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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bahuśira's fallvada and Questions on the womb-tattva.

In Sampradaya Sun, October 5, Bahuśira Das defends fall-vada with the following arguments -

(From Prema Vivarta:)
kṛṣṇa-bahirmukha hoiyā bhoga vāñcha kare.

This verse, nor the entire book for that matter, is nowhere quoted in the Goswāmīs’ books. In any case the verse says just ‘being turned away from Kṛṣṇa, he desires enjoyment’. hoiyā ("being") is in the indefinite case - being turned away from Kṛṣṇa, the conditioned soul desires personal enjoyment. This says nothing about falling from Goloka or being envious of Kṛṣṇa.

Then he quotes Śrīmad Bhāgavat 2.5.19:

kārya-kāraṇa-kartrtve dravya-jñāna-kriyāśrayaḥ
badhnanti nityada muktaṁ māyinaṁ puruṣaṁ guṇaḥ

"These three modes of material nature, being further manifested as matter, knowledge, and activities, put the eternally transcendental living entity under conditions of cause and effect and make him responsible for such activities."

This verse, also, says nothing about fall at all. Jiva Gosvami writes in his Krama Sandarbha tika of SB 2.5.19 -
  kīdṛśam api badhnanti. tatrāha nityadā muktam api. nanv idaṁ viruddham. tatrāha—māyinam iti. māyā’tra māyā-kṛto moha ucyate. sa cānādir iti eveśa-vimukhasya tasya māyā-pāravaśyād eva. tena ca guṇāveśa eva bandha iti. 

“It is said that the living being is eternally liberated, so how can he be bound? How to solve this contradiction? To this is it said māyinam - the delusion is caused by māyā. He is averse to the Lord from beginningless time and subject to māyā, who keeps him bound in the modes.”

Viśvanātha Cakravartī's ṭīkā of SB 2.5.19 -
pūrvokta-yuktyā bhagavataṁ pṛṣṭha-deśa-sthānāṁ jīvānāṁ pṛṣṭha-deśa-sthayā māyayā svata eva saṅga-sambhavād iti bhāvaḥ. nitya-muktam iti jīvasya yathā anādy-ajñānaṁ tathā anādi-jñānam apy astīti saptamānte vyaktībhaviṣyati

 “According to previously proposed logic, the conditioned souls are situated at the back of the Lord, where māyā is situated, and that association (with māyā) is by itself or naturally (svata eva) so. Their ignorance and knowledge are both beginningless, as will be revealed at the end of the seventh canto.” (Viśvanāth himself has repeated this explanation in his comment on SB 3.7.10)

Bahuśira continues:
Here is a verse that says one can fall from Goloka where Rādhā is speaking to Mother Yaśodā:

śrī kṛṣṇasya varenāpi na sādho nirbhayo bhava
goloke cāpipatanam sambhavecca ku-yoginaḥ

"Oh good lady, do not become fearless by the boon of Śrī Kṛṣṇa - an imperfect yogī can also fall from Goloka"  (Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa, Kṛṣṇa Janma Khaṇḍa, ch.111, verse 5).

Fall from an absolutely perfect place is impossible. How can there be ku-yogis (bad yogis) in an absolutely perfect place? Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa, a Purāṇa in the mode of passion, is greatly interpolated. Mahāprabhu said, instead, that the Bhāgavata is the spotless authority – śāstraṁ bhāgavataṁ pramāṇam amalam. Not Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa  This verse is never quoted by the ācāryas and starkly contradicts the other śāstras and the verdict of all the ācāryas about jiva tattva. The imperative case in this verse ( 'he must fall down') indicates it could apply to falling from the heavens after good karma is depleted, as in kṣīṇe puṇye martya lokam viśanti (B.Gītā 9.21), so this verse either applies to some material heaven, called Goloka (like the one mentioned in S.B. 10.27.4) or is an interpolated apasiddhānta.

"In the Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Madhya Līlā 10.64, there is a narration of the servant of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, called Kāla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa, who was in the direct association with the Personification of Goloka Vrndavana, Gaura Naṭarāja, Caitanya Himself. Caitanya had to rescue him personally from the allurements of the Bhaṭṭaharis. Caitanya says directly "he left My company." Kāla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa fell down and the Lord had to rescue him. So even in direct association with the Lord one can fall down. Caitanya could have prevented it but he didn't. He let Kāla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa use his free will."

This is a līlā to teach something, just like the punishment of Chota Haridās - it does not prove fall from Goloka at all. Śrī Narottam Dās Thākur sings: gaurāṅgera saṅgī gaṇe nitya siddha kori māne – ‘All the associates of Gaurāṅga are nitya siddha [eternally perfect].’ Would nitya siddhas fall down?


Bhakta: "The Bhāgavat (3.31.1-16) says that the phoetus in the womb is hungry, bitten by worms and it is dirty inside, with stool and urine (whereas the bowels are a separate chamber from the womb), but modern medical science denies this. Did the ācāryas err when they preached this?"

Advaitadas: "It impossible to say. In their commentaries all the ācāryas do follow the text of the Bhagavat here, literally. Whether they knew the medical truth or not, the purpose of the ācāryas and such verses is to scare a certain class of people into submission to God - 'If you don't surrender you will suffer very much by having to take birth again etc etc.'. This is just the third canto - vaidhi bhakti means serving out of fear. rāgānugā bhakti means serving out of love."

Bhakta: 'Then it is described how the baby sees its last 100 births and prays to the Lord in the womb."

Advaitadas: 'That is something that medical science can neither confirm or deny, as it is on the metaphysical platform."

Bhakta: "Then what about the first verse of that chapter, which says that the soul enters the seed of the man even before conception? Pro-abortionists may then also play that down as a non-medical truth."

Advaitadas: 'It is just common sense that a living body cannot grow without having a soul in it. The phoetus grows in the womb from the very moment it is placed there by the father."


  1. Regarding womb tattva, much of the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby in the womb consists, in the late stages of gestation, of fetal urine. The baby is digesting and inhaling amniotic fluid during it's stay in the womb, all of which helps in it's bodily formation. (Wikipedia)

  2. That is interesting, Satya. But what about the worms that bite the phoetus, and the stool?

  3. Uses of Nitya

    There are literally many hundreds of examples in which the word nitya is applied to material things, the sense being constant, regular, always (within material time), etc. So frequent and common are these examples that we need not cite them here. Indeed, the word nitya in its adverbial forms, nityam, nityaçaù, nityadä, is the most common Sanskrit word for such basic terms as "always, regularly, continuously," etc. Apart from this sense of the word, nitya is used to mean eternal in a full spiritual sense in Vedic literature even prior to the Mahäbhärata. For example, both the Kaöha Upaniñad and the Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad declare the Lord to be the supreme eternal being (nitya), who provides all that the many eternal beings (nityänäm) require.
    "There is one eternal among the many eternals, one conscious being among the many conscious beings; it is that One who satisfies all the needs of the many." (Kaöha Upaniñad 5.13; Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad 6.13)*
    The connection between the mundane and the spiritual use of the word is obvious: if we take the word "always" to its logical conclusion, "always" means eternally. In the Second Chapter of the Gétä, Kåñëa employs the word nitya four times to say that the soul is eternal, in the full spiritual sense:
    "These bodies of the eternal (nitya), embodied, indestructible, immeasurable soul are said to have an end. Therefore fight, O Bhärata!" (Bg. 2.18)*
    "He [the soul] does not take birth nor does he die at any time; having existed, he will never cease to be. Unborn, eternal (nitya), everlasting (çäçvata), this primordial being is not slain when the body is being slain." (Bg. 2.20)*
    "If one knows this soul to be indestructible, eternal (nitya), unborn, inexhaustible, O Pärtha, whom can he kill, and whom can he cause to kill?" (Bg. 2.21)*
    "This [soul] cannot be cut, he cannot be burned or moistened, nor can he be dried up. He is eternal (nitya), goes everywhere though stationary; he is unmoving, sanätana." (Bg. 2.24)*
    It is significant that in all four verses, the word nitya is embedded within a cluster of synonyms whose collective power points unmistakably to the full spiritual sense of eternal, i.e., that which has always existed and which will always continue to exist. This emphasis is required because virtually all of the words expressing eternality possess not only a strong literal sense, but also a weaker sense in which they indicate a long, but finite, period of time, or in many cases, such words may indicate much less than that, i.e., mere continuity, or the full lifetime of a person.

  4. Anon, I am not sure what point you try to make, and on which issue. Is it about the associates of Gauranga being nitya siddha? If they were not nitya siddha then Gauranga would at one point have been without some or all His associates and He and His pastimes would not be eternal. That would be unacceptable and contrary to all logic and shastra.

    If it is about the jiva's conditioning, it is said in many statements by acaryas and shastra that this is not nitya but anAdi instead, which means beginningless.

  5. Secondly, anon -
    I do not know who propounded this interpretation of nitya, nor what his/her scriptural evidence is to prove his/her point.

    This is from Satyanarayan Das' 'From Vaikuntha not even the leaves fall' about the word nitya, meaning genuine eternality:

    "In nyaya sastra there are two types of abhava, or non-existence, anyonyabhava and samsargabhava. Anyonyabhava means that one object is different from another. A pen is not paper and vice versa. Samsargabhava is of three types--pradhvamsabhava, atyantabhava, and pragabhava. Pradhvamsabhava and atyantabhava cannot be the meaning of samsargabhava in the present context. Pradhvamsabhava means post non-existence. It refers to something that has a beginning, but no end. Before it is made a sweetball does not exists. When it is made it comes into existence. When somebody eats the sweetball it again becomes non-existent. This non-existence, called ananta in philosophy, has a beginning but no end. This meaning of samsargarabhava cannot be the equivalent of anadi because karma, which is anadi, has no beginning but has an end. The second meaning of samsargabhava, atyantabhava, means eternal non-existence. The non-existence which neither has a beginning nor end is called atyantabhava. This is the definition of the word nitya, eternal. For example there is no mango tree in the ocean, there was never a time that one existed in past, nor one expects it to grow there in future. Therefore the non-existence of a mango tree in the ocean has no beginning and it will never come to an end. It is nitya."

  6. I posted the comment below in a article that attempted to address some similar points:

    Perhaps it is worth considering given the context of the present post.

    "Srila Jiva Goswami states in Bhakti-sandarbha (Anuccheda 151) that it is in fact very rare that an unborn child remembers the Lord while in the womb. Accounts given in scripture to this effect constitute a generalization of the plight of the conditioned living entity. In this case, the description of the praying fetus is meant to glorify the independent nature of bhakti, which is not hampered under any circumstances and can be performed even in the womb. While this may be true, it is still uncommon that a person actually does so."

  7. Karma can refer to spiritual activity like in the sloka janma karma ca me divyam. so, karma is anadi, eternal, beginningless; it is the accompanying quality of the soul. Karma is spiritual in the Spiritual world and material in the material world. It is interesting to note that Krishna does not call his activities akarma but karma. In the context of the sloka it does not refer to activity that brings karmic reaction. karma of the living entity will never stop only its quality is different: material or spiritual. Material karma has end. On this point I agree with the nyaya explanation, a philosophy which is by the way rejected in Vedanta sutra (and so I am not so sure if this is so good reference to prove your point).

  8. Anon,
    if you refer to the sutra that karma is anAdi, if that would really mean that at first karma is devotional service in the spiritual sky and then one falls down from the spiritual world, a world of complete perfection, and then it degenerates into fruitive activities in the material world, you should be able to prove that from the commentaries on the sutra, and no commentary on the Sutra says such a thing, nor is such a thing mentioned in any shastra for that matter. In fact, there are scores of texts, both in shastra and in the acaryas' comments, that say that not only karma but also avidya or ajnana is anAdi, so that definitely establishes the case for us not having fallen from the spiritual world, and for the word 'karma' meaning conditioned activities based on ajnana and avidya. Indeed, some of these texts have been quoted in this very blog and many more of them have been quoted in previous blogs too, not to speak of the 'Leaves' book. Though Krishna's divine activities have been called karma in this one instance [janma karma ca me divyam, note the adjective 'divyam' in the text, which shows this is a special case], pure devotional service is never called Karma but bhakti.

    Please quote where the Vedanta sutra rejects nyaya and explain why the unknown source, which gives the interpretation of nitya without any reference from shastra should be accepted, but nyaya shastra should be rejected instead? Then at least give me the source of information on your interpretation of the word nitya.

  9. Part 1

    In Çrémad-Bhägavatam 11.10.37, Uddhava says to Lord Kåñëa:
    "The same, single entity is said to be eternally liberated and eternally conditioned. That is my confusion."*
    Uddhava's confusion here is obvious: the words nitya-mukta and nitya-baddha mean, respectively, "eternally liberated" and "eternally bound." Then, since nitya, "eternally," means "without beginning or end," how can a single person be liberated without beginning or end, and also bound without beginning or end? Taken literally, the terms nitya-mukta and nitya-baddha are logically incompatible. Lord Kåñëa Himself will resolve this dilemma, namely, that çästras such as Çrémad-Bhägavatam describe the same living being as both nitya-mukta and nitya-baddha. Thus Çrédhara Svämé comments on this verse:
    "He [Uddhava] states: 'Since liberation is brought about (at a particular time) and because this entails its not being eternal, would it be acceptable to call [a soul who achieves liberation] nitya-mukta? Therein lies my confusion.'"*
    In Çrémad-Bhägavatam (11.11.1-3) Lord Kåñëa answers Uddhava's question about the eternality of both liberation and bondage for an embodied soul.
    "The Supreme Lord said: The terms 'bound' and 'liberated' are an explanation from the modes of nature, not from real substance. Because mäyä is the root of the modes [and I am the Lord of mäyä], there is no liberation or bondage for Me." (Bhäg. 11.11.1)*
    Çréla Çrédhara Svämé comments on this verse in the following way:
    "[Regarding] that which was spoken [by Uddhava:] 'A single person alone is eternally liberated, eternally bound, [this is] my confusion,' is that [statement] a contradiction in substance or in belief? Not the former, because bondage and liberation have no real substantiality. This is stated in two verses, beginning with the words baddho mukta iti. 'The soul is bound and liberated not in substance but by the material modes; that is, by the designations of the modes of goodness, etc., which are dependent on Me.'
    "One may raise the objection that even when [the bondage and liberation of the soul are based] on a condition of material designations, still there is substantiality [in this world] in activities such as cooking rice. How would that not be [the case]? In reply it is said,

  10. Part 2

    "'Because the modes of nature are based on mäyä, there is no bondage. Therefore there is also no liberation.'
    "One may then object: 'How is something that contradicts all the çästras being spoken?' In reply it is said in this verse [by the Lord Himself]:
    "'That is My explanation,' i.e., 'Thus I have made My decision. Enough with these exceedingly bad arguments!'
    "This is the meaning. Or it is also construed in this way:
    "'The soul is bound, liberated.' This explanation, or statement, based on the modes of nature, [is coming] from a dependence on the modes, which come from Me."
    "In this case, the Lord states that He is separate from that, since He is personally the controller of the modes, being their cause. Thus [the Lord states:] 'For Me there is neither bondage nor liberation.' The rest [of the verse] is the same, [as explained above]."*
    There are several important conclusions that we may draw here:
    1. Çrédhara Svämé contrasts vastu, substance, with pratéti, belief or opinion.
    2. He explains that Lord Kåñëa resolves the conflict by saying that the very terms nitya-mukta and nitya-baddha exist in the realm of mäyä. This is true in two senses: a) the condition described by these terms is a product of the modes of nature; b) the language itself is a product of mäyä, since the Lord declares in this verse that mäyä is the root of the modes.
    3. The conflict in language is resolved by saying that the language is not literal, but rather comes from the same illusory realm that it describes.
    4. Since the same person cannot be, literally, eternally liberated and eternally conditioned, it must follow that the words are being used in a nonliteral sense.
    5. In their book, the authors suggest that nitya means anädi when referring to material bondage. But that is also a non-literal interpretation, and it is not the one given by the Lord Himself, nor by Çrédhara Svämé in his commentary on the verses that directly deal with the logical contradiction entailed in the statement that the very same soul is nitya-baddha and nitya-mukta.

  11. Anon,
    1. It is only a matter of etiquette that you first answer my challenge in my previous post and provide the evidence I asked for there. You did not do so.

    2. Those two posts new posts of yours are, sorry to say, a gut-wrenching pot of sophistry (kutarka), which I am not going to tax my brain or spend my time on. If any other well-thinking Vaishnava wishes to argue with this, they are welcome to do so.

    3. But one thing is clear, and if you had studied my blog carefully you would have read it, the contrast is indeed there - we are conditioned from beginningless time (see the mountains of evidence I referred to previously, or just type 'anAdi' in the search box of this blog) and yet we are also eternally in the spiritual sky (see Priti Sandarbha 10, also quoted in previous blogs of mine).
    A good study for you would be my blog of August 5, 2006.

    4. The fact that we are spirit soul and therefore there is some relativity in our bondage and liberation does not mean that we are not bound now. This is beating around the bush. Don't beat someone and then suddenly say 'well, you're not this body anyway'. In other words, if it doesn't matter because it is all an illusion anyway then please do not consume my time unnecessarily.

  12. Anon, I have studied Satyanarayan's Leaves-book on the verses you mentioned in your post (11.11.1-4), and here is what the acaryas have to say about it:

    He (Krishna) says that bondage and liberation is caused by Maya, which has no beginning (Bhag.11.11.3):

    vidyavidye mama tanu
    viddhy uddhava saririnam
    moksa-bandha-kari adye
    mayaya me vinirmite

    "O Uddhava, both knowledge and ignorance, being products of maya, are expansions of My potency. Both knowledge and ignorance are beginningless and perpetually award liberation and bondage to embodied living beings.

    Here the phrase "perpetually awards liberation and bondage" means that jiva is in bondage which is perpetual. This implies that it has no beginning but has an end, because bondage comes to an end at the time of liberation. When one attains liberation, that is also perpetual. What is ultimately implied here is that bondage has no beginning, but has an end; and liberation has a beginning, but has no end. However, this description applies only to baddha-jivas. Since Maya has no influence over the nitya-muktas because she does not exist in Vaikuntha, the nitya-mukta jivas, are liberated without beginning and without end. The phrase mayaya me vinirmite, "manufactured by My maya" applies only in the material world. Lord Krsna further said (11.11.4):

    ekasyaiva mamamsasya
    jivasyaiva maha-mate
    vidyaya ca tathetarah

    "O most intelligent Uddhava, the living entity, called jiva, is part and parcel of Me, but due to ignorance he has been suffering in material bondage since time immemorial. [1] By knowledge, however, he can be liberated.

    Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, commenting this verse writes, asya avidyaya bandhah sa ca karmano'naditvad anadih moksa-sambhavat santah itaro moksah janyatvat sadiranasvaratvanniranto jneyah, "The living entity is bound by avidya. This bondage has no beginning, anadi, because karma is anadi; but it is possible to achieve liberation from bondage, therefore bondage has an end. On the other hand, moksa is generated, therefore it has a beginning--but it has no end because it cannot be destroyed."
    From this it is clear that the word anadi is used for a condition that has no beginning but can have an end. This is how the word has been used by Vedic scholars. Anadi is the negation of the word adi or beginning."

  13. Meconium in the amniotic fluid is infant stool. There can certainly be infections in the amniotic sac during pregnancy, which may be the reference to worms.

    No need to continue the discussion about fallvada. Everyone has their opinion and they are not looking for revelation or realization.

    Jaya appearance of Sri Radha Kunda and the wonderful, loving adventures of Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundara!