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Friday, October 30, 2009

Prema's growth from childhood to adolescence

Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda's commentary on Śrīmad Bhāgavat 1.6.23 (22 in BBT edition):


sakṛd yad darśitaṁ rūpam etat kāmāya te’nagha |
mat-kāmaḥ śanakaiḥ sādhu sarvān muncati hṛc-chayān ||

tarhi hā hā punar apy eka-vāraṁ darśanaṁ dehi ity ata āha—sakṛd iti | etad eka-vāra-darśanaṁ te kāmāya tan manorathaṁ sādhayituṁ yogyam ity arthaḥ | na tu muhur darśanam | autkaṇṭhasyānativṛddhyā premṇo’py anatijāta-premṇe bhaktāya sādhaka-dehe eka-vāram eva darśanaṁ dadāmīti mama niyamaḥ | yathā sādhaka-dehe bāla-bhūtaḥ premā viyogautkaṇṭhyena labdhātivṛddhiḥ siddha-dehe taruṇaḥ san svādhāraṁ bhaktaṁ muhur api māṁ darśayati sākṣāt sevayati ceti sva-bhakta-manoratha-pūrti-prakāram aham eva jānāmi na tu me svabhakta iti bhāvaḥ | mat-kāmaḥ—yo hi māṁ kāmayate, mātraṁ mad-darśanlālābhe’pīty arthaḥ | hṛcchayān viṣaya-vāsanāḥ atrāpi sarvān mokṣyasi hṛcchayān ity ukter nāradaṁ prati nedaṁ vākyaṁ kintu svabhakteḥ svabhāvaṁ tvaṁ jnāpayāmāsety evātra tattvaṁ sarvam idaṁ dainya-vardhanārtham ity eke ||23||


Verse translation:
(Lord Viṣṇu showed himself once to Nārada Muni and then told him:)
"O sinless Nārada! I showed myself once to produce a desire in you to see Me. The devotee so desiring Me gradually becomes freed of all material desires."

Commentary:
(Nārada said:) "But just show yourself once more to me ! "
(Lord Viṣṇu replied:) "Seeing Me only once, not many times, is enough to produce desire for Me. By only slight increase in longing, prema will not develop to the state of youthfulness in a person having somewhat weak prema. My rule is that I show myself one time only to a person practicing in his present body (in his sādhaka-deha) who has developed prema. The infant state of prema in the sādhaka's body matures to a youthful state in the siddha-deha by an increase of prema arising from longing in separation. (There seems to be growth still in the siddha deha too, unlike with the impersonalists, whose perfection is static). That youthful prema allows the devotee to see Me constantly and serve Me directly. I alone, and not My devotee, know the process of fulfilling the desires of My devotee. You, who simply desire Me, even without having seen Me, will become free from all desires for material enjoyment (hṛcchayan)."

This statement does not actually apply to Nārada since he did not have any material desires, being at the level of prema already. But saying this, the Lord shows the nature of devotion. Additionally by saying this, the Lord increases the humility of Nārada."

(Verse and commentary translated by Bhānu Swāmi)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

janme janme prabhu se


Last year I compiled the scriptural anthology ‘The glories of the (one) Guru’ (posted on madangopal.com) mainly to show that the Guru is a distinct person, not some universal tattva that can be supplemented by so many self-chosen śikṣā-gurus and that appears as another person in each lifetime. Narottam Dās Thākur clearly says 'janme janme prabhu se' ('He is my master, birth after birth'). Today I found these texts in Sanātan Goswāmī’s Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta (2.4.3-4)-

bhaktiṁ nava-vidhaṁ samyag jñatvedaṁ vanam āgataḥ
apaśyaṁ sahasaivātra śrīmad-guru-varaṁ nijam
pūrvavad rājamano'sau dṛṣṭvā māṁ praṇataṁ mudā
sāsīrvādaṁ samāliṅgya sarvajño’kṛpayat-taram

Gopakumāra said: “Having learned the nine types of devotion I came to this forest Vṛndāvana where I suddenly saw my own Śrī Guru. He shone just like before. Seeing me offering my obeisances to him he was very glad, blessed me and embraced me. Then that omniscient one was most kind (to instruct me in the secrets of bhakti).”

Note: The word ‘nijam’, ‘my own’, shows that Śrī Guru did not appear in the form of some other person replacing him/her – it was the very same person.

Sanātana Gosvāmī comments on verse 4: asau guru-varaḥ pūrvavad rājamana iti nirvikāritvādi bhagavad avatāra-lakṣaṇaṁ mathurā vrajabhumī rasikatvaṁ ca darśitam-

"Though Gopakumāra had been to the heavens and a long time had passed (meaning thousands of years), Śrī Guru was unchanged, which shows that he/she is an avatāra of the Lord and a rasika of Mathurā and Vrajabhūmi as well."

This confirms the eternality of the Guru as a distinct individual (not just a tattva) as glorified in Narottama's song: 'janme janme prabhu se' ('He is my master, birth after birth').

The rest of Sanātana Gosvāmī’s commentary is interesting and important, too, so I’d like to add this too –

akṛpayattaram atyantam kṛpāṁ kṛtavān akhilaṁ parama rahasyaṁ bhakti-tattvam anubhava paryantam upadiśad ityarthaḥ yataḥ sarvajñaḥ

“He was very compassionate, so he instructed me in all the greatest secrets of bhakti, including the realizations about it. (This was possible because) it came from the omniscient.”

This text has also been added to ‘ The glories of the (one) Guru’, p. 9, on madangopal.com, linktab 'Articles'.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sādhu Bābā’s promise

Kṛṣṇā Didi told me once in Sādhu Bābā’s ashram:

“Bābā said that all knowledge and perfection lies in the mantra that he gives you.”

Sādhu Bābā’s promise confirmed

By Sanātan Goswāmī in Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta (2.3.5-6)


snātvā sva-datta-mantrasya dhyānādi-vidhim uddiśan |
kiñcin mukhena kiñcic ca saṅketenābhyavedayat ||5||

jagāda ca nijaṁ sarvam idaṁ preṣṭhāya te’dadām |

sarvam etat-prabhāvena svayaṁ jñāsyasi lapsyase ||6||

“Having bathed, Śrī Guru instructed me in the rules of how to practise my mantra and how to meditate on it. Some instructions he gave me verbally and some through gestures. He said: ‘I have given you, my dear one, everything. Whatever other secrets there are you will learn it spontaneously, by the power of this mantra. «

Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī’s commentary of verse 6:

nanu saṅketopadeśena tatra ca kṣaṇikena kathaṁ tat tad aśesa-vidhi-jñānam sidhyet. satyaṁ tasyaivānugrahād ityāha - jagādeti. sarvam uddiṣṭam anuddiṣṭam api sādhanaṁ sādhyaṁ ca. etasya mad dattasya saṅga mantrasya prabhāvena svayam eva jñāsyasi prāpsyapi ca ātmasāt kariṣyasi.

"If you say, ‘how can the Guru, with just some gestures and instructions, within a moment, accomplish (the śiṣya's) endless knowledge of divine truths? (Then to that the response is:) Truly, it all happens by his grace alone - (attainment and realization of) all the sādhana and sādhya (means and goals) that are described and not described. (The Guru says :) "By the power of the mantra I gave and its ritual applications (saṅga) you will know everything spontaneously, and after you received it you will make it your own (realize it) too."

The texts are added to Sādhu Bābā’s biography (page 20, footnote) and my essay ‘The glories of the (one) Guru’ (page 8, linktab 'Articles') on madangopal.com

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.

Bahuśira-
"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?

Womb-tattva:

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."

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The syntax of the tārak brahma nāma

Bhaktas in action in Sādhu Bābā's āśram


I recently received a copy of this discussion in Iskcon circles about whether the tārak brahma nāma (hare kṛṣṇa mantra) originally started with hare rāma or with hare kṛṣṇa. There is a hearsay that Mahāprabhu changed it because of objections by smārtas, that hare kṛṣṇa-first is only for Brahmins, but this seems to be untrue.

“The question is:

Originally the mahā-mantra was recited as follows:

hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare

Thereafter it was changed to start as follows:

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare

So when, why and who made this change?

Answer: What Makes You Think It Was Changed?

The person who has asked this question has been misinformed and has thus come to the misunderstanding that the mahā-mantra originally began with Hare Rāma and that someone has changed it to begin with Hare Kṛṣṇa. This is not a fact. He must have heard from those persons who are propagating this false idea that the mahā-mantra was originally in the following sequence:

hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare
hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare

Those in this school of thought sometimes refer to the edition of the Kali-Santarana Upaniṣad published by Venkatesh Press, Mumbai, which states that this mahā-mantra begins with the words:

hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare
followed by
hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare.

But earlier publications of the Kali-Santaraṇa Upaniṣad clearly state that the mahā-mantra begins with hare kṛṣṇa, and not with hare rāma. These earlier publications are still preserved in libraries in Calcutta and Jaipura. There are also many other authoritative Vedic texts which present the mahā-mantra beginning with hare kṛṣṇa. For the sake of brevity we will mention only a few of them here:

Ananta Saṁhitā:

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare
ṣoḍāṣaitāni nāmāni dvātriṁśad varna kāni hi
kalau yuge mahāmantrah sammato jīva tārane

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare - This hari-nāma mahāmantra consists of sixteen names and thirty-two syllables. In Kali-yuga this mantra can deliver all jīvas.”

In the Brahma Yāmala, Lord Shiva states:


harim binā nāsti kincat pāpani-stārakam kalau
tasmāl-lokod-dhārāna-ārtham hari-nāma prakāsayet
sarvatra mucyate loko mahāpāpāt kalau yuge
hare-krsna pada dvandvam krsneti ca pada-dvayam
tathā hare-pada-dvandvam hare-rāma iti dvayam
tad-ante ca mahādevi- rāma rāma dvayam vadet
hare hare tato bru-yād harināma samud dharet
mahāmantram ca krsnasya sarva pāpa pranāsakam

“He Mahādevi! Look! In Kali-yuga there is no easier way to eradicate sins than by hari-nāma. It is therefore essential to propagate hari-nāma among the general populace. The people in Kali-yuga can be easily liberated from the greatest hell by performing sankīrtana of this mahā-mantra. To chant the mahā-mantra, first chant Hare Kṛṣṇa twice, then chant Kṛṣṇa twice, then Hare twice. After that, chant Hare Rāma twice, then Rāma twice and again Hare twice. One should chant, articulate and perform saṅkīrtana etc., of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mahā-mantra, which destroys all sins.”

In the Rādhāhṛdya Khaṇḍa of the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa, Romaharṣana Suta prays to Śrī Vedavyāsa as follows:


yat tvayā kirtitam nātha hari-nāmeti sanjitam
mantram brahmāpadam siddhi karam

“He Vibho! He Prabhu! Please instruct me in the brahma svarūpa nāma mantra of Śrī Hari which is the bestower of all perfections.”

In reply, Śrī Vedavyāsa gives the following instruction:


grhanād yasya mantrasya dehi brahmāmayo bhavet
sadhyah pūtah surāpo ‘pi sarvāsiddhi-yuto bhavet
tad-aham te bhidhāsyāmi mahābhāgavato hamsi

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare


iti ṣoḍasakam nāmnām tri-kāla kalmaṣāpaham
nātah parataropāyah sarva vedeṣu vidhyate

“O my son, I will certainly instruct you in that mahā-mantra, the acceptance of which a person in the bodily conception of life can be liberated and even a drunkard can quickly become purified and attain all perfection. I will instruct you because you are a mahā-bhāgavata and a suitable candidate. Just see! The sixteen word mahā-mantra, hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare, can destroy the sins of the three worlds. The four Vedas do not mention a method for achieving liberation from material bondage superior to the chanting of this mahā-mantra.”

Ananta Samhitā also states:


hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare


soḍasautāni nāmāni dvātrimṣad varnākāni hi
kalāu yuge mahāmantrah sammato jivā tārane
utsrājyaitan-mahāmantram ye tvanyat kalpitam padam
mahā-nāmeti gāyanti te ṣāstra-guru-lani-ghanah

“All śāstras agree that the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, which is composed of sixteen names and thirty-two syllables, is the illustrious mantra to deliver the jīvas in Kali-yuga. Those who neglect this mahā-mantra and accept any other process, due to their own imagination or the imagination of others, are actually disobeying Guru and śāstra. If someone asks, ‘Why is this sixteen word Hare Kṛṣṇa-mantra the mahā-mantra' then the following answer is given.

‘Among all of Kṛṣṇa’s names’ no name other than Hari can easily take away sins, great misfortune and ignorance. No name other than Kṛṣṇa can deliver prema. And no name other than Rāma can bestow liberation.’ This is why the mahā-mantra is composed of these three primary names. Secondly, these sixteen names are an invocation. OṀ, svāhā, etc., are not required to make the mantra more potent. For this reason it is called the mahā-mantra.”