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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mother Śāradā on faults

This summer I had the following exchange with some friends at Facebook:

"I tell you one thing my child -- if you want peace, do not find fault with others. Rather, see your own faults. Learn to make the world your own. No one is a stranger, my child; the whole world is your own."
(From Śrī Śāradā Devī's last words, spoken before passing away on July 20, 1920)

Advaita Das:
"I like especially the first half of this teaching."

"I like the first bit the best as well. As for the rest, if all jīvas are nitya kṛṣṇa dās, then all jīvas are "ātmiya-svajan." (Bengali for 'relatives', AD) Isn't it?

Advaita Das
"If you point one finger at another, you point three fingers at yourself. Whenever you criticize someone, if you practice some ruthless introspection, you will be shocked to find you have done the same thing at some time in the past or are even doing it at present as well. At least that is my experience. That brings peace. Just shut up and do bhajan."

YES! Exactly. I always have a list of grand excuses for why I've done something grandly stupid, while if someone else makes a tiny mistake I am ready to write him or her off as a phony. Gurudev also said, "mānuṣer prati kaṭākṣa na janmāy, nirabe bhajan korā-i niyam!" (Do not cast glances at anyone. Just shut up and do bhajan!)

Advaita Das
"Just see - I unconsciously quoted your Gurudeva. Making grand excuses at least shows some acknowledgement of faults, whereas I am so low I don't even recognize the faults in myself that I see in others."

Bhakta 2:
"I heard that when you criticise, you build a bridge and the faults come trotting over it to you ... me, that is."

"I came to Vraj with no awareness of any of my faults, but from day 1 Rādhārāṇī started making all the biggest, crunchiest and nastiest things about me public knowledge, until I could no longer convince myself that I am anything but fallen. Good thing Nitai Chāṅd loves fallen people. Still I know there are tons of anarthas left over that I haven't noticed yet. By your kṛpā maybe one day I will."

As (Rādhākuṇḍa's late Kṛṣṇa Dās) Madrasi Baba often told me - gaurer āmār sob bhālo , ami eka-mātra mando o choto "Everyone is Gaur's and they are all good, only I am bad and low" āmi śata doṣer doṣī - I have 100 faults, āmi sahasra doṣer doṣī - I have 1000 faults, āmi koṭi doṣer doṣī - I have 10,000.000 faults" eto guṇe guṇī āmi sob somoy sakaler doṣa-ṭā-i dekhi, kintu āmāke sakaler guṇ-ṭā-ke khujte beḍābe, tabe tā'hole se-o ei adhamer madhye ye guṇ dekhite pābe ekatra ubhoy bose ki korile bhālo hoy sob somoy cintā korā jāy. "Because of these shortcomings I always try to find some faults in others, although in reality I do possess them myself in a concentrated way. Rather I should always try to find the good qualities in others. If I adopt such a behaviour they will maybe detect some good qualities in me although I don't have any, and in this way we may then find a place to sit together and converse gently. It should always be done like this."

The Mother said: "-- If you want peace, do not find fault with others."

Kṛṣṇa says ; nirmamo nirahaṅkāra sa śāntim ādhigacchati - "He who is without possessiveness or false ego, attains peace." (Bhagavad Gītā 2.71)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Jhulan Ekādaśī

Giridhārī on the Jhulan, on Jhulan Ekādaśī, Friday 20 august 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

pāpa puruṣa

An inquiry on the sin in the grains on Ekādaśī to Dr. Satya-nārāyan Dās.

Prabhuji Rādhe Rādhe
I have a question about the pāpa puruṣa: It is said to enter the grains on Ekādaśī-day, yet śāstra also says that children younger than 8 and elders older than 80 are exempt from fasting from grains, what to speak of non-Vaiṣṇavas. Does the pāpa puruṣa not pervade their grains then? How should we picture this pāpa puruṣa?"

Satya-nārāyana Das
"pāpa means improper action, that which will harm oneself and the society i.e. which will create moral imbalance. Actions depend upon the state of mind. Mind is most influenced by food. The moon, besides being the presiding deity of mind, is also the king of vanaspati (foodstuff). It is understood that the quality of food changes with time. Āyurveda is very explicit about it. Time is calculated by the movements of the luminaries. On Ekādaśī grains are not salubrious for the mind so they should be avoided . This fact is told in the story form for a common person. In case of child or old person also the pāpa-puruṣa is there but probably the outcome of not eating would be worse than that of eating, so choose the least of bad effects. "
(August 6, 2010)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Māyā, Rāmānuja, Sītājī, China, Guru-tyāga and Vahan tattva

Bhakta: "Since Durgā-devī is Vaiṣṇavī and she is a servant of Kṛṣṇa, māyā is allright."

Advaitadas: "If serving Māyā is serving Kṛṣṇa then alcohol, meat and prostitution is also devotional service? Mahāprabhu says - kṛṣṇa sūrya sama - māyā hoy andhakāra - Kṛṣṇa is the sun and Māyā is darkness. yāhā kṛṣṇa tāhā nāhi māyār adhikāra - Where there is Kṛṣṇa, māyā has no rights."

* * *

Bhakta: "Some say Rāmānujācārya loudly chanted the secret dīkṣā-mantra and whoever heard it became his disciple. Please comment."

Advaitadas: "It is often used by some institutions to justify their extreme missionary zeal. Whether the story is true or not,

1. We are not Rāmānujaites but Gauḍīyas. We have our own doctrine, leaders and role-models.
2. śāstra is śāstra, and we must follow it. We cannot and should not imitate the great ones, being only small ourselves. naitat samācarej jātu.
3. The confidentiality and personal nature of the dīkṣā-process will be destroyed if we all acted like that."

* * *

Recently a Facebook-friend expressed reservations about the abandonment of Sītā by Rāma, saying that this is not a God she could support. My response was:

"When you begin to criticize Lord Rāma in this way you have clearly not understood Rāma-līlā. Caitanya Caritāmṛta (Madhya 9.188-196) clearly says materialists cannot even see Sītājī, let alone touch Her. Rāvan kidnapped only a māyā- [false] Sītā. The punishment of Sītā by Rāma seems very harsh, but 3 things you must remember -

1. Although this is of course a līlā of the Lord and His eternal energy, in this līlā Sitaji was not totally innocent - She disobeyed Lakṣman by stepping out of the protective circle he had drawn for Her and She made Vaiṣṇava-aparādha to him too by claiming he did not want to leave the circle to answer to the call for help by the bogus-Rām named Marīca, because he was attracted to Her, his own sister in law.
2. Sītā is the Supreme Lord's inseparable śakti, so the abandoned Sītā must also have been a material māyā-Sītā.
3. Mahāprabhu was also very stern by rejecting Choṭa Haridās, driving him to suicide, to make a certain point very clear - vairāgīs do not dally with women. Similarly, Rāma made clear to the women of the world not to disobey their husbands or falsely accuse their brothers in law.
Bhakti means we are judged by God and not that we judge God or pick and choose what decisions of Him we will accept and what we don't. That is not surrender.

* * *

Although Viṣṇudāsa glosses the word cīna in Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi 10.40 as 'very soft', Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī and Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda say: cīnasya tan nāma deśodbhavasya. "China is a country of that name". It is interesting that there is some knowledge of foreign countries in the writings of the previous ācāryas. That word cīna is translated as Chinese also by some in Vilāpa Kusumāñjali verse 22 - pānīyaṁ cīna-vastraiḥ etc., though, to preserve the mādhurya I think it better to gloss it as 'very soft'.

* * *

In his ṭīkā of Śrīmad Bhāgavat 10.45.32, Ācārya Vaṁśīdhara quotes the Mahābhārat -

vidyāṁ śrutvā ye guruṁ nādriyante
pratyāsannā manasā karmaṇā ca
teṣāṁ pāpaṁ bhrūṇa-hatyā viśiṣṭaṁ
tebhyo nānyaḥ pāpa-kṛc cāsti loke

'A person who hears knowledge from the Guru and does not respect him or awaits on him with his mind and actions, is as sinful as an abortionist. No one in the world is as sinful as him."

This verse shows that the sin of abortion (bhrūṇa-hatyā) was already committed so many thousands of years ago, and it also shows a clear condemnation of guru-tyāgīs.

* * *

Finally, I had this interesting exchange with Dr. Satya-Nārāyan Dās about vahana tattva (the Lord's vehicles) -

Advaita Das 02 august -
"Prabhuji, Rādhe Rādhe. Every God has a vahana - Viṣṇu has Garuḍa, Brahmā the Marāla swan, Shiva the bull Nandī, Kāmadeva has a parrot, Ganesh a mouse, but Kṛṣṇa, Rām and Mahāprabhu do not have a vehicle. Is there a significance in this? Perhaps this shows their humanity?"

Satyanarayana Dasa 02 august -
"Rāma has Hanumān, and Kṛṣṇa has Garuḍa. But because their līlā is a human līlā they do not use them unless to show their aiśvarya side, like when Kṛṣṇa went to fight with Bhaumāsura and then went to heaven to return the ear-rings. So you are right "this shows their humanity".