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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta, Canto 2, chapter four, part I

My review of chapter 4 of canto 2 is so lengthy that I decided to post it in two parts, to keep it surveyable –

2.4.4 See my blog of October 24, 2009

2.4.5 In the purport, which is supposed to be Sanātan Goswāmī's, Gopīprāṇadhan speaks of 're-establishing one's connection with the Lord's lotus feet'. That seems to support fall-vāda, but no such a thing is mentioned by Sanātan Goswāmī - he writes 'bhaktir eva yogaḥ sri vaikuntha loka prāptyupayaḥ bhagavac caraṇāravinda samyoga rūpo vā - 'Bhakti-yoga is the means to attain the Vaikuṇṭha world or the lotus feet of the Lord'. Nothing about re-establishing here.

2.4.20 Gopakumār flew into Vaikuṇṭha with his plane and then he was told to wait to get permission to enter. In the purport Gopīprāṇadhan writes: "This is the standard etiquette for introducing someone to the supreme opulence of Vaikuṇṭha: specific permission should be obtained for him either from Lord Vaikuṇṭha-nātha directly or from a proper deputized authority." But why he needed permission again if he had already been allowed to board the plane to Vaikuṇṭha on earth? Here Gopīprāṇadhan jumps to conclusions again. Sanātan Goswāmī simply says that Gopakumār is asked to wait a while (tvaṁ kṣaṇam ekaṁ tāvat tiṣṭha) so a manager (adhikārī) can tell Vaikuṇṭhanāth of his arrival (prabhuṁ vaikuṇṭha-nāthaṁ svayam eva sākṣād vijñāpya kenacit tad adhikāriṇā vā kṛtvā vijñāpanaṁ) because such is the etiquette in this most majestic realm (paramaiśvaryāviskāra rītyanusārāt). Nothing said about permission here.

2.4.24 Gopīprāṇadhan writes in the purport that a resident of Vaikuṇṭha "Covering his ears with his hands and sticking out his tongue, he waved another hand at Gopa-kumāra to stop him. Sticking out one's tongue is an insult in the west. Actually Sanātan Goswāmī wrote 'jihvāgra-saṁdaśana', he bit on the tip of his tongue, which in India is a sign of shock and outrage, but not an attempt to insult.

A refutation of the misconceptions about BB 2.4.25-41 has already been presented in my blog of June 24, 2009.

2.4.35 The residents of Vaikuṇṭha can contract or withdraw their own families within themselves. How does that work? I suppose it is like Kṛṣṇa expanding Himself into the boys and the calves during the Brahma Vimohan Līlā and then withdrawing them into Himself again.

2.4.36  "The Vaikuṇṭha-devotees not only acted in many different ways but also assumed many differing forms, including even those of animals, birds, and trees. Some devotees would show one form for some time and then change into another." The Vedanta Sūtra says liberated souls can have so many spiritual bodies at once (see my blog of August 5, 2006

2.4.45  In the purport Sanātan Goswāmī quotes Śrīmad Bhāgavat 3.15.18-19 - bhṛṅgādhipe hari kathām iva gāyamāne - it is as if the bees sing the glories of Hari. They temporarily stop their noise. Noise here also means glorification of Kṛṣṇa - kolāhalair vividha vandi-kalāvatam - the cowherds of Nandīśvara make a lot of noise too (Vilāpa Kusumāñjali 60). This is spiritual noise, it is not comparible to the blaring of Bollywood music from Indian megaphones, polluting the skies of Vraja nowadays. Its all a question of perception - for us kīrtan is the most ecstatic sound vibration but for non-devotees it is just a lot of noise, since they fail to catch the transcendental nature of the sound vibration. So this noise is a pleasant noise, not a disturbance. Viśvanāth Cakravartīpāda comments on the Bhāgavat verses that the bees humming sound like 'hari hari' is like Hari-kathā. He takes it literally. In Vaikuṇṭha everything centers around Nārāyan, so the singing of the birds and the bees must be about Him too. Śrīdhara Swāmī comments on this verse: anena tatratya-pakṣīnam api hari-kathā-śravaṇādi-paramānando darśitaḥ  'Here we see even the birds present showing topmost ecstasy in hearing and chanting Harikathā. Śrīdhara Swāmī speaks of a temporary lull in the noise, but Viśvanātha glosses it as śīghra, they swiftly stop the noise - 'the different birds like cuckoos, cranes and flamingos are totally non-envious, so they say: "Ham Ho! The bees are singing about Hari now, so let us be quiet now!" Birds aren't able to form words but Kṛṣṇa-conscious birds naturally sing about Hari, so it is understood to be such. Viśvanātha compares it to the ghūṇākṣara nyāya - termites may accidentally bite into wood in such a pattern that it is shaped as a letter in the alphabet. Similarly, even the flapping of the birds' wings may sound like Hari Hari and is understood as such. If even the flapping of their wings is adorable then what to speak of if they directly sing of Kṛṣṇa? "

2.4.46  The Vaikuṇṭha-vāsīs enjoy in connection with Kṛṣṇa, as in the samañjasā- and sādhāraṇī-rati of the Lord's consorts.

2.4.48 Gopīprāṇadhan says in his purport - "Thus the airplanes, trees, houses, and so on are all perfect living beings, qualitatively one with the Supreme Lord and with all other living persons, and they appear in whatever forms the Lord requires for His pleasure."
Sanātan Goswāmī's text is different- 'Although all objects there - forms, places, airplanes and so - are one compact Brahman (brahma-ghanatvenaikyatvaṁ bhagaval-līlānusāreṇa ca bahu-vidhatvam) they manifest in various forms. According to this brahma-ghanatva [being compact Brahman] it is one, and according to the pastimes of the Lord it appears in a multiple variety." That leaves the question whether the objects in Vaikuṇṭha are jīva-souls or some transcendental substance called brahma-ghana.

2.4.83 'For so long, hope had me dancing....' seems to say that Gopakumār was once with Kṛṣṇa, and had not been in the material world not since beginningless time, but the words 'for so long' are not there in the śloka, instead the word sadā, always, is there. He had always been hoping. In the commentary, Sanātan Goswāmī seems to say, "Even though Gopa-kumāra had forgotten his Lord for many lifetimes, which also indicates a beginning to his conditioning." That is in Sanātan Goswāmī's ṭīkā too, but searching for Kṛṣṇa for many lifetimes means there was a beginning to the search but not necessarily to the conditioning. This does not prove fall at all. Imperfection is absolutely absent from a perfect world because if it were even minutely imperfect it would immediately cease to be a perfect world. For this simple reason it is impossible for anyone to fall from the spiritual sky, since falling, becoming envious etc. is deeply imperfect. Mercy is always causeless - to say 'causeless mercy' is double - causeless is an unnecessary adjective to mercy. It is something you do not deserve but you get anyway.
The phrase “Gopakumār was returning home” at the end of the purport of verse 84 is also not there in the original Sanskrit ṭīkā of Sanātan Goswāmī."
At the end of the purport of verse 83, Gopīprāṇadhan writes "the Lord had always been to regain the association of His devotee." Here the word 'regain' is also not there in the original text. It may not be deliberate fraud, though. The same for the words 'returning' in the comment on verse 84. Some translators are so conditioned to fall-vāda that they see it in every text, though in fact it is nowhere. It is just a jump to conclusions. In Bhagavad Gītā, too, nowhere it is said 'he comes back to Me', but instead it is always 'he attains Me' - mām evaiṣyasi, mām upetya, te'pi yānti paraṁ gatim, etc. etc.

In the purport of BB 2.4.86, Gopīprāṇadhan writes "The Lord does not interfere with the independence of the rebellious jīvas." It becomes almost tedious, but this too is not in the text. In that place of the comment Kṛṣṇa Himself speaks - tasmād mad viṣayaka bhavad upekṣaṇāt - "Because of your upekṣā towards Me...." upekṣā in the dictionary says: "overlooking, disregard, negligence, indifference, contempt, abandonment, endurance, patience, dissent, trick, deceit." Though dissent and abandonment are mentioned here, neither of them are the primary meaning of the word, nor does it belong in the contextual mood of the story. Kṛṣṇa says in the previous verse 'tat te mayy akṛpām' - "you (Sarūpa) showed Me no mercy" - not "you rebellious soul became envious of Me and wanted to imitate Me so you left Goloka".

2.4.94 In the purport it is said: "This is the nature of Vaikuṇṭha—it is free from the constraints (kuntha) of material bondage." Vaikuṇṭha is translated sometimes as 'no fear or anxiety' and sometimes as 'no limitations', but actually all the dictionaries say that kuṇṭha means dull, blunt, lazy and stupid - symptoms of tamo-guṇa. So Vaikuṇṭha is the opposite of tamo-guṇa - lively, smart and sharp.

2.4.104 In his comment on this verse Gopīprāṇadhan writes: "The Supreme Lord may sometimes play tricks by pretending to assume forms that are not actually His eternal forms (svarūpas). For example, Lord Visnu showed Himself disguised as Mohini, the most attractive woman, but in fact the Personality of Godhead is always male, never female."

However, Sri Rupa Goswami quotes from Padma Purana nityāḥ sarve pare dhāmni ye cānye ca divaukasaḥ , "Even the demigods in the spiritual sky are eternal" - then what to speak of the Supreme Personality of Godhead - all His/Her forms and activities are eternal, otherwise how can they be God? This reeks of māyāvāda. And why God is never female? The śāstras say śakti-śaktimatayor abhedhaḥ - "There is no difference between the energy and the energetic." Indeed, we mention the śakti first and then the śaktimān - Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, Sītā-Rām, Lakṣmī-Nārāyan. Anyway, just because we only know of a few activities of Mohinī - distributing nectar, beheading Rāhu and deluding Shiva and a few activities of Nṛsiṁha - ripping up Hiraṇyakaśipu, blessing Prahlād and receiving prayers from the Devatas - does not mean They are not eternal deities. Every breath God takes is eternal. Indeed, that is coming in the purport of verse 158: "These appearances of the Lord, although apparently ad hoc, are in fact eternal, real, and all-pervading." The Mohini-paragraph of that purport is by Gopīprāṇadhan himself, not from Sanātan Goswāmī,  and clearly contradicts this. If Mohini is not eternal then what is she, if she is not God then what is she? Some Vaiṣṇava groups do two Nṛsiṁha-kīrtans a day, every day of their lives, and always find ecstasy in it - so because Nṛsiṁha had an ad-hoc functional līlā, does that mean He is not eternal?

30 comments:

  1. Interesting final paragraph, about the eternality of Narasimha and Mohini. Just because we know of only a few of their activities doesn't mean they are not eternal forms.

    And yet you dare to say that Gaura is not eternal and doesn't have his own abode in the spiritual sky.

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  2. Anon, first of all I never said that Gaura is not eternal, of course He is eternal. About His own abode - there is no mentioning in the shastra of such an abode in the Goswamis' books, simple. It is the Six Goswamis who dare to say this, not me.

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  3. "It is the Six Goswamis who dare to say this, not me."

    Where do they say that Gaura does not have an eternal abode? Or do they simply not mention it?

    If it is simply a case of not mentioning, then why do we celebrate Radhastami, Advaita-saptami, Gaura-purnima, Nityananda Trayodasi – none of these festivals are mentioned in HBV and are not mentioned by the Six Goswamis.

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  4. "Where do they say that Gaura does not have an eternal abode? Or do they simply not mention it?"

    They do not mention it.

    "If it is simply a case of not mentioning, then why do we celebrate Radhastami, Advaita-saptami, Gaura-purnima, Nityananda Trayodasi – none of these festivals are mentioned in HBV and are not mentioned by the Six Goswamis."

    Your and my birthday are also not mentioned in HBV - yet we celebrate them. These days are not official vratas and all Gaudiya schools have different rules for them. They are optional. We, for instance, have a huge festival for Advaita Prabhu yet do not observe Nityananda Trayodashi at all.

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  5. Advaitadas thank you very much, once again, for this wonderful examination of Sri Brhad Bhagavatamrtam, as well as the error laden commentary of Gopiparanadhana

    The comment about Gaura-dhama was to be expected. I shall not say more since that is not the primary issue being discussed. Needless to say I do believe Gaura-dhama is an area of Goloka dham and that Sri Gauranga is always existing there --- he does not just exist when Mahavishnu is breathing outwards and a material creation is going on.

    Anyhow,
    Advaitadas wrote:
    .........................
    2.4.35 The residents of Vaikuntha can contract or withdraw their own families within themselves. How does that work? I suppose it is like Krishna expanding Himself into the boys and the calves during the Brahma Vimohan Lila and then withdrawing them into Himself again.
    .........................

    ---
    Murali: I have always been struck by this statement in BB about the devotees expanding their families, jewels, chamaras, paraphenalia, etc from themselves.

    According to my Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur taught that we do not fall "from Vaikuntha" but from the Brahman halo of Vaikuntha, which indeed can be the halo of particular Vaikuntha Vasis such as Subala Sakha, Sri Rupa Manjari, etc.

    So as in the statement of Brhadbhagavatamrtam where a primary person expands various secondary persons from within themself [oh my god, how amazing this statement is!!!], I understand that as in the case of a guru and his sisyas a Vaikuntha vasi can expand their team of active conscious servants and do expanded service.

    A fallen soul who ascends to Brahman liberation ascends to his original uncontaminated state as stated in the Gita (that the soul is by nature brahman and pure -- as opposed to idea that the fallen soul is impure consciousness or whatever at the very core). Thus, a soul may re-ascend into the halo of Baladev or Mahavishnu, or Sri Radha or Subala or whoever, when they attain mukti. But being indifferent to bhakti devi they do not look towards the Guru who they are eternally connected to. The liberated but non-devotionally inclined soul hovers on the borderline of Param-padam but can fall again into ahamkara and martya-loka if they decide to imagine themself as One with the All-Pervading Absolute.

    ye 'nye ravindaksa vimukta-maninas
    tvayy asta-bhavad avisuddha-buddhayah
    aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah
    patanty adho 'nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah - Bhag

    and
    om tad visnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti surayah diviva caksur atatam
    tad vipraso vipanyavo jagrvamsah samindhate visnor yat paramam padam - Rg Veda

    So the souls go up and down from Brahman at the edge of Param-padam until the day they decide "I want to be a devotee" or the fortunate day comes when they get the impetus or mercy of the Lord or His devotees and begin to engage in Seva; this happy day is the beginning of their path of progress into Vaikuntha - a place they have never been inside before.

    Advaitadas I do understand that basing your understanding on the shastra you may not be inclined to accept this at all; that is fine with me. But I simply wanted to express the instructions we received from Srila Sridhar Dev Goswami Maharaj.


    ys,
    Muralidhar das

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  6. Murali, thank you for that response. Indeed, as you say, I do not accept that theory as it is contrary to what Shastra says. I have received some comments recently on an old blog of 3 years ago and although they are of a different nature and contents than yours, I did provide a number of texts for reference there to show that indeed there is neither a beginning nor a purpose to our conditioned existence. The verse ye'nye'ravindaksa also does not speak of falling from brahman, as explained in my blogs of March 15, 2006, April 7, 2009 and most recently July 28, 2009.

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  7. Advaitadas I am confused. Do you think nobody can fall down into material life after attaining the experience of sayujya mukti?

    - Murali

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  8. Sri Brahma Samhita verse 21

    The same jiva is eternal and is for eternity and without a beginning joined to the Supreme Lord by the tie of an eternal kinship. He is transcendental spiritual potency.**

    Commentary by Srila Jiva Gosvami

    In this verse the author describes the relationship between the individual spirit soul and the Supreme Lord. The word "nitya" here means "for all time, without either beginning or end". This means that as the sun and the sunlight have an eternal relationship, so the Supreme Lord and the individual spirit soul also have an eternal relationship. In Sri Narada-pancaratra it is said:

    "The individual spirit soul is spiritual and conscious. It lives on the border between the spiritual and material worlds. It can leave that border, enter the material world, and become contaminated by the modes of nature. That is said to be the spirit soul."

    In the Bhagavad-gita (15.7) Lord Krsna declares;

    "The living entities in this conditioner world are My parts and parcels and they are eternal."*

    The individual spirit soul is an impartial judge, a witness of both the original spiritual world and the reflection that is the material world. In that sense the individual soul is called "prakrti". This use of the word "prakrti" is seen in these words spoken by Lord Krsna in Bhagavad-gita (7.5):

    "There is a superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities."

    The eternal relationship between the Supreme Lord and the individual spirit souls is also seen in these words of Mundaka Upanisad (3.1.1) and Svetasvatara Upanisad (4.6):

    "The Supreme Personality of Godhead and the individual spirit soul are like two friendly birds sitting on the same tree."

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  9. Murali, re your quotation of Jiva's Brahma Samhita 5.21 tika: that translation of Narada Pancaratra is not correct. It does not say that it can enter the material world - tatastha is not a geographical region, nor is there any historical sequence. The text says sva samvedyAd vinirgata, having left its samvedya, which can mean the junction of two rivers or intelligibility. In any case, all such statements are covered and overruled by the many statements in shastra that there is neither a beginning nor a purpose to the jivas' conditioning. The famous verse anAdi bahirmukh shows there is no historical sequence.

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  10. "Advaitadas I am confused. Do you think nobody can fall down into material life after attaining the experience of sayujya mukti?"

    Murali, the fact that there is a mass of evidence (found in the links I provided to my previous blogs on this matter) that there is neither a beginning to our ignorance nor to our karma, excludes the possibilities of us ever having been anywhere else but here - not in Golok, not in Vaikuntha nor in Brahma Sayujya.

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  11. With all respects, Advaitadas, and certainly not meaning to be contentious, I have a different idea about this topic.

    Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.7.5
    yayā sammohito jīvaātmānaḿ tri-guṇātmakamparo 'pi manute 'narthaḿtat-kṛtaḿ cābhipadyate

    Due to this external energy, the living entity, although transcendental to the three modes of material nature, thinks of himself as a material product and thus undergoes the reactions of material miseries

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  12. Murali, what is exactly the point you want to make with that sloka?

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  13. This has been added to my blog of December 18, 2009:

    2.1.36-37 Staying on the topic of dIkSA, verse 36 seems to confirm the possibility of dream-initiation: tasyAH sakAzAt tuSTAyAH svapne mantraM dazAkSaram 'Kamakhya devi gave 10-syllable Gopal-mantra to the brahmin from Pragjyotishpur in a dream." However, in 2.1.62, Sanatan Goswami's tika, the Vaishnavas of Mathura told the brahmin from Pragjyotishpur: guroH sakAzAd gRhItA dIkSA yair ityanena tava tathAtvAbhAvAt tan mantra japenApi drutaM na kincij jnAnAdikaM sampadyata 'We are initiated by a Guru, but you are not, so you cannot swiftly attain knowledge, even if you practise the mantra."

    2.1.62 had already been commented upon, but I had missed the point of the dream-initiation in verse 36.

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  14. Dear Advaitadas

    Sorry I didn't reply earlier but I have been busy dealing with some urgent problems

    I do respect your point of view and knowlege in regard to these topics. And with all respect, may I just say I have a different reading of the shastra and teachings of the Goswamis.

    Someone may say there are many statements in shastra saying there is neither a beginning nor a purpose to the jivas' conditioning. Someone else may then say there was once a time when triguna Maya had no existence (Bhag.2.9.33) and that just as when sparks emanate from a fire (Bhag 8.3.22-24) the jivatma souls emanated from the pure existence of nirguna oneness called siddhaloka in Chaitanya Charitamrta. The jiva emanated from siddhaloka or nirguna Brahman and entered Maya.

    In this way, different people have different points of view.

    I suggest no soul is constantly connected to the asat material existence rather the mass of souls known as tatastha shakti are like creatures on a beach which are sometimes submerged by the tide and sometimes not.

    Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.7.5
    yayā sammohito jīvaātmānaḿ tri-guṇātmakamparo 'pi manute 'narthaḿtat-kṛtaḿ cābhipadyate

    Due to this external energy, the living entity, although transcendental to the three modes of material nature, thinks of himself as a material product and thus undergoes the reactions of material miseries.

    So previously I commented, paro 'pi manute 'narthaḿ tat-kṛtaḿ cābhipadyate, or in English that we are making the assumption we are part of Maya but we are "Parah".

    apareyam itas tv anyam prakrtim viddhi me param
    jiva-bhutam maha-baho yayedam dharyate jagat - Gita 7.5

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  15. "Sorry I didn't reply earlier but I have been busy dealing with some urgent problems."

    I learned of your problems, sorry to hear of it.

    "Someone else may then say there was once a time when triguna Maya had no existence (Bhag.2.9.33)..."

    There is really no such a statement in that verse. And if there are statements that
    eko vai nArAyaNa AsIn na brahmA na ISAno nApo nAgI samau neme Etc, 'In the beginning there was only Narayan not Brahma, Shiva, fire etc', then this is a metaphorical statement to establish Narayan's supremacy. Otherwise it would contradict 'na tvevAhaM jAtu nAsam na tvaM neme narAdhipAH' from Bhagavad Gita 2.12 - never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you nor all these kings', plus all the verses that follow in the Gita proclaiming the soul to be unborn.

    "....and that just as when sparks emanate from a fire (Bhag 8.3.22-24) the jivatma souls emanated from the pure existence of nirguna oneness called siddhaloka in Chaitanya Charitamrta."

    You are quoting two verses in one sentence here. The first one does not say there is a beginning to our conditioning, the second one you did not specify. If you do so, we can study them and discuss them.

    "The jiva emanated from siddhaloka or nirguna Brahman and entered Maya."

    Please quote the appropriate text here.

    "I suggest no soul is constantly connected to the asat material existence rather the mass of souls known as tatastha shakti are like creatures on a beach which are sometimes submerged by the tide and sometimes not."

    If the jiva would be constantly coming in and out of the spiritual world like a rollercoaster there must be some cause of that - maya being in the spiritual world. That is an impossibility, both based on shastra (na yatra mAyA, SB 2.9.10) and on logic [the spiritual world is a place of absolute perfection, be it Brahman, Golok or Vaikuntha].

    "Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.7.5
    yayā sammohito jīvaātmānaḿ tri-guṇātmakamparo 'pi manute 'narthaḿtat-kṛtaḿ cābhipadyate
    Due to this external energy, the living entity, although transcendental to the three modes of material nature, thinks of himself as a material product and thus undergoes the reactions of material miseries. So previously I commented, paro 'pi manute 'narthaḿ tat-kṛtaḿ cābhipadyate, or in English that we are making the assumption we are part of Maya but we are "Parah".
    apareyam itas tv anyam prakrtim viddhi me param"

    This does not speak of either a beginning or a purpose to our conditioning. It is well established that we are citkaNa spirit souls. Nobody argues that.

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  16. QUOTE:
    'In the beginning there was only Narayan not Brahma, Shiva, fire etc', then this is a metaphorical statement to establish Narayan's supremacy.

    -- Metaphorical? I don’ t think so. Shastra says that before the universe existed there was no illusion. Brahma and Shiva who are limbs of the sahasra-sirsha purusha were existing and were not separate from the Adi-Purusha so it is true to say Naarayana was the only reality in the beginning. At that time there were atmas who were asleep to the fact (Bhagavad Gita 2.69). Shastra does say that only pure existence was in existence. Everything was merged in (achintya bheda-abheda) oneness and no material action or thought was in existence. Bhagavatam says this. There was no triguna Maya and there was only a pure state of being – there was no mundane duality at all only the unity of pure sat-chit-ananda existence. Then Lord Maha-Vishnu made a new creation and the jiva souls, awakening with their own peculiar consciousness, begin acting and thinking in mundane ways once again. Scripture says there was no Maya when they were merged in Maha-Vishnu.

    Is Srimad Bhagavatam 11.24.17 also metaphorical? I don't know if “metaphorical” is the right word to use. Perhaps a deeper understanding would come to us if we carefully examine the message being conveyed in that verse.

    I would suggest that as when sparks emanate from a fire (Bhag 8.3.22-24) the jivatma souls emanated from transcendental Brahman.

    Additionally, can it be said categorically that a soul who has given up all bodily existence and attained sayujya mukti in Brahman will never ever fall from Brahman?
    If it is so, doesn't this mean that some atheist individuals (souls) who are of the opinion Shivo'ham or so'hum can factually attain to an eternally blissful and omnipotent state (siddhalok) from which they never ever fall?

    There is that state of being the atheists are seeking, in which they are going to be perpetually considering themself to be Ishwara, and if it is true they can attain that state (so'hum) where no superior power can ever divert them from this atheistic thinking, then isn't it true that this atheist jiva has the possibility to become merged entirely with Ishwara forever and become the Parameshwara? Is it not so?

    Bear in mind that in Buddhas' teaching a person may simply be agnostic towards God - we don't need to consider whether there is any God at all since the ability to gain eternal mukti is something we control ourselves. Somebody like young Madhavananda might say that attaining bhakti is something we can only get through grace but blissful mukti I can attain by my own effort - so I am going to abandon my attempt at bhakti and go looking for mukti instead.

    Are the atheists right when they say they can become God? There is the belief that the Buddhist and Shakarite atheists have, that they can merge their existence with the impersonal Absolute. If indeed the atheist can merge his essence in the all pervading oneness of the Absolute Being and then remain in the merged state for ever more, then is it true they can become God?

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  17. Murali, briefly -
    Actually I found out that the eko narayana asit text deals with material creation and Narayan is Maha Vishnu. So indeed, when the universal eggs are merged in Maha-vishnu and before they are about to emerge from Him at the time of creation, only Narayan is there and not Shiva, Brahma etc. My apologies for the misunderstanding, it is indeed not a metaphorical glorification. It does not change the fact of beginningless ignorance in any way, though.

    I cannot find the clue to your reference to 11.24.17, please explain your point there.

    As for 8.3..22-24, in his tika of verse 23 Visvanath quotes the Brihad Aranyaka, saying yathAgneH kSudrA visphulingA, etc, the jivas are sparks from the fire, but not that there is a historical sequence taking place, that once they were in the fire and now they are emanating from it. They are vibhinnamsa, separated sparks, and tatastha, marginal, eternally so.

    As for not falling from Brahman, Sridhar Swami and Visvanatha clearly say in their tikas of SB 10.2.32, that param padam means a attaing and falling from a high birth on earth or in heaven and not to Brahman. I have referred to that in previous blogs, in march 2006.

    As for becoming God, we are not dvaita vadis but acintya bhedabheda vadis, which means that there is oneness and separateness from God at the same time. In devotional fervor we tend to ignore or neglect the non-separate aspect.

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  18. Dear Advaitadas,
    You wrote:
    As for 8.3..22-24, in his tika of verse 23 Visvanath quotes the Brihad Aranyaka, saying yathAgneH kSudrA visphulingA, etc, the jivas are sparks from the fire, but not that there is a historical sequence taking place, that once they were in the fire and now they are emanating from it. They are vibhinnamsa, separated sparks, and tatastha, marginal, eternally so.

    ---
    I would like to see the full translated statement of Visvanatha, if it is possible.

    But also, may I just ask this:

    If a soul will never fall from blissful impersonal Brahman after reaching it, why bother thinking about any separate God since you yourself can be totally and permanently merged with the Absolute simply by practicing the path taught by the impersonalists?

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  19. Murali: "I would like to see the full translated statement of Visvanatha, if it is possible."

    I am not expert enough to give you a precise translation, but I admit I failed to include one crucial word from the Brihad Aranyaka text, vyuccaranti, which means 'coming forth'. So on the surface it seems that jivas come from the fire and merge into it again. This can be understood in different ways though. If you look at the 2nd half of verse 8.3.23 and the whole of 8.3.24 you will see that the context is clearly the material creation, in which jivas come forth and then return again in the colossal body of Mahavishnu. It does not speak of a spiritual creation as spirit was never created (B Gita 2.12)

    Murali:
    "But also, may I just ask this:
    If a soul will never fall from blissful impersonal Brahman after reaching it, why bother thinking about any separate God since you yourself can be totally and permanently merged with the Absolute simply by practicing the path taught by the impersonalists?"

    Individuality is eternal (again, BG 2.12) When a drop of water falls into the ocean it seems to have vanished and merged, but it retains its separate existence as a drop still. Besides, Sankaracarya has admitted that muktA api lilaya vigraha kRtvA bhagavantam bhajanti, even the liberated [merge] souls attain forms and worship the Lord. So though one does not fall down from any region, be it Brahman, Vaikuntha or Goloka, even Shankaracarya admits that one can 'graduate' from impersonal brahman to Bhagavan realization.

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  20. That statement about graduating is really nice. Thanks for that.

    I was just looking at Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.5.23-30 and it seems quite clear that from time to time there is a time when only Bhagavan exists - no illusion.

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  21. Murali,
    Here is Bhanu Swami's translation of Visvanath's tikas to the relevant verses. Please note bold texts:

    3.5.22 ||

    atha te bhagaval-lila
    yoga-mayombrmhitah
    visva-sthity-udbhavantartha
    varnayamy anupurvasah

    TRANSLATION
    I will describe to you the pastimes of the Lord in creating,
    maintaining and destroying the universe, nourished by his energy
    of maya, in sequence.

    COMMENTARY
    First I will begin to describe the pastimes of the purusavataras in answer to your question in verse 5. I will describe the subjects of
    creation, maintenance and destruction, which are made powerful by the Lord's material maya, a special aspect of the Lord's svarupa-sakti (yogamaya). It is explained in the Narada-pañcaratra that maya arises
    as a portion of the yogamaya.

    3.5.23 ||

    bhagavan eka asedam
    agra atmatmanam vibhuh
    atmecchanugatav atma
    nana-maty-upalaksanah

    TRANSLATION
    Bhagavan, who exists in the form of Paramatma and Brahman according
    to the viewpoint, alone existed before the creation of the universe, when the desire to create bodies of the jivas was absent.

    COMMENTARY
    In order to describe creation, the prior state is first described. Before the creation of the universe (idam agre), Bhagavan, full of six powers, existed alone, since everything was merged in him. This means that the Lord acted as the adhisthana-karana, the basis of everything and
    that all his energies, which still existed at that time, are considered the effect. He is the Paramatma, (atmatmanam), worshipped by the yogis, and he is the all-pervading Brahman worshipped by the jnariis
    (vlbhuh). He is thus described differently because of the differing Views of the differing worshippers — bhaktas, yogis and jnanls. Even the srutis describe this. Vasudevo va idamagra aslnna brahma na ca shankara: in the beginning, before the creation of the universe, Vasudeva alone existed, and not Brahma or Siva. Eko narayana tvaslnna brahma nesana: Only Narayana exists, and not Brahma or Siva. Atmaivedamagra asld: the Lord alone existed in the beginning. Sadevaslt: the Lord always existed. Before the creation, for how long was he alone? It started from the previous destruction of matter,
    when there was disappearance (anugatau) of the desire to create
    (iccha) bodies for the jlvas (atma)

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  22. part two:
    3.5.24 ||

    sa va csa tada drasta
    napasyad drsyam ekarat
    mene 'santam ivatmanam
    supta-saktir asupta-drk

    TRANSLATION

    The one purusa, who glances over prakrti, at the beginning of
    creation, could not see her. He, the possessor of maya, who was
    sleeping, and the possessor of spiritual consorts, who were awake, considered himself non-existent without her.

    COMMENTARY
    The purusa is certainly (vai) the glancer over prakrti (drasta). At the beginning of creation (tadAJ, he did not see what should be glanced on for creation, the pradhana (drsyam). He considered himself (atmanam) as if not existing (asantam). This is a poetic convention, like the householder feels non-existent without a wife. This can also
    refer to the collective jivas who existed only in subtle form (atmanam) within himself and would later become visible. Though they existed, he considered them non-existent at that time. Without glancing over prakrti, it was impossible for the Lord to manifest the worlds (but prakrti was invisible). In what state was his dear maya who was to receive his glance? Maya (sakti) was sleeping. A sleeping lover cannot
    be enjoyed. But there were many lovers in a waking state who were
    willing to give the Lord bliss. He had many consorts such as Laksmi,
    functions of his cit-sakti (asupta-drk). However, for creating the universe, the Lord at that time needed the external energy, mayasakti, though she is inferior.

    3.5.25 I

    sa va etasya samdrastuh
    saktih sad-asad-atmika
    maya nama maha-bhaga
    yayedam nirmame vibhuh

    TRANSLATION
    O great soul! That energy, composed of cause and effect, which belongs to the glancing Lord, is called maya. By this energy the Lord creates the universe.

    COMMENTARY
    By his will, maya-sakti awoke. That is explained here. That energy (sa), certainly (vai) has the form of cause and effect (sad-asad-atmifea). By that energy the Supreme Lord (vibhuh) creates this universe (idam).

    3.5.26 ||

    kala-vrttya tu mayayam
    guna-mayyam adhoksajah
    purusenatma-bhutena
    vlryam adhatta viryavan

    TRANSLATION
    Bhagavan, lord of Maha-vaikuntha, in his svamsa expansion as the
    purusa, full of potency, at a certain moment of time, placed the
    jivas into maya which became agitated by the gunas.

    COMMENTARY
    Bhagavan, the Lord of Maha-vaikuntha, the source of the first purusa who is the master of maya, is shown as the cause of all causes, the final shelter. Then the beginning of creation is described. "With the initial action of time (kAla-vRttya)" means "at the initial moment of
    inhalation and exhalation of the maha-purusa.
    Adhoksaja refers to the lord of Maha-vaikuntha, Bhagavan. By his svamsa portion, the first purusa, the controller of maya, he placed the jiva-sahti, a semblance of consciousness (viryam), in maya, who was enjoyed from a distance by his glance. Mama yonir mahad brahma tasmin garbham dadhamy aham: the great expanse of prakrti is my womb and in that womb, I place the seed of all jlvas. (BG 14.3) In the Gita verse garbham refers to the mass of jivas. Sridhara Svami and Madhusudana Sarasvati explain it in this way: at the time of creation, I combine the jivas who were merged in me at pralaya and attached to ignorance, lust and Varma with the field meant for enjoying.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Advaitadas thanks for posting these new things.
    ----
    TRANSLATION
    Bhagavan, lord of Maha-vaikuntha, in his svamsa expansion as the
    purusa, full of potency, at a certain moment of time, placed the
    jivas into maya which became agitated by the gunas.
    ---

    Yes.

    We were merged in Parambrahma but they didn't know it.

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  24. Murali, just remember this comment to that verse {which I highlighted in my previous comment}:

    "I combine the jivas who were merged in me at pralaya...."

    Placing the jivas in maya means at the beginning of each cosmic creation, not at a primeval moment in time....

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  25. Advaitadas, yes absolutely that verse says what you say. Placing the jivas in maya means at the beginning of each cosmic creation, not at a primeval moment in time.

    The souls were MERGED in Brahman then they emerged.

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  26. "The souls were MERGED in Brahman then they emerged."

    That you need still to prove -

    1. From shastra
    2. From logic [fall is a flaw in a world of absolute perfection and serves no purpose]

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  27. I have been reading CC.

    Madhya 24.129-31 says if a person becomes liberated in Brahman by jnana without bhakti then they fall down.

    Kaviraj also wrote:
    jīvan-muktā api punar yānti saḿsāra-vāsanām
    yady acintya-mahā-śaktau bhagavaty aparādhinaḥ
    (Madhya 25.76)

    Someone may argue that while a jivan mukta may enter samsara because of his atheist ideas a person who has actually merged (prāpta-svarūpa Madhya 24.121) does not fall.

    In reply, it may be said that if they are of an atheist jnani or a buddhist temperament then on the basis of Madhya 24.129-31 it can be said that they do fall eventually.

    Madhya 24.109 confirms this. Atheists are never eternally liberated even when merged in Brahman.

    Reading Madhya 24.108-9 again and again and again, the point Kaviraj Gosai is making seems clear to me. I honestly believe 109 says only the bhakta will ever really attain proper liberation in Brahman. The atheists fall from the state of perfect peace because of their innate impurity.

    Thus comes the natural conclusion:
    Madhya 24.134
    bhakti-bale 'prāpta-svarūpa' divya-deha pāya
    kṛṣṇa-guṇākṛṣṭa hañā bhaje kṛṣṇa-pā'ya

    I feel nothing can ever divert me from feeling this is the actual understanding being conveyed by Kaviraj Goswami. I feel people who advocate a different reading of this topic in CC are mistaken.

    I may be wrong about a lot of things in my life and in my head, but the idea that an atheist can merge forever with Parambrahma is something Kaviraj told me is untrue, and I believe him.

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  28. Dear Advaitadas,
    just in view of your last comment:
    That you need still to prove -

    1. From shastra
    2. From logic [fall is a flaw in a world of absolute perfection and serves no purpose]

    -----
    in regard to point 2.... It seems like you are saying that I think souls fall from Vaikuntha. I most definitely do not think that.

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  29. " Kaviraj also wrote:
    jīvan-muktā api punar yānti saḿsāra-vāsanām
    yady acintya-mahā-śaktau bhagavaty aparādhinaḥ
    (Madhya 25.76)"

    There are two kinds of mukta - jivanmukta and atyantik mukta. This deals with jivanmukta, those who are liberated while still in a material body. The falldown is not mentioned for atyantik muktas, [prApta brahmaloy]. That covers your next argument too.

    "Madhya 24.109 confirms this. Atheists are never eternally liberated even when merged in Brahman."

    Verse 109 says that mukti is unattainable without bhakti, period. The demons killed by Krishna were in contact with Him as an absolute truth. This is explained in the first chapter of canto 7 by Narada to Yudhisthira.
    The second half of verse 109 speaks of muktA api lilaya vigrahaM kRtvA, which I quoted earlier, of Shankaracarya.

    "Thus comes the natural conclusion:
    Madhya 24.134
    bhakti-bale 'prāpta-svarūpa' divya-deha pāya
    kṛṣṇa-guṇākṛṣṭa hañā bhaje kṛṣṇa-pā'ya."

    This too refers to the muktA api lilayA principle of Shankaracarya. prapta svarupa here means atyantik mukta.

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  30. "in regard to point 2.... It seems like you are saying that I think souls fall from Vaikuntha. I most definitely do not think that."

    I know that, but it makes no difference - brahman, goloka, vaikuntha - all of them are features of the Spiritual Sky, which is a place of Absolute Perfection, from which one cannot fall. How can it be perfect if one can fall from it?

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