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Friday, December 24, 2010

Quotes from Gopāl Campūḥ

These are some interesting things I read in Śrī Jīva Goswāmī's Gopāla Campūḥ:

Gopāla Campūḥ 20.2 (the story of Varuṇa's agents abducting Nanda Mahārāja)–

eṣa nivāsa-viśeṣaś ca tasya jala-stambha-vidyālambhitāra-bhavān svata eva bhāsvān bhāsvat-kanyā-hrada-stha-vivarasyādhaḥ-pradeśe sadeśa eva rasā-vivara-deśe niveśam āsīdati 

"Varuṇa has a certain mystic power [vidyā] with which he manages to block water [jala-stambha] out of his abode, which is a hole underground under the Yamunā."

Hence pictures that depict Kṛṣṇa visiting Varuṇa under water are not correct.

Gopāla Campūḥ 20.29:

cacāla ca sa tābhyāṁ saha yāvad-vivarābhyāsam | āgamya ca tad-abhyāsaṁ tad-vartma-bhāga-sthita-nīraṁ vibhāgam āgamayya 

"Varuṇa accompanied Kṛṣṇa and Nanda Mahārāja till the gate of the cave in which he dwelled and there made a cleavage in the water so that they could easily return to the surface of the Yamunā."

A piece of adhyātmika vāda in Gopāla Campūḥ 21.20 -

dāma-sudāma-vasudāma-kiṅkiṇi-saṁjñās tasya prajñāhaṅkāra-citta-manasāṁ bahiḥ-prakāśatayā 

"Dāma, Sudāma, Vasudāma, and Kiṅkiṇī - these boys are external manifestations of Kṛṣṇa's wisdom, ego, consciousness and mind."

Gopāla Campūḥ 33.104 -

atha mathurām eva rāmeṇa saha sahacara-yadu-kumāra-vṛtaḥ pratigatya patyabhāvavataḥ puruṣā mleccatas tān mleccha-yodhān nidhanam eva rodhayamānas tad-amāna-dhanāni nija-rājadhānīti dvārakāṁ hārayann api mleccha-paricchadatayā manasi nācchatāṁ maṁsyase 

"After killing them, Kṛṣṇa will take the unlimited booty of mlecchas like Kālayavan to Dwārkā but will not consider it pure since it was used by the mlecchas."

This proves that money from mlecchas is untouchable. It is not that Hindus can enjoy the money and women of mlecchas (western devotees) and not accept their devotional service, as often happens in Indian Sadhu communities. Either one is totally untouchable or totally acceptable.

Gopāla Campūḥ 33.253 -

tad idaṁ guptam api kṛtam ādi-varāha-nāmā bhagavān api sva-purāṇe sākṣitayā lakṣayatīti sarvathātra nānyathā mantavyam | yathā—

dyūta-krīḍā bhagavatā kṛtā gopa-janaiḥ saha |
paṇāvahāra-rūpeṇa jitā gopyo dhanāni ca |
gopair ānīya tatraiva kṛṣṇāya viniveditāḥ || iti |

“Though this subject is concealed, Varāha in his Purana reveals this. You should not consider this false at all. In the Varaha Purana it is said that Kṛṣṇa won the gopīs, along with wealth, in a dice game from the gopas. Brought by the cowherds they were offered to Kṛṣṇa.”

I am curious what the rest of the Varāha Purāṇa-text would say about this.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Girrirāj and the following darkness

11 December 2010 - Girirāja parikramā on foot, the first one in 6 years time. I thought I was too old to do it but I managed to complete it. I was crippled only two years ago and even 8 months ago I was still undergoing therapy, and yet now I walk 23 km. [14 miles] in one stretch! It is clearly Girrāj's mercy. Despite all property development around Girrāj the parikramā on foot is still a magical experience. The inner path is still vintage, pristine Girirāj, with so much śānti. It was non-different from the many beautiful parikramās I performed in 1985 and 1987. I must confess I took some artificial aid to complete the parikramā - 1 loperamide in the beginning to secure the stomach (to prevent having to do big toilet on the way), and halfway, at Pucchari Ka Lota, a cup of tea to give me strength for the second half.

This was also the end of my 2010 Radhakund-trip, which was my best trip to India for at least 7 years, in very sharp contrast with the previous trip in 2008, which was one of the worst ones.

Now back in Holland - it is said in śāstra that after seeing light, the following darkness is all the more deep. How true it is. Though the weather was fine when I returned, the emptiness of missing Braja is almost too much to bear this time.

My special thanks for this trip go to HH Mahānidhi Swami, Jāhnavā Didi, HG Ananda Hari Das, HG Bhaktipāda Das, Madhavānand [Delhi-walla], Indurekhā Didi and Jayadevī.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Viśvanātha's nāma-tattva, part 2

Among the ten offenses, the very strong effects of interpreting the name, thinking its glories are exaggeration and equating it to pious acts—are obstacles to being a Vaiṣṇava. Among the other offenses two are very strong—offending the devotees and committing sin on the strength of chanting. Those two are particularly described in a frightening way.

yataḥ khyātiṁ yātam katham u sahate tad vigarham

How can the name tolerate criticism of those who spread the name? (Padma Purāṇa)

nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhir na vidyate tasya yamair hi śuddhiḥ

For a person who commits sin on the strength of chanting there is no purification by the servants of Yama. (Padma Purāṇa)

There is no other means of destroying the effects of these two offenses than to continually chant the name while suffering appropriately for the offense. The effects of the other offenses will be destroyed simply by continual chanting (without the suffering).

Some people make the following proposition:
"Those offenders of the name who are without karma and jñāna, and who practice bhakti with hearing and chanting but have not taken initiation because they have not surrendered to the feet of a guru are still called Vaiṣṇavas. The word vaiṣṇava is defined as 'the person who takes Viṣṇu as his object of worship' according to Pāniṇī's sūtras 4.2.24 and 4.3.95. Thus Vaiṣṇavas are those who have made Viṣṇu the object of worship by accepting initiation but also those who make Viṣṇu the object of worship simply by worship, since there is no other word to describe the two types of people. So the latter type of persons also should not fall to hell."

This however is not correct because one cannot attain the Lord easily without Guru.

nṛ-deham ādyam su-labham su-durlabham
plavaṁ su-kalpaṁ guru-karṇa-dhāram
mayānukūlena nabhasvateritam
pumān bhavābdhiṁ na taret sa ātma-hā

"Having attained the human body, rarely attained, but attained easily sometimes by good fortune, which is like a well-constructed boat, with the Guru as the captain, pushed by the favorable wind of serving me, a person who does not cross the ocean of material existence is a killer of himself." (SB 11.20.17)

Therefore it should be explained that there is no other way of attaining the Lord than by becoming a devotee who has surrendered to the feet of a Guru, who will be attained in another birth by the power of worship. "But it is seen that Ajāmila, without surrendering to guru easily attained the Lord." This can be explained as follows. Those who, like cows or asses, make their senses pursue sense objects cannot know the Lord, bhakti or Guru even in their dreams. But as in the case of Ajāmila, they can be delivered even without Guru by chanting the name in namābhāsa without offense. Though it has been definitely ascertained that the Lord should be worshiped, that worship is the means of attaining him, that the Guru is the person who teaches about worship, and that those who are devotees attain the Lord, it is also said:

no dīkṣāṁ na ca sat-kriyāṁ na ca puraścaryāṁ manāg īkṣate
mantro'yaṁ rasanā-spṛg eva phalati śrī-kṛṣṇanāmātmakaḥ || [padyā. 29]

"Chanting the holy name does not depend on initiation, pious activities or the puraścarya regulative principles generally observed before initiation. The holy name does not wait for any of these activities. It is self-sufficient."  (Padyāvalī)

As well, we have the example of Ajāmila. But one who thinks, "What is the benefit of taking the trouble to accept Guru'- I will attain the Lord just by chanting the name," will not attain the Lord, because of the offense of offending Guru (third offense). However, in this life or another life, if he surrenders to the feet of Guru after destroying his offense, he will then attain the Lord. Some people say that persons who worship devatās should be treated like the karmīs with sin and offense. Others say that Bhakti-devi places them in an even lower category because they do not have general surrender. Thus it is said:

ye’py anya-devatā-bhaktā yajante śraddhayānvitāḥ |
te’pi mām eva kaunteya yajanty avidhi-pūrvakam ||

Those who are devoted to other gods and with faith worship them-they also worship me, but by the wrong method, O son of Kunti. (Bhagavad Gītā 9.23)

But for those who are simply offenders there is no deliverance at all. It is said:

tān ahaṁ dviṣataḥ krūrān saṁsāreṣu narādhamān |
kṣipāmy ajasram aśubhān āsurīṣv eva yoniṣu ||

I cast those hateful, cruel, and lowest of humans, constantly doing evil, into repeated birth and death in the wombs of demons. (Bhagavad Gītā 16.19)

But some persons also say that these offenders' offenses are destroyed by mental absorption (in hatred) on the Lord since it is said

kāmād dveṣād bhayāt snehād yathā bhaktyeśvare manaḥ |
āveśya tad-aghaṁ hitvā bahavas tad-gatiṁ gatāḥ ||

Just as by vaidhi-bhakti one can attain one's spiritual goals, many persons have attained suitable forms, after absorbing their minds in the Lord out of lust, hatred, fear and family relationships filled with affection, and after giving up absorption in enmity of the Lord (in the case of hatred and fear). SB 7.1.30
This idea is represented in verses such as the following:

nāmāparadha-yuktānāṁ nāmāny eva haranty agham
aviśrānti-prayuktani tāny evārtha-karāṇi ca

Even if in the beginning one chants the holy name with offenses, one will become free from such offenses by chanting again and again. (Padma Purāṇa)

Others say that "absorption" means repeated meditation in order to be effective. Others say that there is no absolute rule when Kṛṣṇa appears in the world. Thus some persons without being absorbed in the Lord, but simply by being killed by the Lord—such as Narākasura, Bāṇāsura and the troops of the Kauravas and others simply by the influence of seeing the Lord attained the Lord. This was previously mentioned in the Bhāgavatam.

6.2.13 - From the moment he named his son Nārāyan, Ajāmila performed all atonements. This was also done without any offence to the name, either previously or currently.

6.2.14 — Chanting the name of the Lord, while indicating someone else, while joking, to fill up space while chanting verses, or chanting with neglect destroys unlimited sins and desires.” That desires are uprooted by nāmābhāsa is the exclusive opinion of Viśvanātha here. "Saṅketya means referring to someone like a son. parihāsyam iti prītigarbham eva na tu nindā-garbham "Parihāsya means calling jokingly but with affection, not with criticism. yathā bho vikhyāta kīrte kṛṣṇa nāma dṛṣṭvā tava kīrtir yato māṁ noddhartum aśakyas tvam iti. "Oh famous one! Your fame is like that of Kṛṣṇa, since you can save me." stobhaṁ kathā gītālāpādi pūraṇārthaṁ kṛtam. Stobha means to chant the name in order to provide proper meter during a discourse or a song. helanam atra helayā girir uddhṛta itivad yatna-rāhityam evocyate, yathā āhāra-vihāra-nidrādāv apy avahelayā eva yāvanti kṛṣṇa-nāmāny ayaṁ gṛhṇāti, na tāvanty anyaḥ prayatnenāpi gṛhītaṁ śaknuvantīti, na tu nindāvajñādikam, tathā sati nindāṁ bhagavataḥ śṛṇvan ity āder bhagavato nindake kiṁ vā viṣṇuneti tad-avamantari veṇādāv api doṣāvahatvaṁ "Hela means chanting with disregard, without attention, or as in 'Kṛṣṇa lifted Govardhana, casually [helayā]. Others cannot utter the name with effort as much as these persons who utter the name of Kṛṣṇa without effort, while eating, playing or sleeping. This chanting is also without criticism or disrespect.The Bhāgavat says [10.74.40] 'Anyone who does not leave the place where he hears criticism of the Lord or His votary will fall down."Thus critcism or disrespect like that of Vena, by saying 'What is the use of Viṣṇu?' is filled with fault [and thus does not have effect]."This shows that the attitude of 'as long as they say Kṛṣṇa,  even in a hostile manner - any publicity is good publicity' does not mean that the hostile chanter is benefited in any way, perhaps only that some name and publicity is given to Kṛṣṇa in non-Vedic countries. tasmād aśeṣāgha-haraṁ vāsanā-paryanta-sarva-pāpa-nāśakam - "aśeṣāghara-hara  means not only all sins but also desires are destroyed by chanting."

6.2.15  saṅketyādibhyo'nyasya pañcamasya vaivaśya prabhedam āha - patitaḥ prāsādādibhyaḥ skhalito mārgena bhagno bhagna gātraḥ sandaṣṭaḥ sarpādibhiḥ. tapto jvarādina. āhato daṇḍādina. There are five circumstances mentioned here in which one is not chanting deliberately. Falling from a building, falling from the road, breaking one’s bones, being bitten by snakes, being burned, punished, etc.

6.2.49 Ajāmila even attained the spiritual world. kim utā śraddhayā gṛhṇan – ‘What to speak of chanting with faith’? ṭīkā: "Ajāmila chanted without faith, but because he was dying - what to speak of chanting with faith? He chanting while dying, what to speak of chanting while living? He chanted to indicate his son, what to speak of chanting to indicate the Lord? He was very sinful, what to speak of when a sinless person chants?"

The fact that there is a clear distinction made between nāmābhāsa and deliberate chanting (‘with faith’) in this verse with the words 'kim utā śraddhayā ghṛṇan' proves once more that nāmābhāsa can never be a sādhana. To use the terms 'clearing stage' for nāmābhāsa clearly indicates a sādhana, an ongoing process, whereas it is in all cases described to be accidental chanting. An accident is not a stage. No ācārya speaks of nāmābhāsa as a stage of sādhana whatsoever.

6.5.11 Viśvanātha's commentary: anādi ādi-śūnyaṁ nijasya jīvātmano -bandhanaṁ - The word anādi in relationship to the jīva's bondage is without beginning." Here Viśvanātha firmly slams the door in the face of the fall-vādīs who try to squeeze an alternative meaning out of the word anādi.

6.16.57 Vaṁśīdhara speaks of vismṛtam, forgetting, as anādyajñāna, beginningless ignorance. Some who try to defend fall-vāda, do not mention this but jump to other conclusions, even using this ṭīkā of Vaṁśīdhara along with the usual material logic.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Viśvanātha's nāma-tattva, part 1

Arriving at the Sixth Canto, we start with the important story of Ajāmila and his nāmābhāsa.
Here is the first part of the purports of Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda on the story -

6.1.19   nātra bhakti-bhūmāpy apekṣaṇīya ity āha—sakṛd api, kiṁ punar asakṛt ? mano’pi, kiṁ punaḥ śrotrādi | tac ca mano guṇa-rāgi viṣayāsaktam, kiṁ punar guṇa-rāga-rahitam ? svapne’pi, kiṁ punaḥ sākṣāt tāvan-mātra-dhyānenaiva ? cīrṇaṁ niṣkṛtaṁ prāyaścittaṁ yais te | atra sakṛd ity ādi padaiḥ kasyacic chuddha-bhaktasya daivāt pāpānāṁ paunaḥpunye’py utkhāta-daṁṣṭoraga-daṁśānām iva teṣām akiñcitkaratvāt kuñjara-śaucavad ākṣepa-viṣayībhāvo’nucita eva—api cet sudurācāro bhajate māṁ [gītā 9.30] ity ādi vacanebhyaḥ

 “This purification does not even depend on the solid basis of bhakti. Even once remembering the Lord is sufficient, what to speak of many times. Even thinking by using the mind is sufficient, what to speak of hearing or uttering the name of the Lord. A mind which is materially attracted, sad guṇa rāgī, is sufficient, what to speak of a mind devoid of material attractions. Thinking even in dreams is sufficient, what to speak of meditation. Such persons have performed all atonements. From this statement the following should also be understood. Sometimes a pure devotee, by Fate, is seen to commit sin again and again, but that is insignificant like the bites of a snake whose poison-fangs were removed, he should not be reviled as taking an elephant’s bath, and it is improper to brand him/her a viṣayī, as it is said in the Bhagavad Gītā that api cet sudurācāro – “Even if a devotee is behaving very badly he is to be considered a sādhu.”

6.1.28-29trīn iti ajāmilena kṛtānām anantyānām api pāpānāṁ kāyika-vācika-mānasatvena traividhyāt traya eva yāmyā āgatāḥ, nārāyaṇa-nāmnaś caturakṣaratvāc catvāro viṣṇu-pārṣadā āgatā iti jñeyam | plāvitena plutatvaṁ nītena 

 ‘Three Yamadūtas came because the sins are performed with mind body and words. Four Viṣṇudūtas came because the name of Nārāyaṇa had four syllables."

6.2.8he nārāyaṇa, āya, sva-mātur aṅkāt mamāṅkam āgacchety apabhraṁśa-bhāṣayāpi jagāda, tadaivāgha-niṣkṛtaṁ kṛtam abhūd ity arthaḥ | caturakṣaram iti nārāyaṇa-nāmna eka-dvy-akṣareṇāpi sarva-pātaka-nāśo bhaved iti bhāvaḥ  

“Even chanting an abbreviated version of the name with just one or two syllables, as "Nārāyaṇa! Come from the lap of mummy to the lap of daddy!", destroys all sins.”

6.2.9-10 — "The chanting of the holy name of Lord Viṣṇu is the best process of atonement for a thief, for a drunkard, for one who betrays a friend or relative, for one who kills a brāhmaṇa, for one who indulges in sex with the wife of his guru or another superior, for one who kills women, the king, his father, or cows, and for all other sinful men. simply by chanting the holy name of Lord Viṣṇu, such sinful persons attract the attention of the Supreme Lord."

Viśvanātha’s long ṭīkā -
The name of the Lord may destroy sins, but how can nāmābhāsa be the atonement for thousands of grave sins which cannot be destroyed by thousands of twelve year vows?" stenaḥ means a gold thief. Chanting is the best atonement (suniṣkṛtam), since it destroys the root of sin. A twelve year vow of atonement, though it destroys the effects of sin, cannot destroy the root of sin. That is not the only result, because from chanting the name of the Lord, the Lord's mind dwells on that person who chants (tad-viṣayā-matiḥ). The Lord thinks, "This person belongs to me. 1 will always protect him." This is Śrīdhara Svāmī's meaning of the phrase.
The servants of Viṣṇu said, "Hearing his name being chanted, and remembering Ajāmila, the Lord ordered us to bring Ajāmila, who was chanting his name." Then how much more the Lord will remember a person who chants the Lord's name with a service attitude! This is the implication. To show this to the servants of Yama, the servants of Viṣṇu said that Ajāmila's chanting at the time of death had destroyed all his sins, but actually, from the first time that Ajāmila called his son Nārāyaṇa—out of all the times he called, all his sins had been destroyed. The rest of the chanting after that produced bhakti. The past tense of yad vyājahāra (he chanted) in verse 7 also indicates that from the first time he chanted the name, all sins had been destroyed. The word vivaśaḥ in that verse means "spontaneously, out of affection for his child."
"But after chanting repeatedly, he committed repeated sins such as going to the prostitute and drinking wine. In order to destroy those sins he had to chant at the end of his life, since there was again appearance of sin." This cannot be said, because it will be said later vaikuṇṭha-nāma-grahaṇam aśeṣāgha-haram: chanting the Lord's name destroys unlimited sins. (SB 6.2.16) The following verses also show that chanting releases one from the bondage of saṁsāra.

vartamānaṁ tu yat pāpaṁ yad bhūtaṁ yad bhaviṣyati 
tat sarvaṁ nirdahaty āśu govindānala-kīrtanāt 

"All sins in the present, past and future are quickly destroyed by chanting the name of Govinda, which is like fire." - Haribhakti-vilāsa 11.339

yan-nāma sakṛc chravaṇāt pukkaśo’pi vimucyate saṁsārāt 

By hearing one of your names once, even the outcaste is delivered from the material world. SB 6.16.44

naivam-vidhah puruṣa-kāra urukramasya
puṁsāṁ tad-aṅghri-rajasājita-ṣaḍ-guṇānām
citraṁ vidūra-vigataḥ sakṛd ādadīta
yan-nāmadheyam adhunā sajahāti bandham

Such power is not surprising from persons who have conquered the six senses by the dust from the lotus feet of the Lord, since even an outcaste becomes immediately free of bondage of karma by chanting the Lord's name even once. SB 5.1.35

Because there is no mention of a particular time span for the effect of nāmābhāsa to occur, it should be understood that by the first chanting there is destruction of all sins, all desires and as well, ignorance, which is the root cause, because only then sin will not reappear in the future.
"Why then did sin not leave Ajāmila after chanting the first time? How could he continue to be attached to the woman and commit sin lor so long, if all his sins had been destroyed?"
Like the karmas of the jīvanmukta which remain for some time simply as impressions, Ajāmila's sins which lasted till his death were like the bites of a toothless snake and did not generate results. Moreover the Lord himself will cause continuance of sin in order that other philosophies (karma-kāṇḍa etc.) will not be completely uprooted (since no one will have any faith at all in those processes). If one were to explain the scriptural statements concerning the powers of the name to be exaggerated praise of the Lord's name, then one would be committing offense. tathārtha-vādo hari-nāmni kalpanam: it is an offense to interpret the name or think its powers are exaggeration. (Padma Purāṇa)

nāmāśrayah kadācit syāt taraty eva sa nāmalah
nāmno hi satva suhrdo hy aparādhāt pataty adhah

One who takes shelter of the name at any time crosses material life by the name. One falls to hell from offense to the name of the Lord, who is the friend of all beings. Padma Purāṇa

artha-vādaṁ harer nāmni sambhāvayati yo naraḥ 
sa pāpiṣṭho manuṣyāṇāṁ niraye patanti sphuṭam 

"Those most sinful of men who interpret the name of the Lord fall to hell."
Kātyāyana Samhitā, Padma Purāṇa

yan-nāma-kīrtana-phalaṁ vividhaṁ niśamya
na śraddadhāti manute yad utārtha-vādam |
yo mānuṣas tam iha duḥkha-caye kṣipāmi
saṁsāra-ghora-vividhārti-nipīḍitāṅgam ||

"That person who, even after hearing about the wonderful results of chanting the Lord's name, refuses to develop sincere faith in the name, and on the contrary, interprets the name, is hurled by me into the deep gloom of material nescience alter being dragged through excruciating suffering." Padma Purāṇa

śruti-smṛti-purāṇeṣu nāma-māhātmya-vāciṣu
ye’rtha-vāda iti brūyur na teṣāṁ niraya-kṣayaḥ 

Persons who interpret the Śrutis, Smṛtis, and Purāṇas, which wonderfully glorify the Lord's name, stay in hell forever. (Jaimini Samhitā)

Thus from scriptures like Padma Purāṇa and Kātyāyana-samhitā there are thousands of statements showing fall-down from interpreting the name. Parīkṣit has just said:

kvacin nivartate 'bhadrāt kvacic carati tat punaḥ
prāyaścittam atho 'pārthaṁ manye kuñjara-śaucavat

After withdrawing from sin one commits the sin again. I think atonement is useless, like an elephant bathing. SB 6.1.10

He has condemned atonements because of seeing that the tendency for sin remains, but he does not criticize bhakti, though seeing sinful tendencies in some of the devotees.

yathā nāmabhāsa-balenājāmilo durācāro’pi vaikuṇṭhaṁ prāpitas tathaiva smārtādayaḥ sadācārāḥ śāstrajñā api bahuśo nāma-grāhiṇo’py artha-vāda-kalpanādi-nāmāparādha-balena ghora-saṁsāram eva prāpyanta  "Simply by chanting Lord Viṣṇu's name offenselessly the great sinner Ajāmila attained Vaikuṇṭha, but even the greatest scholarly smārta brahmaṇa or the greatest puritan will remain in this hellish  material world if he commits offenses like artha-vāda hari nāmna kalpanam (speculating another meaning out of the holy name). But one should not worry that everyone will immediately become liberated on seeing such power in the name. Though sin is completely uprooted just by chanting the name even once, in most cases the name shows its fruits to the world after some time, just as fruit trees bear fruit after some time only, not immediately. And in some cases the name does not show its effects at all, in order that the material scriptures (such as karma-kāṇḍa) are not completely destroyed (by loss of faith in them). Then, after doing this, the name lakes the person who has chanted without offense to the Lord's abode. This conclusion should be understood. I accept that because of offense to the name, those who interpret the Name as an exaggeration go to hell. However, if chanting the name destroys all sins, all karmīs, jñānīs, yogīs and bhaktas should not go to hell for illicit sex or violence if they chant. And if the name does not destroy all sin, all these people, and even the bhakta, should go to hell to suffer the results of their sin, even if they chant."
Though a merchant protects a person under his shelter according to the degree that the person surrenders to him, if the person offends him, the merchant becomes displeased with him and does not give protection to that surrendered person. But one should not think that the merchant is incapable of protecting him. And according to the degree that the offense diminishes, the merchant begins to show mercy to that person. When the offense is completely gone, the merchant shows all mercy. The name is similar. Those who take shelter of Bhakti-devi, representing the name, as a secondary practice, in order to bring out results of karma and jñāna, are called karmīs or jñānīs, even though bhakti is present in a minor position. This is according to the rule that things are named according to the predominant factor.' They are thus not called Vaiṣṇavas. By their natures they are offenders to the name in one aspect, for it is said dharma-vrata-tyāgāhutādi-sarva-śubha kriyā sāmyam api pramādaḥ: the eighth offense is to consider the name equivalent to dharma, vratas, sacrifices and other karma-kāṇḍa rites.

If considering the name to be equal to karma and dharma is an offense, then the offense is much more if one considers the name secondary to karma and dharma, being a mere limb of karma or dharma. Though recognizing that they have offended her, out of compassion, Bhakti-devi thinks, "Karma-yoga and these other processes should not be fruitless" since they have accepted a small portion of her shelter. Thus, though she has become only a limb of karma, she gives the results of karma, jñāna and other processes without obstruction. Similarly, when bhakti is a limb of atonement, she destroys the sins in those persons practicing atonement. It is not otherwise. And those who do not perform atonement go to hell to experience the results of their sins. However, Vaiṣṇavas do not need to perform atonement. Furthermore, if those persons commit other offenses, such as interpreting the name or committing offense to the devotee, and then perform dharma and other process, Bhaktidevi gives them no results for their efforts, even though she is still a limb of dharma and other processes.

ke te'paradhā viprendra nāmno bhagavataḥ kṛtāḥ
vinighnanti nṛṇāṁ kṛtyaṁ prākṛtaṁ hy ānayanti ca

O brāhmaṇa! Offenses to the name destroy men's pious actions and lead them to material world.
Padma Purāṇa, Brāhma-khaṇḍa

If those persons become free from offense and dedicate themselves to chanting or other bhakti processes, they will get results for their karma and jñāna in proportion to the destruction of offenses. However, with complete destruction of offense by association with devotees, attainment of the results of chanting is certain, by the direct mercy of Bhakti-devi.

"From the words of the servants of Yama it is understood that Ajāmila was previously involved in karma. (He was not a devotee, but performed bhakti secondarily, and therefore all his sins should not have been removed by chanting.)" That is true, and by sinful acts like drinking, his status as a brāhmaṇa was destroyed, what to speak of his pious acts of karma. It will be explained "Ajāmila was a brāhmaṇa who because of bad association had given up all brahminical culture and religious principles. Becoming most fallen, he stole, drank and performed other abominable acts. He even kept a prostitute." (SB 6.2.45) When his pious karmas were destroyed, his secondary bhakti was also destroyed. Then pure bhakti appeared when he called out the name of his son Nārāyaṇa."

"But if there is a scriptural rule that one should perform bhakti as a limb of karma or jñāna, how can that be offensive?" One should not recognize as authoritative scripture those statements which permit secondary bhakti out of mercy for persons of crooked mentality, who have no faith in bhakti but faith in karma and jñāna, and do not believe statements like "All processes accomplish their results by bhakti alone; by a particle of bhakti the greatest sins are destroyed."

In attaining Svarga through animal sacrifices by following rules, the fault of violence is not destroyed. Similarly though the offender attains the results of karma and jñāna by secondary bhakti according to rules, his offense is not destroyed.

Those offenders who accept a Vaiṣṇava guru by Vaiṣṇava initiation, take shelter of Bhakti-devi purely or as the primary process (but mixed), and then worship the Lord by chanting, are called Vaiṣṇavas. According to the degree of bhakti, they attain destruction of offenses, and according to the degree of Bhakti-devi's mercy, they attain the principal result of bhakti (prema). The Lord himself says:

yathā yathātmā parimṛjyate’sau
mat-puṇya-gāthā-śravaṇābhidhānaiḥ |
tathā tathā paśyati vastu sūkṣmaṁ
cakṣur yathaivāñjana-samprayuktam 

"To the degree that the ātma becomes purified by hearing and chanting my glories, a person is able to perceive my real form and qualities, and experience their sweetness, just as the eye when smeared with special ointment is able to see finer objects." SB 11.14.26

bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir
anyatra caiṣa trika eka-kālaḥ
prapadyamānasya yathāśnataḥ syus
tuṣṭiḥ puṣṭiḥ kṣud-apayo'nughāsam

Devotion, direct experience of the Supreme Lord, and detachment from other things—these three occur simultaneously for one who has taken shelter of Kṛṣṇa, in the same way that pleasure, fullness of the stomach and relief from hunger are experienced simultaneously, with each bite, for a person engaged in eating.
SB 11.2.42

śṛṇvatāṁ svakathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya śravaṇa kīrtanaḥ |
hṛdyantaḥ stho hyabhadrāṇi vidhunoti suhṛt satām 

"Kṛṣṇa, who purifies a person by the processes of hearing and chanting and who is the benefactor of the devotees who hear about him, enters the hearts of the devotees and destroys their sins." SB 1.2.17

By these statements it is understood that those persons who committed offense gradually ascend through the fourteen stages of bhakti. In those cases, faith and other steps are prescribed. And in this chapter also it is said guṇānuvādaḥ khalu sattva-bhāvanaḥ: chanting the Lord's glories is the process for purification. (SB 6.2.12) When all their offenses are gradually destroyed and they attain the Lord, they are liberated from this world.

niraparādhānāṁ tu bhagavat-prāptau nāsti vilambas teṣāṁ hi bhagavan-nāma-grahaṇaṁ vaikuṇṭhārohaṇaṁ ceti dve eva bhūmike, yathā ajāmilādīnām 

"For the offenseless there is no delay in attaining the Lord. For them there are just two stages – chanting and ascending to Vaikuṇṭha, like Ajāmila and others."
This comment shows clearly there are only two stages of chanting - pure chanting and offensive chanting - without a third stage, a 'clearing stage of nāmābhāsa'.

na vāsudeva-bhaktānām aśubhaṁ vidyate kvacit 
janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-bhayaṁ vāpy upajāyate 

"The devotees of Vāsudeva have no misfortune at all. They surpass birth, death, old age and disease." Mahābhārata 13.135.131

sva-dharma-niṣṭhaḥ śata-janmabhiḥ pumān
viriñcatām eti tataḥ paraṁ hi mām |
avyākṛtaṁ bhāgavato’tha vaiṣṇavaṁ
padaṁ yathāhaṁ vibudhāḥ kalātyaye 

"A person fixed in dharma attains the post of Brahma after a hundred births and by more pious acts a person attains me. But the devotee attains the abode of Vaikuṇṭha after leaving his body, just as I reside there in another form. The devatās qualify to go there after destroying their subtle bodies." SB 4.24.29

However, some devotees without offense, who desire to attain a special prema, are delayed in attaining the Lord. For instance Jaḍa Bharata took three lives to attain the Lord.

Among those devotees having offense, if some, because of not worshiping the Lord properly, do not destroy previous sins, and continue to sin and to be offenders, they do not go to hell after leaving the body. Yama says:

sva-puruṣam api vīkṣya pāśa-hastaṁ 
vadati yamaḥ kila tasya karṇa-mūle |
parihara bhagavat-kathāsu mattān 
prabhur aham anya-nṛṇāṁ na vaiṣṇavānām 

Bhāgavata Māhātmya 6.99

Yamarāja, seeing his follower with noose in his hands, says in his ear: "Do not take devotees who are mad after Kṛṣṇa-kathā. I am the master of other men, but not the Vaiṣṇavas."

te deva-siddha-parigīta-pavitra-gāthā
ye sādhavaḥ samadṛśo bhagavat-prapannāḥ
tān nopasīdata harer gadayābhiguptān
naiṣāṁ vayaṁ na ca vayaḥ prabhavāma daṇḍe

Do not approach those who have surrendered to the Lord, who see everything equally, who have proper conduct and who are praised with pure narrations by the devatās and Siddhas, since they are protected by the club of the Lord. We, including Brahma and even time, do not have power to punish them. SB 6.3.27

The servants of Yama say:

prāhāsmān yamunā-bhrātā sādaraṁ hi punaḥ punaḥ |
bhavadbhir vaiṣṇavās tyājyā viṣṇuṁ ced bhajate naraḥ 

Yamarāja repeatedly has told us with care, "You must leave the Vaiṣṇavas"  (Padma Purāṇa)

Moreover the Lord himself says:

na hy aṅgopakrame dhvaṁso
mad-dharmasyoddhavāṇv api
mayā vyavasitaḥ samyaṅ
nirguṇatvād anāśiṣaḥ

O Uddhava! Because I have personally established it, this process of niṣkāma-bhakti is beyond the guṇas. Even by starting but not completing the process, there is no destruction of results. SB 11.29.20

Thus, since even the sprout of bhakti is imperishable, unaffected by sin and always productive, a person will definitely take birth only in order that bhakti bears leaves and fruit in the future, and not because of temporary sin and piety. na karma-bandhanaṁ janma vaiṣṇavānāṁ ca vidyate: the worshipers of Viṣṇu do not take birth due to karma. Thus after the destruction of sin and destruction of offenses by chanting the name, which is caused by impressions of previous bhakti, persons attain the Lord by the mercy of Bhakti-devi.

na vai jano jātu kathañcanāvrajen
mukunda-sevy anyavad aṅga saṁsṛtim
smaran mukundāṅghry-upagūhanaṁ punar
vihātum icchen na rasa-graho janaḥ

Oh! The person who serves Mukunda will never under any condition return to the material world, unlike practitioners of other processes. Remembering the embrace of the Lord's lotus feet, eager for that taste he has experienced, he will not desire to give up those feet again. SB 1.5.19

In the above verse anyavat means "like those practicing karma." The devotee will not attain the world of piety and sin (caused by karma), but will accept the world of happiness and distress given by the Lord.

tvad avagamī na vetti bhavad-uttha-śubhāśubhayor
guṇa-viguṇānvayāṁs tarhi deha-bhṛtāṁ ca giraḥ
anu-yugam anv-ahaṁ sa-guṇa gīta-paramparayā
śravaṇa-bhṛto yatas tvam apavarga-gatir manu-jaiḥ

When a person realizes you, he no longer cares about his good and bad fortune arising from past pious and sinful acts, since it is you alone who control this good and bad fortune. Such a realized devotee also disregards what ordinary living beings say about him. Every day he fills his ears with your glories, which are recited in each age by the unbroken succession of Manu's descendants, and thus you become his ultimate salvation. SB 10.87.40

Those who have not destroyed offenses to the name will continue to experience the undestroyed effects of sin. When, by increase of bhakti by practicing it, the offenses to the Name are destroyed, the root of sin will be destroyed and the person will immediately attain the Lord. But then, in order to increase the bhakti, those devotees may even take one, two or three life times to attain the Lord. The "material happiness" seen in those devotees arises from the practice of bhakti (it is not karma). It is said:

dharmasya by apavargyasya nārtho'rthāyopakalpate
nārthasya dharmaikāntasya kāmo lābhāya hi smṛtaḥ

The material results are not suitable as the goal for the person dedicated to higher spiritual goals. The desire of the person dedicated to the higher path is not for attainment of material assets. SB 1.2.9

The "suffering" seen in those devotees is given by the Lord, who is skillful at increasing the devotion of his devotee, and who is like a doctor who makes a person fast and gives bitter medicine tor increasing the patient's appetite.

yasyāham anugṛhṇami hariṣye tad-dhanam śanaiḥ
tato 'dhanaṁ tyajanty asya svajanā duḥkha-duḥkhitam

If 1 especially favor someone, I gradually deprive him of his wealth. Then the relatives and friends of such a poverty-stricken man abandon him. In this way he suffers one distress after another. SB 10.88.8

To be continued......

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Śrīmad Bhāgavata, Canto 5

This is a review of the Fifth Canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavata, with the most interesting commentaries of Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda -

5.1.5 ity-ādy-ukter bhaktānām antarāyo nāsty eva? satyaṁ kāla-karmādi-hetuko’sau nāsty eva.  kintv antarāyo hi bhaktānāṁ dvividhaḥ, mahad-aparādha-hetuko bhagavad-icchā-hetukaś ca
Normally obstacles are time and karma but for devotees the obstacles are offences to the saints and the Lord’s wish.

5.1.35 tanvaṁ tanuṁ tat-kṣaṇa eva tanūtyāgādarśanāt tanvārambhakaṁ karmeti prārabdha-karma-kṣaya uktaḥ | tattvaṁ mahad-ādi-pṛthivy-antaṁ sthūlas-sūkṣma-dehāv ity arthaḥ | tad api tad-deha-sthitir nāmna evācintya-prabhāvatvād iti jñeyaṁ gaty-antarābhāvāt
”One does not immediately see one giving up one’s body on chanting the holy name once. Thus the sentence means that the karmas that are experienced in the body are destroyed. tattvam means that the gross and subtle elements from mahat tattva to earth, the gross and subtle bodies of the jīva are destroyed, but the body remains by the inconceivable influence of the holy name of the Lord, since there is no alternative.”

Viśvanātha also comments on this verse in his ṭīkā of SB 1.6.28:

"What should be amazing? Even an outcaste (vidura-vigataḥ) who chants the name of the Lord once, now, at the time of accepting the name, gives up his body (tanvam). Since we do not see anyone giving up their body simultaneously with chanting, "body" here means his prārabdha-karmas which are being experienced in the present body. This is the opinion of some. Others say by the association of bhakti, like a touchstone, the body made of the three guṇas becomes free of the guṇas, as seen in the case of Dhruva. Thus, giving up the body means giving up the body made of three guṇas. This will be explained later at the beginning of the Rāsa-dance with jahur guṇamayaṁ dehaṁ sadyah prakṣīṇa-bandhanāḥ: "free of bondage, those gopīs abandoned their gross material bodies made of guṇas." (SB 10.29.11) But others say that sometimes the Lord shows devotees, literally, giving up their bodies in order that the opinion of others not be negated. Thus Nārada, who had developed prema already, gave up his body. However it should be understood that he had already destroyed his prārabdha-karmas during his practice of bhakti."

5.5.18 Do not be parent, Guru, relative etc. if you cannot free your subject from death.

Viśvanātha comments: baliḥ śukram iva taṁ guruṁ tyajed eva, tasya praṇaty-anuvṛtty-ādy-abhāve'pi na pratyavāyī syād iti bhāvaḥ. evaṁ vibhīṣaṇo rāvaṇam iva taṁ svajanam, prahlādo hiraṇyakaśipum iva taṁ pitaram, śrī-bharataḥ kaikeyīm iva tāṁ jananīm, khaṭvāṅga indrādim iva tad daivaṁ, yājñika-brāhmaṇī yājñika-vipram iva taṁ patiṁ tyajed evety arthaḥ –
“Bali gave up his Guru Śukrācārya and did not suffer any reaction to not following and worshiping him. Similarly Vibhīṣana gave up his relative Rāvana, Prahlāda gave up his father Hiraṇyakaśipu, Śrī Bharat rejected his mother Kaikeyī, Khaṭvaṅga his devatā Indra and the wives of the offering brāhmaṇas of Vṛndāvana gave up their husbands.”

5.5.33 In the discussion on Vilāpa Kusumānjali’s verse 18, in which Raghunātha dās Goswāmī prays that he/she can clean Rādhārāṇī’s toilet with her hair, it must be remembered that there is no jugupsa rasa or vībhatsa rasa (the mellow of disgust) in relation to Kṛṣṇa. In the story of Ṛṣabha-deva in Śrīmad Bhāgavata (5.5.33) is is said: tasya ha yaḥ purīṣa-surabhi-saugandhya-vāyus taṁ deśaṁ daśa-yojanaṁ samantāt surabhiṁ cakāra: “The wind, fragrant from the smell of his stool, made the place fragrant for ten yojanas around.”

Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comments: tasya cinmaya-śarīrasyaitad-bībhatsitam ity āśaṅkyāha—tasyeti. purīṣasya surabhinā gandhena saugandhyaṁ yasya sa vāyuḥ - “One may think that this condition is disgusting for a spiritual body.  This verse explains. The air became fragrant with the smell of his stool.”

5.6.18 ”Blessed is the dynasty of Priyavrata, where Lord Ṛṣabha descended. Blessed is also the dynasty of Uttānapāda, where Pṛthu appeared. Blessed is also the Raghu-dynasty where Rāma appeared. Of the current Yadu- and Puru-dynasties the Yadu-dynasty is the most fortunate, for Kṛṣṇa appeared there. But our Puru-dynasty is unfortunate in all respects, because the Lord did not appear in it at all." Speaking to himself in this way Parīkṣit became dejected. Understanding his mind because he was omniscient, Śukadeva gave him bliss by showing him the superiority of bhakti over liberation – ”O King! Kṛṣṇa is the protector of the Pāṇḍavas, their Guru (instructor), their worshipable deity, their loving benefactor and the master of their family (controller). Although He appeared in the Yadu-dynasty He acted equally towards the Yadus and you. But sometimes He acted as your messenger or servant. He did not do that for the Yadus. He did more for you than for the Yadus because of His greater love for you. That He gave the highest prema to you, who do not worship Him, is the highest position. He rarely even gives bhāva bhakti (bhakti yoga) to those who worship Him. He gives the inferior liberation but never bhakti. But He does not give liberation to those practising pure bhakti who do not desire liberation. To those pure devotees He gives bhakti."

It is not clear to me why the Purus [Pāṇḍavas] are said to 'not worship Him'. Perhaps Viśvanātha means they did not worship Him in awe as Bhagavān?

5.8.1 - dayām api tyajed bhakti-bādhinīm iti darśayan – it is shown here that even compassion must be given up if it damages bhakti. This is in relationship to Bharat getting attached to the deer. Śrīla Ānanda Gopāl Goswāmī said the same thing in Bengali during his famous Vilāpa Kusumāñjali lectures - bhajaner pratikūl jadi doyā-o hoy, tabe tā'ke-o bāda dite hobe. He might have been inspired by this statement of Viśvanātha. The point is that if one gets materially entangled out of compassion or sentimental attraction. and that entanglement takes away one's money, time and attention from bhajan, then this is not a smart thing to do for a Vaiṣṇava.

5.8.26 mṛga-dārakam ābhāsayati prakāśayati yat tena svārabdha-karmaṇeti | prārabdhaṁ hi dvividhaṁ—śobhanam aśobhanam ca | tatrādyaṁ bhakta-priyeṇāpi nayana-tīvrāñjana-dāna-nyāyena sva-bhakty-utkaṇṭhā-varṇana-vidagdhena bhagavataiva svecchayaiva prārabdha-tulyatvāt prārabdham upapādyate yad udarko viṣayābhiniveśa eva syāt | atra tu śobhanenārabdheneti sākṣāt suśabda evopanyastaḥ | bhakti-yogenaiva hetunā tāpasaḥ sarva-viṣaya-tyāga-rūpaṁ tapaḥ kurvāṇaḥ | apy-arthe ca-kāraḥ | yadyapi bhakti-yogo bahu-vighnākulo na bhavati, tad api bhagavad-icchayā atvd-ārādhanād vibhraṁsita ity arthaḥ
“There are two kinds of prārabdha karma - śobhana and aśobhana (beautiful and not-beautiful). The first one is like a biting eye-ointment administered by the Lord, who is dear to His bhakta (bhakta-priyena), which serves to increase the devotee’s eagerness (to attain Him) and which is freely (independently) bestowed by this vidagdha (clever) Lord. It appears to be just like ordinary prārabdha. This is even possible to happen to those who have attained rati- or bhāva-bhakti level. The second type of prārabdha is made of one’s old karma and is caused by absorption in the sense objects. The former, śobhana, is mentioned in this verse.”

5.10.1 paramahaṁsatvena sarvatra tasya samyasyaucito’pi mahā-bhāgavatatvād eva kṛpā vyākhyeya 'Although as a paramahaṁsa one should be equipoised everywhere, due to being a mahā bhāgavata (great devotee) one should also be compassionate." This confirms the theory that a great devotee comes down from the platform of uttama adhikārī to the stage of madhyama adhikārī [though these three adhikārīs in the 11th canto have not been described in relation to a missionary attitude per se] in order to preach.

5.14.43malavad iti yathā malasya tyāga eva nirvṛtiḥ tyāgābhāve kaṣṭaṁ tyaktasya tasya smaraṇe’pi niṣṭhīvanodgamas tathaiveti tyāge’py anyebhyo vailakṣaṇyād utkarṣaḥ | tatra hetuḥ—uttamaḥ sarvotkṛṣṭaḥ rūpa-guṇa-līlā-mādhuryaiśvarya-sambandhī ślokā yaśo yasya tasmin lālasaḥ darśādy-autsukyaṁ yasya saḥ
"Just as it is blissful to pass stool and it is miserable to be unable to do so (due to constipation or so), and one feels disgusted even by remembering the stool, king Bharata considered the things he renounced to be just like stool. This shows that his renunciation of sense objects was distinct from the renunciation of jñānīs and yogis, because he had developed a yearning for Śrī Govinda, who is the abode of sweet names, forms, pastimes and attributes."

5.19.21 etādṛśa-bhāgyasya puṇya-janyatvāsambhavād iti bhāvaḥ | bhāratājire bhāratāṅgane | nanu durātmanām api tatra janma dṛśyate ity ato viśinaṣṭi—mukunda-sevaupāyikaṁ hi yasmān no’smākaṁ kevalaṁ spṛhaiva yatra, na tu prāptiḥ
"The fortune of taking human birth in India is not just a question of good karma, as we see bad people also taking birth there. We devatās can only covet this, but we do not attain it."

5.19.25 If one wastes one's human birth in India one is most lamentable - it is like a farmer who finds a Cintāmaṇi gem and still continues to plough. They are like birds that are released by a hunter but get caught again because they are inattentive and play about in the tree.

5.19.27 What to speak of pure devotees, even sakāma bhaktas are blessed in the way the niṣkāma bhaktas are. Their desires are fulfilled but not in such a way that they will go on asking for the same thing again and again. Like Dhruva he gets the Lord's lotus-feet which includes all desires. He may forcibly give those feet, which destroy all other desires, too. Sometimes the father gives the child candy although he does not want it. In this way he makes the child give up eating dirt. Similarly the Lord may give the nectar of His lotus-feet so the devotee gives up material endeavour. That which is given sponteaneously is greater than that which is given by force. Thus the excellence of Hanumān is greater than that of Dhruva.

5.26.3 Visvanatha's commentary: anādy-avidyā-sambandho jīvasya kadā kathaṁ veti vaktum aśakteḥ 'No one can say when or how the jīva ended up in a beginningless relationship with ignorance.' That is just because it is beginningless and is its very definition.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Śrīmad Bhāgavata, Canto 4, part 2

SB 4.20.22 This verse says that when Pṛthu beheld the Lord, the Lord's feet touched the ground (padā spṛśantaṁ kṣitim) Śrīdhar Swami and Viśvanātha quote a text from śāstra saying that the devatās' feet generally do not touch the earth, but in this case Hari forgets it because He is overwhelmed by compassion. It seems there is a difference here between Nārāyan, who seems to be counted among the Devas whose feet usually do not touch the ground, and Kṛṣṇa. In sweet human pastimes, like Kṛṣṇa's, it is seen that the gopīs worry about His feet being pricked by pebbles and thorns on the paths of Vraja (SB 10.31.19 yat te sujāta) and mother Yaśodā, for the same reason, wants Kṛṣṇa to wear shoes (in Govinda Lilamrita). I remember how I was introduced to the mādhurya concept by the late Hayeśvara Dās in Amsterdam. I joined the Iskcon temple community in Amsterdam on June 4, 1978, and a few weeks later was the annual Snāna Yātrā festival. Suddenly Lord Jagannāth had disappeared from the altar and I asked Hayeśvara, who was like my mentor, where Lord Jagannātha had gone. In his dry, comical way he told me the Lord had caught a cold (!!!) and was being treated in the office (!!!). Obviously it was not good to 'treat' the Lord in the brahmacārī āśram between the boys' dirty socks, so they had taken the typewriters out of the temple office and brought the Lord there to be treated with ginger-tea and tissue papers.

SB 4.20.24 See my blog of March 23, 2007 and comments. The Bhāgavat must be heard from the mahattamas - the greatest possible souls. Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda quotes the 3rd verse of the Bhāgavat in his tika: śuka mukhād amṛta shows that it does matter whom you hear Kṛṣṇa-katha from. It shows also that it matters who translates a text, and that it is best to read the text in the original. relish depends on both vakta and śrota.  madhuram api jalaṁ kṣāra-bhūmi praviṣṭaṁ yathā virasībhavati tathaivāvaiṣṇava mukhaṁ nirgato bhagavat guṇo'pi nātirocaka iti vyatirekaśca gamyaḥ “Just as sweet water becomes salty by being poured over a desert, Kṛṣṇa katha of a non-Vaiṣṇava is not so attractive, although it does contain the Lord’s attributes.”

4.20.31 — yatheti bālasya hitāhitaṁ pitaiva jānāti balas tvadhyayana khelanādikaṁ sva hitāhitaṁ viparyayena jānātītyevaṁ mahyaṁ varasya pradānam apradānaṁ vā hitaṁ vimṛśya sva sammatam eva bhadraṁ kriyatāṁ na punar mama sammatir eva pramāṇī kartavyeti bhagavatyeva pṛthunā viśrambho vyañjitaḥ. “Just as only the father knows what is good and what is not good for the child, sometimes allowing him to play and sometimes forcing him to study, He knows when to give the best thing to me and when not. I shall just do whatever he tells me to do." This was how Pṛthu Maharaja trusted the Lord." Sometimes the Lord punishes the devotee disproportionately, sometimes He forgives the most extreme sins of the devotee, according to the individual or even collective need. Mahāprabhu effectively sentenced Chota Haridās to death, for a slight mistake of begging some rice from an 84-year old widow, and on the other hand other devotees are excused from the most extreme sin, it all depends on the welfare of the devotee[s].

4.21.12 This verse mentions [non-brahmin] Vaiṣṇavas as acyuta gotra, the harijans, the family of God. They see Acyuta as their progenitor.

4.22.47  yair īdṛsi bhagavato gatir ātma-vāda ekāntato nigamibhih pratipādita naḥ tuṣyantv adabhra-karunaḥ sva-kṛtena nityaṁ ko nāma tat pratikaroti vinoda-pātram
Mahārāja Pṛthu told Sanatkumāra: „May you – who are well versed in the Vedas and have in your profuse compassion precisely explained to us, in the course of your dissertation on the Supreme Lord, the true nature of God as depicted above – may you ever be pleased with your own acts (of delivering the afflicted). What else can be a reward for you but handfuls of water?” 
Śrīdhara Svāmī comments: saty api svatve sarvasvenāpi na guroḥ pratyupakartum sakyam ity āha—yair iti – „Even by offering everything you have you cannot repay the Guru.” yad vā vinoda-pātram upahāsāspadam. pratyupakāre pravṛttau janānām upahāsāspadaṁ bhaved ity arthaḥ „Other than the ‘handfuls of water’ interpretation one can read the verse thus: instead of vina uda-pātra (without handfuls of water) one can also read vinoda-pātram, or ‘object of ridicule’. In other words, anyone who says that there is any way to repay the Guru is a ridiculous person.”

SB 4.22.53, tika: na tu putrotpādana-hetukaḥ vegas tasya strī-viṣayakaḥ ko’pi kāma-vikāro’stīty arthaḥ  'Pṛthu had no lusty feelings towards his wife at all as he produced his five sons." Pṛthu was of course a śaktyāveśa avatāra, not an ordinary human being - pṛthu-dehasya bhagavad-vigrahatvāt

SB 4.23.11, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda's tika – “It is also said of Kṛṣṇa that he was not lusty after his wives in SB 10.61.4 - patnyas tu śoḍaśa-sahasram anaṅga-bāṇair yasyendriyaṁ vimathituṁ kuhakair na śekuḥ.  It is because the Lord is vibhūmna (SB 10.61.3), Self-fulfilled (in His aiśvarya-aspect, of course).”For embodied souls, even the great Vaiṣṇavas, however, some physical transformation is obviously required to create sex drive. There is of course a big difference between drinking a bottle of whisky and making a baby outside wedlock in the back of a car, or chanting 64 rounds with one's wedded wife and doing garbhādhāna saṁskāra before making a baby, but even for the latter scenario, some physical transformations are required to make a sex drive. dharmāviruddha bhūteṣu kāmo'smi (Bhagavad Gītā 7.11) "I am lust that does not conflict with dharma". It does not conflict with dharma, but it is lust nonetheless. Jīva Goswāmī comments on SB 10.61.3: "Kṛṣṇa is self-satisfied, but He becomes under the spell of His pure devotees (ahaṁ bhakta'parādhīno) and thus He gets 'lusty' after them. That is the rasika aspect. The philosophical aspect is shown in the Gopāl Tāpanī Upaniṣad - vidyāmayo hi yaḥ sa kathaṁ viṣayībhavati 'He is full of knowledge - how can He be sensual?" There is also the yogik scenario, like yogi Kardama, who impregnated his wife Devahutī nine times in one session. All this is not on the human level.

4.24.40 puṇyāya lokāya - obeisances to Vaikuṇṭha. puṇya here does not mean 'planet of the pious' like a heavenly planet. Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comments: puṇyāya sarvottamāya puṇyas tu cārv api - puṇya means 'the supreme' or 'beautiful' according to the Amar-Koṣa dicitionary.

4.24.57 Throwing an egg at a devotee during harinām is also half a moment of sat saṅga but Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda says in his ṭīkāpremna saṅga (association with love) is uttama.

4.24.59 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda links nāmāparādha to sleepiness - nāmāparādha leads to a loss of ruci, and then one does not feel inspired or buoyed to get up early. Or, during one's sādhana one falls into the hole of sleep (tamo-guhāyāṁ, or supti-gahvare). The consciousness of the sādhaka falls into the hole of tamo-guṇa very easily.

4.25.21 The woman [conditioned soul] looking for a husband does not mean that the spirit soul has a reason to be here, let alone to fall down from the spiritual world. One cannot always see such statements in a time frame, like she was not here but then she came here for a purpose, like seeking a husband, just like the samudra manthana - the Kaustubha gem and Lakṣmī of course never came to Nārāyan, they are eternally His.

4.25.47, Śrīdhar Swāmī's ṭīkā - tasmād dakṣiṇerdha ātmano vīryāvattaraḥ iti śruteḥ. svānubhavāc ca tatra prakāśādhikyam "The Śrutis declare that the senses on the right side are stronger [in perception]." That may be the reason why initiation is given in the right ear.

4.25.62  viśeṣeṇa prakarṣeṇa evam anena prakāreṇa labdhaḥ prāptaḥ sarvayā prakṛtyā svabhāvena jnānānandādi-rūpayā vancitas tyājitaḥ. Verse: "Petitioned by the queen, cheated of his own nature, the foolish king, though he did not want to, followed her like a pet animal."
Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda's ṭīkā- vipralabdha means having specificially attained a condition in this way. Specially conditioned by the intelligence and at all times cheated of his nature of knowledge and bliss" It means the living entity is deprived of its potential knowledge and bliss. The text should not be seen as confirming fall-vāda (that the soul once had bliss and knowledge but now lost it) or dormant-vāda (that prema is dormant in the heart of the conditioned souls). He continues: necchan ekena sva-svabhāvena vastutas tat tad anicchann api klaibyāt pāravaśya-prāpakād aparasmāt svabhāvāt anukaroti tad-dharmam ātmany adhyasyati 'Giving up his nature, not wanting to because of his nature, but coming under the control of another [klaibyāt], assuming a different nature, he follows her. He imposed these qualities on the soul." It seems more as if he attained subjugation due to its impotence [klaibyāt], beginninglessly so of course. It is said twice in Bhagavad Gītā that whoever attains Kṛṣṇa's Supreme abode (tad-dhāma paramaṁ mama) never returns (yad gatvā na nivartante). Yet fall-vādis sometimes casually dismiss śāstra and say, "Yes but still you can fall again due to free will". Such disregard for śāstra could lead to a number of nāmāparādhas, notably śruti śāstra nindā (criticising scriptures) and artha-vāda (creating imaginary meanings). Statements in other Purāṇas, that are in the modes of passion and ignorance, that after performing pious acts one spends a long time in Vaikuṇṭha and then returns to earth again apply to the Vaikuṇṭha in the material world, at the milk ocean, only. The demigods can also reach that place, as we can see in the opening verses of the 10th Canto. However, the abode of Kṛṣṇa, Goloka, is beyond that material world and is called tad dhāma paramam mama - My (Kṛṣṇa's) supreme abode, attainment of which is saṁsiddhiṁ paramaṁ gataḥ, the ultimate perfection. We could even wonder if such promises in rājasik and tāmasik Purāṇas are not just meant to attract fruitive workers to the path of bhakti somehow or other. yam imaṁ puṣpitaṁ vācam. Mahāviṣṇu's size must be unlimited because there is no limit to the number of mundane universes He contains. Asking whether Mahāviṣṇu then collides with the spiritual world is just silly - loka does not mean a limited planet or region, it means world. A world like that, be it Goloka or Mahāviṣṇu,  has no material size. Statements in the Skanda Purāṇa (a Purāṇa in the mode of ignorance) that Mahāviṣṇu has 35,000 pores may be meant just to impress upon simple souls that God is Great, but if śāstra says that the brahmāṇḍas are innumerable, how could they fit through a mere 35,000 gates? This is just like statements in different Purāṇas that it is so-and-so many millions of miles travelling to Goloka, which is of course not true because one can not measure the distance to the spiritual world in mundane terms. It is at once attained by the surrendered souls, or never so by those who are averse to Kṛṣṇa.

4.27.17 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comments - tripancāśad varṣa-paryantaṁ prajāgarasya prāyaḥ parājayo nābhūt “There is no decline until age 53, but then it commences” - and I have to learn this just after turning 54!

4.28.34 — guroḥ sevāyāṁ pravṛttaḥ śiṣyaḥ śravaṇa kīrtanādīnyapi bhogān tad utthāna premānandān api gṛhān tad ucita vivikta sthalam api naivāpekṣate. śrī guru sevayaiva sukhena sarva sādhya siddhyartham ityupadeśa vyañjitaḥ sevāyā eva vedena sarvādhikasyoktatvāt —A devoted and chaste wife, while absorbed in the service of her husband, does not care even for her son. Similarly, a disciple deeply absorbed in the service of the guru does not even depend on hearing and chanting, knowing that by guru-sevā he can easily attain complete perfection in devotion. Just as a devoted wife does not want any sense enjoyment and home comfort, a disciple completely absorbed in guru-sevā does not seek even premānanda arising out of hearing and chanting nor even seek secluded places suitable to his bhajana. The Vedas say that service to the Guru is the greatest.”

4.28.41  śrī-bhāgavatasya mohinītvād ito’py anyathā kecid vyācakṣate tat tu eva gṛhṇanti na santaḥ "The Bhāgavata is like Mohiṇī, giving nectar to the gods and deluding the demons. The demons interpret it differently, but the devotees do not accept such interpretations."

4.28.43 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comments: śrī-gurudevasya siddhi-daśā-paryantaṁ śiṣyas taṁ paricarann eva varteteti darśayati  'The disciple serves Śrī Gurudeva until the point of siddhi'. This seems to contradict the rule that one serves the Guru in his/her mañjarī svarūpa after liberation too. Perhaps the clue lies in the word paricarann, which means practical service of the Guru's physical body, which is no more after both Guru and śiṣya meet in mañjarī svarūp in the kuñja.

4.28.50 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda’s ṭīkāśrī-guror deha-saṁskāram kṛtvā srīmad-guru-caraṇa-viyukto’haṁ tadīya-guṇānusmaraṇa-maya-śoka-davāgni-dagdha-deho prāṇam dhartum aśaknuvaṁs tad-upadiṣṭa-śravaṇa-kīrtanādi-bhaktau naiva śaktiṁ dhāsyami. tasmad adyaiva mariṣyāmīti śiṣyo manasi niścinotīti darśayāmāsa " After performing the cremation of Śrī Gurudeva, the disciple thinks « I am burning in the fire of separation from Gurudeva’s lotusfeet. My body scorches in the fire of lamentation as I remember His attributes and I have no power to stay alive, nor am I able to perform bhakti in the type of hearing and chanting which Śrī Gurudeva had adviced. » Thus the disciple decides : «Today I will die. »

4.28.51 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda’s tika: sva-guru-viraha-vyākulībhāva-daśāyām iva śiṣyasya bhagavad-darśanam syād iti dyotayati. „In the condition of separation from his Guru, the disciple is so upset that he gets the darśana of the Lord.”

4.29.4 See my blog of May 21, 2009

4.29.64-65 "What was never seen before in real life and is nonetheless perceived in a dream was surely experienced in a previous life by a jīva who identifies with a subtle body, for an object which has not been experienced before can never touch the mind."

4.30.51 Some say that the fact that Lord Brahmā is called anādi here, which he is not literally, means that our conditioning is also not literally anādi. However, in SB 5.6.11, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda says that anādi in relation to our conditioning is really anādi, Adi-śūnya [see later onwards]

Quotation 4.29.64-65 added July 31, 2011

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Anything wrong with Public Harinām Saṅkīrtan?

This is a recent debate on Facebook with an opponent of public harinama [slightly edited for discretion and diplomatic correctness]

Advaita Das - Met a two-man harinam party in Utrecht so I put a dhoti on and joined them. Broke the place down the three of us.

RPD - Harinam is not ment for the publik

Advaita Das - RPD - Śrīmad Bhāgavat, Śrīman Caitanya Mahāprabhu and all the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas would beg to disagree with that.

RPD - We should follow what the Lord says,and not what he does.If Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his eternal associates dance on the street, this is their lila and should not be imitated. It was all started by the Gaudya Math headed by Bhaktisiddhanta who screwed up the real culture about was Bhakti is all about. Bevor that nobody danced artificially without bhava in front of the publik. Yes dancing is there in front of your personal deity but only if you have love for the Lord. This Harinam in publik which we have seen from Isckon and Gaudya Math is all about to make advertisment to make more followers and to use them for making money. This is there main motive, it has nothing to do with Bhakti.

Advaita Das - RP, Harinām Sankīrtan is prescribed in Sanātan Goswāmī's Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta (2.3.167-8) and in the ṭīkā of verse 168 the assurance is given that public saṅkīrtan will be fully protected). It was done by Narottam Dās Thākur, by Rādhā-raman caran Dās, Vijaya Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī, and the bābājīs too. Any devotional aṅga can be performed for lābh pūjā pratiṣṭhā (profit, adoration and distinction), including solitary bhajan, go seva, printing books etc. I have done harināma saṅkīrtan for 32 years and never got paid for it, nor did any of my friends. You show a very negative attitude towards innocent Vaiṣṇavas, I am sorry for you.

RPD It has nothing to to with a negative attitude, its all about education in scriptures, for the gaudyas the ulimate authority are the scriptures,from the 6 Gosvamis from Vrindavan. There is nothing mentioned in there writings about dancing in front materialistic people.How to you know about Narottama dasa Th. dancing have you seen it? Anybody can say anyhting, the guidance are the scriptures and not some uneducated babajis. And even if sombody dances in front of the publik, than only because out of pure Love (Prema) and he has no control over it, its spontaneous, you are on this level??? If you are on this level you have my blessings, otherwise just be humble and serve your Guru.

Advaita Das -"There is nothing mentioned in there writings about dancing in front materialistic people."

Advaitadas: kṛṣṇotkīrtana gāna nartana parau - the 6 Goswāmīs loudly chanted, sang and danced - in front of their own deities? How will you redeem 'materialistic people' unless you chant to them?

"otherwise just be humble and serve your Guru."

Advaitadas: It is a serious allegation that anyone who does harināma on the street is not humble. I admit that there is a challenge to the ego about posturing on the street with a musical instrument, but what if Guru orders one to do harināma? You said serve your Guru, what should I do then?

RPD - The way how to perform bhakti is mentioned in the bhakti sandharba by jiva gosvami, and other śāstras don't qoute prayers to establish siddhanta. Unless you know sanskritt you have no acsess to gaudia literature. If you want the Truth ...educate yourself.

Advaita Das - Allright then RP, how about this one then? This is from the Bhagavat (10.34.17), topmost śāstra according to Jīva Goswāmī - yan nāma gṛhṇann akhilān śrotṛn ātmānam eva ca sadyaḥ punāti - 'Whose name, when uttered, instantly purifies those who hear it as well as oneself." Those who hear it are only people in your living room perhaps?

"Unless you know sanskritt you have no acsess to gaudia literature"

Advaitadas: Which means that all translations, including that of your Guru, are useless? Why then all the book translations?

"If Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his eternall associates dances on the street,this is there lila and should not be immitated."

Advaitadas: Any evidence for that in śāstra?

RPD I am not quoting the books of my Guru. Unless you have not studied Sanskritt you cant't speak on Siddhanta,you can only qoute from this baba or that baba or this book and that book, but in reality you have no acess to the Gosvami Literature because you are not qualified, be humble and admitt it. Have you studiet Sanskritt , Chandan Vyakaran etc properly, I don't think so otherwise you would not talk like this.
re your qoute from bhagavad sandharba : it doesen't mean you go on the street and dance artifically and make a show and immitate a perfect siddha. Find out from your Guru, if I tell you the evidence you will not accept it anyway.This is the end of the topic.Conclusion: Ask your Guru about this discussion if you have on and accept his advice.

Advaita Das: And more from śāstra - yāre dekhe tāre koho kṛṣṇa upadeśa -  'Whoever you see tell him about Kṛṣṇa'
and : pṛthivīte āche yoto nagarādi grām sarvatra pracāra hobe more nāma - 'IN ALL TOWNS AND VILLAGES OF THE WORLD MY NAME WILL BE PREACHED" ...How's that done ? cupi cupi you think?

RPD Right, but it doesen't mean you go on the road and jump like monkey and artifically chant the holy name without just quote without understanding the inner meaning. You have not even answered my questions??? HAVE YOU ATTAINED PURE LOVE OF THE LORD???ARE YOU KNOW SANSKRITT??

Advaita Das “Unless you have not studied Sanskritt you cant't speak on Siddhanta,you can only qoute from this baba or that baba or this book and that book"

Any śāstra says that enlightenment requires Sanskrit knowledge? Quote it then. It would mean the spiritual world would be a lonely place because only a handful know Sanskrit.

"but in reality you have no acsess to the Gosvami Literature because you are not qualified"

Which means you sit in my heart and gauge my realizations.

"be humble "

Ask any reader of this debate about YOUR attitude here....

"dance artifically and make a show and immitate a perfect siddha.

Why is the dancing artificial and why only siddhas are allowed to dance? Where is this in the Goswāmīs' books?

"If I tell you the evidence you will not accept it anyway"

So far you have been very short of evidence, just very rich in beliefs.

"Ask your Guru about this discussion if you have on and accept his advice."

A bit hard if he entered samādhi 24 years ago. But he told me indeed there is a great risk of ego-tripping while preaching. He never forbade me harinām sankīrtan in public,


Are the two linked in any way? If I had these accomplishments - prema and sanskrit - would I be modest by saying 'yes'?

RPD I guess not,otherwise your statments are just Parrot talk .You teach a parrot... one.. two.. three.. and only this he will repeat.I have to repeat it again and again study properly. You have to know for yourself.You have to be honest. Well follow your Guru and everything will be allwright, go on with dancing,chanting and be happy

Advaita Das RPD, you come crashing in here with a bold claim that public harināma is wrong, then you claim Kṛṣṇa is only available through Sanskrit but despite all intellectual boasting you provide not even one syllable of evidence, though you had plenty of opportunity to provide it.

RPD: Jiva Goswami has given a definition of sankirtana, bahubhir militva yat kirtanam tad eva sankirtanam: "When pure devotees coming together to chant the holy name. Well if your interpretation of this statement is going on the street, than do it and chant do it if it makes you happy.

Advaitadas: Not only it makes me happy - śrotṛn ātmānam eva ca - the audience as well.

RPD: The reason why pure Bhakti is so rare, not because its not available...because nobody wants it.

Advaitadas - Now here I finally agree with you. manuṣyānām sahasreṣu....

RPD: Why you put a Dhoti on,to chant the Name ??? ,what your Dhoti has to do with the Name ??? you think if you remain in your city cloth and than chant ,the name has no effect??? What kind of understanding you have? Its a Show of Devotion. And then.... Broke the place down the three of us,...what does this means maybe your chanting was so fanatic that bystanders run way ,looks like and than you wonder whats wrong with this guys. Anyway i don't blame you, because if you want to get knowledge get out of your comfort zone and study properly, what Bhakti is all about.

Advaitadas: RP, a dhoti is a sacred garment which incites sacred sentiments. Garments do make a difference. A chastely covered lady incites other feelings than a half naked prostitute, huh? In Caitanya Caritāmṛta it is mentioned that Mahārāja Pratāparudra took a Vaiṣṇava dress to serve Śrīman Mahāprabhu in Aitota Garden. Furthermore, Vaiṣṇavas need to be recognized by appearance too. I know your Guru does not wear pants either. I acknowledge that there is a risk of posturing in a show of devotion in this way but that risk has to be taken. As far as what Bhakti is all about, yuga dharma is Harināma and it is the only way - harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam.

Last exchange added October 5, 2010 at Radhakund Dham. text added to 2nd refutation 30 january 2013

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Śrī Rādhāṣṭamī 2010


Rāgiṇī Ṭauḍi - Tāla Eka tāla


"This your little girl is like a moon-bud that pleases our eyes. Thus we can always keep Her in the heart as our wealth."


(refrain) "Listen, O beloved of King Vṛṣabhānu (Kīrtidā)! What have you done to be able to keep such a golden girl on your lap?"


"Her face defeats the beauty of the lightning and She smiles slightly. May the astrologers give Her any name they like - we will call Her Rādhā!"


"Her signs of Her character are most amazing. With what can I compare them? She will become the beloved of a great man. You will remember it if you live to see the day.


"Don't be unhappy that it is a daughter, for She will redeem your whole dynasty!" Jñāna dāsa says: "I have heard that Kamalā (Lakṣmī) is a particle of Her fragment only!"