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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Aindra's book, part 3

This is the third and final part of my review of Aindra Dās’ book "The heart of Transcendental Book distribution."

On page 89, Aindra calls Anaṅga Mañjarī an upasakhī of Lalitā, for which there is no evidence at all, specially since Anaṅga Mañjarī has her own kuñja in the middle of Radhakuṇḍa, distinct and distant from Lalitā's Kuñja on the northern bank. Dhyānacandra Goswāmī calls Anaṅga Mañjarī a student of Viśākhā instead (viśākhikā śikṣitā, verse 26).

Aindra continues:

"Balarama as servitor Godhead is adi-guru in the vatsalya, sakhya, and dasya rasas. Similarly, Balarama’s expanded madhurya-svarupa, Ananga Manjari, is the madhurya-rasa adi-guru,"

This, too, is nowhere in the books of the Goswāmīs. Furthermore he says on this page:

“(Nityananda) in His masculine Baladeva svarupa, is unable to directly relish the experience of being in the position of His shakti-tattva expansion, just as Krishna is unable to directly relish the moods of Radha. He, therefore, in Gaura-lila, accepts the bhava and complexion of His supreme self-same svarupa-shakti counterpart to experience that which was transcendentally impossible in Krishna-lila. Thus Balarama manifests the form of Nityananda Rama in the same way that Krishna dons His Gaura svarupa to savor the ultimate loving disposition of Radha in vipralambha-maha-bhava. As Krishna and Balarama are one, so, similarly, Radha and Ananga Manjari are one. In fact, Ananga Manjari is celebrated as a veritable second Radha."

Such thoughts may be found in booklets like Rāmacandra Goswāmī’s Anaṅga Mañjarī Sampuṭikā, a booklet which declares just about everyone to be one and the same tattva, saying Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma are all one (1.18) and Anaṅga Mañjarī is the Guru (1.12). I translated this book in 1996, but decided to withdraw it again because its tattvas are rather unique and confusing. This point of Aindra of Baladeva wanting to relish the love of Anaṅga Mañjarī is completely skewed because in Kṛṣṇa-līlā, Anaṅga Mañjarī is neither the wife nor the lover of Baladeva. With the same logic one could argue that Jagannāth Miśra appeared in this world to relish the love of Mother Yaśodā?

Fortunately, on page 90 Aindra returns to safer, more stable grounds:

"The edict seva sadhaka-rupena siddha-rupena catra hi / tad-bhava-lipsuna karya vraja-lokanusaratah mentioned in Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu truly for all time applies both externally and internally to sadhakas who have yet to transcend material bondage as well as to siddhas who are jata-rati Vaishnavas having attained the perfect realization of sthayi-bhava, or constant devotional ecstasy. There is no broadly applicable streamlined institutional lame way out."

On page 100 Aindra boldly compares institutional corruption and deviations with the stool, corpses and industrial waste (the corruption) inside the divinely pure Gangā-water (the Sampradāya proper).

On page 105 Aindra burns himself on the apasiddhānta that nāmābhāsa is a stage of chanting-sādhana, and that one lifetime is spent with nāmāparādha, then one with nāmābhāsa and then one with pure nāma, which is not only apasiddhānta, it is also a totally mechanical way of thinking.

In the following 13 pages Aindra rambles on about institutional politics again, adding more to the already burgeoning daivi varṇāśram pie-in-the-sky as if we did not already have enough of those pipe-dreams. He even wants his makeshift śūdras to be 'communists' [p.108]. Instead, non-Indians should just choose a profession according to their skill without giving it any ancient Indian caste-name. Again one wonders - was Aindra really less absorbed in managerial thought than the bureaucrats he constantly condemns?

On p. 127-8 Aindra claims:

"Shastra has it that fifty percent of a disciple’s devotional merit automatically goes to the guru’s account, even without the disciple’s conscious offering. If the disciple consciously sacrifices on behalf of the spiritual master, both the disciple and the guru achieve one hundred times the result of the proffered devotional austerities."

I will have to have another deep look at śāstra perhaps because I have never seen such a mechanical and bureaucratic idea there yet.

On page 128 Aindra independently confirms, in somewhat other words, what I have said all along about the idea that doing bhajan is selfish and for one's own benefit only:

"Yes, we should all agree that it is higher to leave Vrindavana for the benefit of others than to stay in Vrindavana for one’s own benefit, but who says Vrindavana life is meant to be for one’s own benefit? Krishna’s gopas and gopis of Vraja, whose immaculate selfless moods of devotion we are to emulate, never for a moment consider their own benefit. Their every endeavor is to sacrifice for the service of others – the service of Krishna; the service of Radha; the service of Her friends and maidservants;....."

Of course bhajan is for the pleasure of Kṛṣṇa, and not for one's own liberation, as Vaiṣṇavas reject liberation right at the beginning anyway.

The Third Heartfelt Effusion at page 133, starts with a charming one-page description of the Mañjarī-form Aindra visualizes of him/herself, and continues into the next page with an elaborate description of his/her kuñja on the northern bank of Rādhākund.

On page 137 Aindra again swerves into sambhogecchātmikā bhakti [sakhī bhāva], saying:

"And when, in Your smiling presence, by Your incomprehensible kindness, will I ever whisper into His ear, “I love You too!” as Your enchanted, whimsical Shyama, knowing me to be Yours, passionately embraces me to His heart?"

There is more of that on page 139, which is the beginning of a rather charming series of prayers in the mode of Vilāpa Kusumāñjali and Saṅkalpa Kalpadruma.

There is more Sakhī-bhāva-turned mañjarī-bhāva on page 139:

"I will I find myself automatically rising to smilingly muse upon Your Shyamasundara’s distinctive love marks on my person..."

Like Gadādhar Prāṇa before him, Aindra tried to find a fusion between sakhī-bhāva and mañjarī-bhāva.

On page 144 he interrupts all the lovely sweetness with some crude rasābhāsa, telling Kṛṣṇa in American slang: "“Not so fast, buster! She’s our property!"

On the following 23 pages Aindra rewrites some of the main aṣṭakāliya līlās in his own way, involving him/herself as an amorous lover of Kṛṣṇa, thus following in the footsteps of pre-1996 Gadādhar-prāṇa. On page 159, however, Aindra insists his sakhī-bhāva-mixed mañjarī bhāva does not compromise his bhavollāsa rati, claiming his/her separate meetings with Kṛṣṇa would cause Rādhā's 'absolute delight'. There is much evidence against this, I will quote just a few verses here:


ananya śrī rādhā padakamala dāsyaika rasadhī
hareḥ saṅge raṅgam svapana samaye nā'pi dadhati
balāt  kṛṣṇa kūrpāsakabhidi kim apy ācarati kā-
py udāśrur meveti pralapati mamātma ca hasati

(Vṛndāvana Mahimāmṛta 16, 94)

The maidservants, that are exclusively devoted to the service of Śrī Radha's lotus feet, that are like an ocean of nectar, do not enjoy with Śrī Hari even in their dreams. When Kṛṣṇa forcibly pulls at their bodices they cry out: 'No, no!', while Rādhikā watches and laughs."


rādhā raṅga lasat tad ujjvala kalā sañcāraṇā prākriyā 
cāturyottaram eva sevanam ahaṁ govinda samprārthaye
yenāśeṣa vadhū janodbhata manorājya prapañcāvadhau 
nautsukyaṁ bhavad aṅga saṅgama rase'py ālambate man manaḥ

One sakhī was picking flowers for making a vana-mālā and Kṛṣṇa, seeing her, told her: "O beautiful girl! Make your birth a success by joining Me for a while in this kuñja!" Hearing this, that sakhī (mañjarī) said: "O Govinda! I only want to serve while You make love with Śrī Rādhā, showing Your erotic dancing arts on the stage of erotic dancing named Śrī Rādhā!


tvayā yad upabhujyate murajid aṅga saṅge sukham
tad eva bahu jānati svayam avāptitaḥ śuddha-dhīḥ
mayā kṛta vilobhanāpy adhika cāturi cāryayā
kadāpi maṇi mañjarī na kurute'bhisāra spṛhaṁ

Śrī Rādhikā engaged one sakhī to make Maṇi Mañjarī meet with Kṛṣṇa, but that sakhī returned to Rādhā unsuccessfully, saying: "O Rādhe! Maṇi Mañjarī finds more happiness in Your meeting with Kṛṣṇa than in her own! Just see how pure her consciousness is! Although I expertly tried to tempt her to go out and meet Kṛṣṇa, she never desires this!" (Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi, sakhī prakaraṇa 89)

The language of this passage of Aindra’s book is surely very tasty. On page 167 Aindra leaves the nitya līlā format and continues with the prakat līlā, wherein Akrūra comes to take Kṛṣṇa away to Mathurā. He creates a strange juxtaposition in page 168, where he claims he will be able to console Rādhā at that time on the strength of many lifetimes of transcendental book distribution and other practises. He continues his description of sudūra pravāsa for 5 pages, also in a relishable way.

On page 173, the fourth heartfelt effusion starts, where Aindra plunges into Gaura līlā. He writes:

"When will Your magnificent Gosvamis of Vrindavana, headed by Shri Rupa, leniently bestow upon this fallen derelict the priceless treasure of loving service to Your prema-nama-sankirtana-lilas in the Nitya-navadvipa sector of Goloka-dhama?"

Problem is only that none of the 6 Goswāmīs ever mentioned a Nitya-navadvīpa sector of Goloka-dhāma.

On page 179, Aindra makes the good point that the books [and hence book distribution too] only are meant to induce harināma saṅkīrtana. He then writes a charming essay of how all devotional services are meant to support harināma saṅkīrtana, and in page 192 he admits that book distribution, unlike harināma saṅkīrtana, is not eternal.

On page 197 Aindra compares japa with the intimate Rāsa līlās and nagara sankīrtan with the less intimate Rāsa līlās. A strange claim, especially considering the fact that most Vaiṣṇavas walk all over the market places with their japa mālās in their hands - it is as public as harināma saṅkīrtana.

p. 203: "Transcendental book distribution can be compared to a sakhi’s campaign to enlist new girls to become dedicated followers of Maha-bhava-svarupini, Shri Radhika. Certainly, no book distributor in the line of Rupa Gosvami would be caught dead canvassing on behalf of Candravali! Raga Manjari is perhaps the Lord’s best and most reliable messenger, having opted to become His vamshi flute. Knowing the purposes of her svamini’s inner heart, Raga Manjari serves, in the form of the flute, to mercifully break the resolve of Radha’s mana, or jealous pouting, forcefully facilitating the fruition of her mistress’s deepest desires to intimately satisfy Her beloved Shyama...."

p. 204 "The mercifully extended flute-call (book distribution) magnetically allures the vraja-sundaris (fortunate souls) away from their so-called husbands (all superficially binding mundane considerations) to excitedly dash off to join the rasa dance festivities (hari-nama-sankirtana)."

The appendix has Aindra's word for word hare kṛṣṇa mantra explanation, which starts off right away with some fall-vāda, in the first word:

HARE: "O Radhe! Mistakenly leaving aside the shelter of Your soft lotus feet, I have come to this world to suffer unbearable material pangs and continuously offend You. Please forgive me."

Then for Rāma he puts him/herself again in sambhogecchātmikā sakhībhāva dressed as mañjarī-bhāva: 

O debauchee number one! Don’t touch the delicacies! Do You think we are up for grabs? Don’t think we can be gotten so easily."

Rama: “O You nonsense! Let go of my sari! Get back! Stop grabbing me!”

This was a review of the e-copy of the book, I do not have a hard copy but have been told by owners of the book that the differences between the two are negligable. If anything has been overlooked or misjudged, please add it to the comments pages.

12 comments:

  1. Speaking of bhavollas, would you have anything to add to this 421 comment long discussion on whether or not bhavollas constitutes a sancari or a stayi bhava for manjaris?

    What has your guru said?

    http://www.facebook.com/update_security_info.php?wizard=1#!/notes/bhagavat-maharaja/radha-dasyam-manjari-seva/493854089454

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  2. This very understanding might have originated from our family, as my Guru's father taught, back in the early 1950s [in his purport to Vilapa Kusumanjali, verse 16] -

    Sri Rupa Gosvami said: “The heroines are like girlfriends. Their suhrid rati (love for the friend of Krishna, in this case Radha) is a sancari bhava (inserted feeling), while their love for Krishna is the sthayi bhava (main feeling). Individual feelings that are inserted within the main feeling are called sancari bhavas. sancarayanti bhavasya gatim sancarino'pi te (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 2.4.2). First and foremost they love Sri Krishna, and that love is inserted in their feelings for Radharani. Srila Rupa Gosvami states in his 'Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhuh' (2.5.128):

    sancari syat samona va krishna-ratyah suhrid ratih
    adhika pushyamana ced bhavollasa itiryate

    “However, when feelings for the friend of Krishna (Radha in this case) exceed feelings for Krishna Himself, it is called bhavollasa.” This is manjari bhava.

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  3. On page 89, Aindra calls Ananga Manjari an upasakhi of Lalita, for which there is no evidence at all...

    Excellent information. It is a shame you did not have discussions like this with Aindra before he died. Did you ever meet with him?

    Such thoughts may be found in booklets like Ramacandra Goswami’s Ananga Manjari Samputika...

    Aindra was a huge fan of this book, his confidants tell me.

    On page 105 Aindra burns himself on the apasiddhanta that nAmAbhAsa is a stage of chanting-sadhana...

    Reluctantly, agreed.

    was Aindra really less absorbed in managerial thought than the bureaucrats he constantly condemns?

    Please refer to my comment on part 1 of your book review.

    On page 128 Aindra independently confirms...

    Is this a typo?

    Like Gadadhar Prana before him, Aindra tried to find a fusion between sakhi bhava and manjari bhava.

    I don't know Gadadhar Prana, but yes I think this is exactly what Aindra is shooting for. My personal estimation is that Aindra had a direct taste of his affection for Krsna, which does not exactly fit in with what it says in the books that you are "supposed" to taste if you are in "so and so line" so he struggled for a way to make his taste "OK."

    On page 159, however, Aindra insists his sakhi-bhava mishrita manjari bhava does not compromise his bhavollasa rati...

    Your quotes are profound. I think Aindra would have done better just to accept his taste for Krsna as whatever it was, without trying to pin it down with any specific name and make it "OK."

    It's sort of like, someone loves Krsna like a mother, but feels shy about it because their guru is supposed to be a manjari. Someone else loves Krsna like a sakhi but feels shy about it because they are supposed to be a manjari.

    I don't think you will like what I will say now, because you are very good and strict and faithful and pure. But what I will say is that rules and rules and individuals are individuals. Sometimes individuals don't fit exactly into the rules and descriptions. Our Gurus have left behind so many exacting descriptions of how to envision the spiritual reality - but such descriptions are not themselves the spiritual reality - they are a lens held up before our weak eyes to help us see the spiritual reality.

    Yes, it is very dangerous to tamper with the lens.

    Nonetheless sometimes the exact experience of an individual may not fit perfectly and clearly within the structures and outlines etched upon that lense. In Aindra's case I think he tried to erase, change, blur or reinterpret those lines so that he felt more confident about what he was tasting. I personally think it would be better to just accept that one is an individual, not a line in a book. Personally, however, I wish I had anything remotely like the dilemma that we are critiquing Aindra Prabhu for probably not handling correctly. I.E. I wish I had ANY taste AT ALL for having a particular deha, lila, nama, guna in relations to Sri Radha Krsna.

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  4. The language of this passage of Aindra’s book is surely very tasty.

    I agree, this is by far he best portion of the book, for my taste. I wish it was the ONLY portion, in fact.

    Problem is only that none of the 6 Goswamis ever mentioned a Nitya-navadvipa sector of Goloka-dhama.

    Where is the root of this concept?

    On page 197 Aindra compares japa with the intimate Rasa lilas and nagara sankirtan with the less intimate Rasa lilas. A strange claim, especially considering the fact that most Vaishnavas walk all over the market places with their japa malas in their hands - it is as public as harinama sankirtana.

    I think it is a good realization worth contemplating. His point is that Nama is Krsna, and that Hare Krsna is Radha-Krsna, and that the Hare Krsna mahamantra is their dance. In japa we chant along - so he compares it to serving the rasa-lila/madhurya lila in a solitary way - such as making a garland, preparing betel, whathaveyou. In sankirtan we are again in connection with the rasalila through the mahamantra, but now we are not solitary we are with others - so he envisions it as dancing along with others, or singing or playing an instrument in concert with others while many others are dancing, and so forth. Personally I think this is a lovely conception.

    Thank you for your comments on Aindra's book.

    Your servant,
    Vraja Kishor

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  5. Gadadhara Pran is a fellow who obstinately tries to jam a square peg through a round hole. Mahaprabhu has rejected katha which is viruddha siddhanta and rasabhasa. Surely using one's huge charismatic kirtan as a launching pad for speaking the above is something that needs to be countered with proper taste and proper siddhanta.

    Your analysis of Aindra is correct and I know from senior devotees (I spoke with him only once, but not on siddhanta) he was totally obstinate if they pointed out to him that he was making up his own siddhanta.

    I do not agree with your final statement that it is better to have taste for rasabhasa than for nothing at all. If you have no taste but are properly connected, all you need to do is get some taste............

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  6. Vrajakishor,

    The Nitya Navadwip Golok concept was introduced by Gopal Guru Goswami of the Vakresvara Parivara, but it is nowhere at all in any of the previous Acaryas books. It is now the main concept, since the early 20th century.

    Harinama in the manjari concept does not mean Radha-Krishna, it means only Krishna, as Hare is interpreted to mean Hari in the 8th case.

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  7. Maybe Aindra's conclusions about Baladeva and Ananga Majari have something to do with these statements (?): "Jāhnavā-mātā is also within the list of Lord Nityānanda's followers. She is described in the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, verse 66, as Anaṅga-mañjarī of Vṛndāvana." - CC Adi 11.21 purport

    "After the marriage, one day Nityananda Prabhu was taking his meal. Vasudha’s younger sister Janhava was serving the food. The veil covering Janhava’s head slipped and Nityananda saw her and realized that Janhava Devi was his complete energy – his shakti." - http://gaudiyahistory.com/jahnava-mata-biography/#sthash.p9E98X01.dpuf

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  8. Today BV Madhava Swami spoke about Balarama and Ananga Manjari. I asked for references, and He said Garga samhita and the early part of Chaitanya Bhagavata.

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  9. Garga Samhita is not authoritative śāstra. I blogged several times on that. The Caitanya Bhāgavat evidence you will have to quote to me then.

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  10. I have yet to read it myself.

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  11. Why do you say that "Garga Samhita is not authoritative sastra."? Please explain why not. It is a book relished by many Vaisnavas and even translated into Bengali by Sri Caitanya Sarasvata math in Nabadvipa.

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  12. Garga Samhita is not quoted by any of the acaryas. It is a nice story book but no siddhantas can be confirmed or vindicated by it because no acarya has ever mentioned this book. It is probably written in the last 300 years or so.

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