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Friday, September 25, 2009

Handsigns, Gurvaparādha, Tulsī and śrī viṣṇu śrī viṣṇu śrī viṣṇu

Tulsī Mahārāṇī in Sādhu Bābā's āshram

Bhakta: “Aren't the signs of cakras and conchshells on Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s hands and feet signs of aiśvarya?”

Advaitadas: “Actually the hand- and footsigns themselves are already aiśvarya, as ordinary human beings don’t bear those marks.”

Bhakta: “Then why do They bear these marks in a mādhurya-abode like Vraja?”

Advaitadas: “God is God, even in His most human appearance. Mahāprabhu also has such marks on His hands and feet, and He is the most human appearance of God. Kṛṣṇa also has the Kaustubha in Vraja, though that is a clear sign of Nārāyan. Ultimately the juxtaposition of aiśvarya next to mādhurya enhances the mādhurya, just as a candle in sunlight gives less light than a candle in the dark. Also Jīva Goswāmī says that the aiśvarya in Vraja reminds us that we are not dealing with ordinary human beings, so we will not take it cheaply or identify ourselves with Them like the sahajīyas.”

Bhakta: “One should take bath after seeing the one who is envious of one’s Guru? So it won't be Vaiṣṇava aparādha for the disciple who is taking bath after seeing another Vaiṣṇava who is envious of the disciple's Guru?”

Advaitadas: “I do not think it is practical to take a bath when meeting someone who envies your Guru. It is better just to avoid such a person - yathā hoy guru nindā tathā nā jāibe // guru nindukera mukha kobhu nā heribe (padakartā Sanātan Dās) - 'Don't go there where the Guru is criticized // never look at the face of a critic of the Guru'. This is more practical.”

Bhakta: Does Śrī Jīvapāda say that one should not respect a Vaiṣṇava offender? What if the Vaiṣṇava offender is also a Vaiṣṇava (taken Kṛṣṇa mantra in dīkṣā)?

Advaitadas: “The above rule counts also for Vaiṣṇava. Having dīkṣā does not free one from the tendency to offend.”

Bhakta: “If there is a sādhaka who is aparādh free, he chants Nāma, one Nāma clears all sins and another Nāma gets prem, so how without Guru he has got his Siddha Swarūp and attain prem siddhi?”

Advaitadas: “Not taking a Guru is itself a nāmāparādha called guror avajña - therefore it is impossible for a person without Guru to chant without aparādha, and thus to attain svarūpa siddhi and prema siddhi.”

Bhakta: “Have you had any supernatural experience with Giridhārī? For instance with a message through a dream, something happened when you offered food, something like that...”

Advaitadas: No, but occasionally His prasāda is very powerful/blissful. “

Bhakta: “One friend of mine felt inebriated after prasādam and said it was because of Tulasī - he thought she acted like stimulating. Does Tulasī have that property?”

Advaitadas: Look at the last line of the morning Tulasī-song: śrī rādhā govinda preme sadā jeno bhāsi – ‘May I always float in the ocean of Rādhā Govinda prema (by Tulsī’s mercy)’.

Bhakta: “Is worship of Tulasī rāga bhakti or vaidhi bhakti?

Advaitadas: “It is either or both. There is a morning and evening Ārati-song for Tulasī. The morning song shows her mādhurya (tulasī kṛṣṇa preyasī) and the evening song her aiśvarya (tulasī mahārāṇi vṛnde ji mahārāṇi namo nārāyaṇi etc.). “

Bhakta: “Why did Mahāprabhu make the animals in Jhārikhaṇḍa forest sing and dance in ecstasy and not the animals of Navadvīpa for instance?”

Advaitadas: “That is just mercy. No need for the adjective ‘causeless’, because mercy is by definition causeless. Look at the hunter Mṛgāri – he didn’t just kill the animals he hunted, he just pierced them so he could watch them squirm and suffer – yet he got the mercy of Nārada – he had absolutely no sukṛti. That is just at random.”

Bhakta: “Is it bona fide to offer articles on the fly by saying śrī viṣṇu śrī viṣṇu śrī viṣṇu?”

Advaitadas: “I have never seen anyone in India doing that in all the years I lived there. When I went for a journey from Sādhu Bābā’s āshram I asked Bābā if I should touch food-articles I wanted to eat to my neck-beads for sanctification. He said that that was all right, or alternatively I could travel with [dried] Tulasī leaves and place a leaf on the article before eating it.”

(This anecdote is added to Sādhu Bābā’s biography, p.46, on Also pictures of Deva Prayāg, Rudra Prayāg and Kedārnāth have been added to the bio, in the section on Bābā's Himālaya Yātrā, pages 10 and 12)


  1. How can you just state with absolute authority that Caitanya's interaction with the animals of Jharikhanda was just random? His lila is very deep and there are reasons for everything he does. I really don't understand how you presume to know the answers to this and so many other questions.

  2. Anon, I do not think you are giving me a fair deal - on this blog there have been and will be plenty of instances in which I did express a mere opinion, without absolute certainty. Otherwise, my points have been expressed based on my findings from Guru, shastra, sadhu and yukti. You are certainly most welcome to point out which other issues have been presented by me with absolute certainty of which you believe they are incorrect or doubtful. As for the Jharikanda lila, it stands out as a unique pastime of Sriman Mahaprabhu and is quite famous as such throughout the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya and beyond it. If you find any other instance of such a miracle, which has been described by the genuine acaryas with so many words and in such detail, please quote it.

  3. September 27, 2009 - Advaitadas' 27th birthday. Today in 1982, in Vrindavan, I received Sadhu Baba's Ashray (initiation). An elaborate description of this event is there on this blog, on September 27, 2007, my 25th anniversary.

  4. I think you should clarify that one should carry around PRASASI dried tulsi leaves to put on food which one is not able to offer. It seems that you mean ANY tulsi, but I am pretty sure you mean tulsi which has been previously offered to Krishna.