was wondering about the henna comment and started thinking about kumkum. Madhumati has mentioned in her sweet blog about kumkum designs ( Have you read any mention of that? Radhe Radhe!

  2. Kunkum is a make-up mentioned often in the shastras in connection with Radha-Krishna - the word, in that Krishna Karnamrita verse, as well as in Vilapa Kusumanjali (24) is ghusRNa. sindUra (25) and musk (39) are also very popular.

  3. Ointments in Vilapa Kusumanjali are taila (oil) verse 20, vermilion (kumkum) and scents (24), sindoor (25), fragrant spots (26), danta ranjan (red powder to decorate the teeth) (40), catechu and karpur (camphor) (41), kajjal (eyeliner) (42) and yAvak (foot-lac) (43)

  4. Thank you. I was thinking specifically about kumkum being used for designs painted on the body, especially on Their Lordships. Have you seen any mention of that? I have seen red designs on Deity feet and have always thought it was done to simulate kumkum designs.

  5. If it was around but not on the footsoles, at the bottom of the feet, it is yAvak (foot-lac).

  6. In the version of the Pili Pokhar story I heard it was haldi, not henna, that mother Yashoda used to adorn the hands of Radharani while teasing her that she would now be betrothed to Krishna because of it. Then Radharani washed her hands in Pili Pokhar so that Kirtida-devi wouldn't see her yellow (pili) haldi-covered hands.

  7. That would not only be more genuine, that would make more sense too as far as the colour (pili) is concerned.