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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Aindra's book, part 2

Reminder: This is a review of the e-copy of Aindra Dās' book. If anyone notices that the final printed copy does not contain some or any of the upcoming quotes, or reversely, that there may be important things left out in the e-copy, please let me know.

On pages 62-63 Aindra writes,

"Having become “fixed-up” and satisfied on the brahminical platform of goodness (sthitam sattve prasidati), one becomes freed from the major lot of gross material distractions. At this point one may gradually focus and absorb one’s mind and heart (from smarana, dharana, dhyana, anusmriti, to samadhi) in the remembrance of one’s given vraja-svarupa while cultivating the mental service of Radha-Krishna’s eightfold daily pastimes (asta-kaliya-lila-manasa-seva)."

Brahminhood and the mode of goodness, however, have nothing to do with aṣṭakāla līlā adhikāra, though surely purity is required for the practise of līlā smaraṇam. It is surely nice he speaks about a given svarūpa here.

More on page 63:

"After the attainment of svarupa-siddhi, a siddha-bhakta anxiously cries to be reinstated in his or her original constitutional relationship (vastu-siddhi) with the Lord."

How can one cry for perfection when one is already perfect (siddha bhakta), and then even for 'reinstatement' as if we have been in the spiritual world before? And where does the word vastu siddhi appear in the ācāryas' books?

Page 72 - "Do not bother yourself to become too much infatuated with Krishna. Rather, act in such a way that Lord Krishna may become ever more infatuated with you."

I have heard this siddhānta in many Iskcon lectures but somehow have never found it in śāstra. I cannot see any difference between one and the other. How can one not get infatuated with Kṛṣṇa unless one is a walking refrigerator? And why would one act in a way to infatuate Kṛṣṇa unless one is already infatuated with Him and thus eager to experience His presence?

Also on page 72:
"Just as there are left-wing (vama) and right-wing (daksina) yutheshvari-gopis and sakhis with many varieties of devotional dispositions, so also there are many varieties of left- and right-wing manjaris. Rati Manjari is daksina-mridvi by nature, right wing and very soft and sweet. As evidenced in Srila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami’s Vilapa-kusumanjali, Rati Manjari, from her right-wing vantage point, stands as perhaps the greatest exemplar of the mood of belonging to her yutheshvari, Shri Radhika. “I am Yours! I am Yours! I cannot live without You! O queen, please understand this and bring me to Your lotus feet.”

This is not in any śāstra either – it would mean that so-called 'left wing mañjarīs' would say "Rādhe! You are mine You are mine" (which is the madīyatā bhava of vāma nāyikās)? The madīyatā- (‘you are mine!’) and tadīyatā- (‘I am yours’) parties are the sakhīs, who have a certain attitude towards Kṛṣṇa,  not the mañjarīs, who have the bhāvollāsa rati (preference for the devotee over the Lord) towards Smt. Rādhārāṇī.

Aindra:
"The famous Shri Ananga Manjari is also vama-madhya in temperament."

Aindra gives no source reference to this. About Anaṅga Mañjarī: In Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā [1.96-97] Śrī Rūpa Goswāmī lists Anaṅga Mañjarī among the vara-sakhis; they are like the aṣṭa-sakhī [etad aṣṭaka kalpabhiḥ], they are nāyikās and are 12 years old. Rūpa Goswāmī only lists mañjarīs at the end of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā, not including Anaṅga Mañjarī. This would indicate that the mañjarīs have another, non-sambhoga, relationship with Kṛṣṇa than the, also 12-year old, vara sakhīs. The vara-sakhī class could indicate that [some] mañjarīs, or 12-year olds, do have vilāsa with Kṛṣṇa and that mañjarīs need not always be fully celibate, and some verses in Govinda Līlāmṛta and Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta seem to support that too, but the mañjarī-tattva of the majority of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, that ‘mañjarī’ means 'bud' and is therefore not enjoyable by the bee, and the mañjarīs do not enjoy with Kṛṣṇa,  period, is far more relishable, and that is also clearly expressed in Vilāpa Kusumāñjali’s verse 16, which is pivotal to that rasa siddhānta and indeed to the entire Vilāpa Kusumāñjali.

On p.73, Aindra says:

"He (Krishna) often finds Himself futilely begging at the feet of Radha’s relentless left-wing manjari maidservants who derisively keep Him at bay, playfully enhancing the effectiveness of the vipralambha-rasa...."

Here Aindra promotes his own brand of mañjarī bhāva-shaped sakhī-bhāva. mañjarīs do not reject Kṛṣṇa out of vāmya but out of loyalty to Rādhā alone. A study of Mañjarī Swarūpa Nirūpaṇa could have helped him perhaps.

p. 78-9: "Greed-induced multi-aspected absorption in ananda-maya-vraja-bhakti-bhajana, both internal and external, could never in its real light be discerned by a deepest intellect to be a selfish or self-centered affair. It should never be confounded with the egoistical approach of the Himalayan forest-dwelling liberationist referred to by Prahlada in his prayers to Lord Nrisimhadeva, as recounted in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. If it were, it could hardly be accepted as vraja-bhakti, because by definition, at its very core, the exclusively selfless, self-giving service attitude...."

I am glad that Aindra independently had the same realization as I had on this issue. The Bhāgavata verse 7.9.44 does not condemn rāgānuga bhajanānandīs at all, nor does it even mention them, though the verse is sometimes used to condemn rāgānuga devotees as selfish. It speaks simply of yogīs and jñānīs meditating in the Himalaya.

Aindra continues on p.79:
"Lalasamayi, the intense desire for being reinstated in one’s eternal, constitutional, perfect spiritual body (siddha-deha) as an eternal resident of Vraja, should in no way be presupposed by anyone to be any sort of gross or subtle material or spiritual sense gratification."

This too I applaud (though ‘reinstated’ and ‘constitutional siddha deha’ are again beyond the parameters of Vaiṣṇava theology).

On pages 80-81 Aindra reconciles the bhajanānandī and goṣṭhyānandī (a division which was never made by the Goswāmīs anyway) by saying :

"The incomparable, unswerving life of concentrated bhajana fortitude exemplified by the Gosvamis and their followers in and of itself stands ever monumental in the hearts of the anuragi Vaishnavas and perennially serves as a pre-eminent paragon for the world at large,......"

He repeats this reconciliation on page 85 too, where he calls denouncement of either bhajanānandī or goṣṭhyānandī 

'perverse, lopsided religio-institutional bias, immature subjective superstition."

This is surely to be applauded.

On p.84 Aindra pleads further for the bhajanānandīs in a charming way, saying that

"all the trees, creepers, insects, lizards, rodents, birds, and other creatures within or around our shuddha-nama bhajananandi’s bhajana-kutira – how many souls would be residing within his very body?"

, and:

"Any sound vibration produced anywhere on this planet is believed to encircle the Earth seven times before dissolution. This makes it possible for his chanting to purify the ethereal atmosphere of the whole world. The result would be all the more powerful if he would be living in Vrindavana, where the purificatory benefits mount a thousand fold. No man is an island."

p.86: "Some less-than-philosophically-astute individuals attempt to purposefully popularize as institutional dogma a fallacious understanding that by externally serving Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana movement in vaidhi bhakti alone one will automatically pop up somehow or other in vraja-lila after the end of the present life – an unverifiable post-dated check."

Bravo again. I would give the following example - if you go out on book distribution and just stand on the street like a tree, how many books will you sell? You have to go and approach people, do something, then you will get the result. Similarly, just lazily and passively thinking "Oh, siddha deha will be revealed if I just submissively do my service" will not do the job. That has been proven also in the growing history of western Vaiṣṇavism,.

To be continued.............

4 comments:

  1. > And where does the word vastu
    > siddhi appear in the acaryas' books?

    This word appears everywhere in Srila Saccitananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura's books.

    "Even though we surpass asakti, we will remain in contact with matter as long as we possess a subtle body. However, by Krsna’s mercy, the subtle body can be quickly destroyed. Contact with matter is an impediment. As long as this impediment is present, a living entity will not attain vastu- siddhi, ultimate perfection. As soon as we attain prema, however, our constitutional position will awaken and we will become eligible to achieve rasa."
    (Caitanya-siksamrta 7/1)

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  2. I know that. With acaryas I meant the 6 Goswamis, Kaviraj, Visvanath, Baladeva, Narottam.

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  3. Brahminhood and the mode of goodness, however, have nothing to do with astakal lila adhikara, though surely purity is required for the practise of lila smaranam. It is surely nice he speaks about a given svarupa here.

    Agreed.

    "After the attainment of svarupa-siddhi, a siddha-bhakta anxiously cries to be reinstated in his or her original constitutional relationship (vastu-siddhi) with the Lord."

    How can one cry for perfection when one is already perfect (siddha bhakta), and then even for 'reinstatement' as if we have been in the spiritual world before? And where does the word vastu siddhi appear in the acaryas' books?


    As pointed out by Radhe Shyam, this is Bhaktivinode Thakurs word. Personally I suppose vastu is a synonym for svarupa. I agree with your comment it seems impossible that something else can come after svarupa-siddhi. However perhaps if it is not merely a synonym, it is a deeper perfect WITHING svarupa-siddha - much like mahabhava is a deeper perfection within prema.

    How can one not get infatuated with Krishna unless one is a walking refrigerator? And why would one act in a way to infatuate Krishna unless one is already infatuated with Him and thus eager to experience His presence?

    I think it is a practical instruction to the sadhaka who is habituated to be infatuated with objects of enjoyment. It is better advice to us to try to be infatuated with becoming an object of krsna's enjoyment. Everything you say in your comment is correct in my eyes, and is not mutually exclusive to how I have explained this point of view.

    "Just as there are left-wing (vama) and right-wing (daksina) yutheshvari-gopis and sakhis with many varieties of devotional dispositions, so also there are many varieties of left- and right-wing manjaris."

    This is not in any shastra either


    Very interesting.

    Have you read Ananga Manjari Samputika? I have not, but I think Aindra Ji was a big fan of this book. Perhaps this way of looking at the Manjari's is from there?

    About Ananga Manjari: In Radha-Krishna Ganoddesh deepika [1.96-97] Sri Rupa Goswami lists Ananga Manjari among the vara-sakhis; they are like the asta-sakhi [etad aSTaka kalpabhih], they are nayikas and are 12 years old. Rupa Goswami only lists manjaris at the end of Radha-Krishna Ganoddesh deepika, not including Ananga Manjari. This would indicate that the manjaris have another, non-sambhoga, relationship with Krishna than the, also 12-year old, vara sakhis. The vara-sakhi class could indicate that [some] manjaris, or 12-year olds, do have vilasa with Krishna and that manjaris need not always be fully celibate, and some verses in Govinda Lilamrita and Krishna Bhavanamrita seem to support that too, but the manjari-tattva of the majority of Gaudiya Vaishnavas, that ‘manjari’ means bud and is therefore not enjoyable by the bee, and the manjaris do not enjoy with Krishna, period, is far more relishable, and that is also clearly expressed in Vilapa Kusumanjali’s verse 16, which is pivotal to that rasa siddhanta and indeed to the entire Vilapa Kusumanjali.

    Fascinating information. Thank you.

    Here Aindra promotes his own brand of manjari bhava-shaped sakhi bhava. Manjaris do not reject Krishna out of vAmya but out of loyalty to Radha alone. A study of Manjari Swarupa Nirupana could have helped him perhaps.

    I don't expect you to embrace what I am about to say, but speaking as a sishya of Aindra Ji, I personally think Aindra has some sphurti and experience from which he speaks. Since he may lack full reading of siddhanta he may express what he realized in a way that does not conform to the technical classifications of the science.

    The Bhagavata verse 7.9.44 does not condemn raganuga bhajananandis at all, nor does it even mention them

    Jaiho, to this and the rest of your post.

    Your servant,
    Vraja Kishor das

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  4. Vic not only I have read Ananga Manjari Samputika, I translated it into English in 1996. It was however mystically lost from my PC so I took it as a signal that I should stop distributing it. It is philosophically highly complex and contradictory and even the greatest scholars in India could not explain it to me. The bottom line is, however, that Ananga Manjari was never meant to be an upAsya for the Gaudiya Vaishnavas (As Balaramji was neither btw), so Aindra started visiting all kinds of Babajis who might have just told him something about Ananga Manjari, either to impress him or to extract some money from him who knows. The fact is, and you can check the Goswamis books on it, that Ananga Manjari was never meant to be worshipped or followed for that matter. Anantadasji says she is a manjari by age only, but not by function. We are Rupanugis, the whole Sampradaya - not Ananganugis.

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