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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Advaita Prakāśa and Caitanya Bhāgavat

Discussion on April 4, 2011

Bhakta: “Some say Advaita Prakash was written only in the 19th century?”

Advaitadas: "The fact that Advaita Prakāśa was found in a library in 1896 does not mean it was written then. There were no printing presses before the British came and books were copied by hand, but that does not mean the texts did not exist before. The hand-copying could indeed have resulted into interpolation, it is hard to verify. Caitanya Caritāmṛta contains material from Advaita Prakāśa because Caitanya Caritāmṛta is anyway a collection of older works, not an original work. It is like an anthology of Gaur līlā and Kṛṣṇa tattva. It is clearly written in the colofon of the Advaita Prakāśa that is written in 1568, (caudda śata navati śakābda) 40 years before the Caitanya Caritāmṛta."

Bhakta: "Then how did Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī get the information from the Advaita Prakāśa in Rādhākuṇḍa?"

Advaitadas: “He might have taken the Advaita Prakāśa with him when he first came to Vraja, or others may have brought it to Rādhākund from Bengal, on Kṛṣṇadās Kaviraj Goswami's request. You see, we were not there and both opponents and proponents of the Advaita Prakāśa can only guess what happened back then."

Bhakta - 'Scholars say there was a development of theology about Mahāprabhu, that first He was seen as Lord Nārāyan by Caitanya Bhāgavat, but later another conception was developed that He was Kṛṣṇa accepting the mood of Rādhā."

Advaitadas: "That is a typically mundane, external vision. Svarūpa Dāmodara was a personal associate of Śrīman Mahāprabhu and he wrote a korchā, which means diary. Diaries are usually written on the spot and not afterwards, so most probably he wrote it during Mahāprabhu's time, and in the diary he wrote rādhā bhāva dyuti subalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa svarūpam, that Mahāprabhu is Kṛṣṇa accepting the feelings of Rādhā. The same scholars say that Caitanya Bhāgavat was written in the 1540s, which is at least a decade after the end of Mahāprabhu's pastimes, probably after Svarūpa Dāmodara established Mahāprabhu as Kṛṣṇa accepting the mood of Rādhā. Also to write such a large book must have taken Vṛndāvan Dās Thākur years. So already historically there is no question of a development. Spiritually speaking of course, anyway, any svarūpa or form of the Lord, along with its characteristics, is timeless and eternal."

Bhakta: "If the conception of Svarūpa Dāmodara is older than the aiśvarya-conception of Vṛndāvan Dās Thākur, then why could Svarūpa Dāmodara's school not convince the Vṛndāvan Dās Thākur-school of that?"

Advaitadas: "Even supposing that they contacted each other in the pre-telephone, pre-internet era, the two conceptions are eternal. There is a lengthy discussion between Śrīvāsa Paṇḍit and Svarūpa Dāmodara in Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā Chapter 14, in which Śrīvāsa defended the aiśvarya-conception and Svarūpa Dāmodara defended the mādhurya but there was no conversion on either side. the debate was not won by either side because both conceptions and sthāyi bhāvas are eternal. Non-devotee scholars cannot grasp that. bodhayanta parasparam [Gītā 10.9] - satsanga leads to mutual enlightenment."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Accidental ascension and female Govardhana

To the spiritual sky by accident?

Bhakta: "In śāstra there are so many quotes giving evidence that by worshiping śilās or chanting the holy name at the last moment of life, one will immediately go to the spiritual world after death, like śālagrāma śilā vinur hatyā koṭi vināśanam "Any person who offers a Tulasī-leaf while worshiping the Śālagrām Śīlā gets salvation and can stay in Vaikuṇṭha", or from Śrīmad Bhāgavat 12.3.44 :"Terrified, about to die, a man collapses on his bed. Although his voice is faltering and HE IS HARDLY conscious of what he is saying, if he utters the holy name of the Supreme Lord he can be freed from the reaction of his fruitive work and achieve the supreme destination". On the other hand Bhagavad Gītā and other śāstras say that the destination ones will achieve depends of the state of consciousness at the time of death, as in Bhagavad Gītā 8.5 and 8.6.
1) How to harmonize those "apparent" contradictions.
2) Just if someone does not reach a pure consciousness during his life, he will get it instantly in the last moment of life and reach the Spiritual world, just by worshipping a Śilā with Tulasī-leaves or pronouncing the holy name? This is very amazing.
I appreciate so much your answers.
Radhe Radhe!!

"There are different ways and reasons to attain the spiritual world - one is called sukhaisvaryottara, prompted by a desire to have happiness and luxury there, and the other is prema sevottara, to love and serve the Lord. Please see Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.56 : sukhaiśvaryottarā seyaṁ prema-sevottarety api, sālokyādir dvidhā tatra nādyā sevā-juṣaṁ matā. In his commentary Jīva Goswāmī quotes Śrīmad Bhāgavat 3.29.13, wherein Kapila-deva says that a pure devotee does not accept any kind of liberation, even if the Lord offers them, if they are not accompanied by devotional service (vinā mat sevanaṁ janaḥ).
So it is possible to ascend to the spiritual sky without pure devotional service. The examples you quoted refer either to the sukhaiśvaryottara motivation-stage or to Śvetadwīpa, a realm in the upper echelon of the mundane cosmos, where one can dwell temporarily due to some great deed or event. So the statements in śāstra that anyone who dies in the holy dhāma attains Hari-loka are true but it does not necessarily mean in a pure devotional relationship with the Lord. In his writings, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda says that the prema sevottara-devotees are elevated to Kṛṣṇa's prakaṭ līlā (manifest pastimes on earth) for further training."

Blue cows at Mount Govardhan

Govardhana female?

Bhakta: "Rādhe Rādhe! Have you ever heard about the conception that Mount Govardhan belongs to śakti-tattva? It was told to me by one bhakta during our discussion of worship of Govardhan-śilās as Śrīmatī Rādhikā. Personally, I do think that Giri Govardhan is śaktimān and His ādi śakti is always with Him. Thank you in advance,

To my knowledge, Girirāj is neither śakti tattva nor Śrīmatī Rādhikā -

1. In Sanskrit, Govardhan is a male name, not a female name.
2. I know of no evidence in any śāstra for Him being Rādhikā or Śakti.
3. Girirāj is called Kṛṣṇa's kalevara [body] by Śrīman Mahāprabhu [Caitanya Caritāmṛta Antya 6]
4. Kṛṣṇa said 'śailo'smi' - I am the mountain [Govardhan] in Śrīmad Bhāgavat 10.24
5. The gopīs call Girirāja Haridāsa Varya, not Hari Dāsī varya, in Śrīmad Bhāgavat 10.21.18
The Ādi Śakti with Govardhan is the Guñjā Mālā [Caitanya Caritāmṛta Antya 6]

Bhakta: Sometimes this verse is quoted to prove Govardhan is female:

manasaḥ prakṛter jāto girir govardhano mahān
divyaṁ vṛndāvanaṁ dṛṣṭvā paramānandam āpa saḥ

“The magnificent Govardhana mountain appeared from Rādhikā’s mind. Govardhana became supremely blissful upon seeing effulgent Vṛndāvana” (Bhaviṣya Purāṇa, pratisarga 3.25.165).

The word manasaḥ (“from the mind”) can also mean “from the heart.” Some senior Vaiṣṇavas say that this verse of Bhaviṣya Purāṇa proves that Govardhana has the svarūpa of a sakhī also."

Advaitadas: "The verse just says that Govardhan emanates from the mind of prakṛti, which means 'nature'. Śrī Rādhikā is not mentioned in this verse, which, I heard, can also not be found in any library-edition of the Bhavisya Purana. Most probably it was interpolated a few centuries ago, but even if it wasn't, it says nothing about Govardhan being female, a sakhī or Śrī Rādhikā. I know of no other reference either in śāstra that Govardhan is female or a sakhī. Among Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas there is this popular slogan:

āmār īsvarī hon vṛndāvaneśvarī
tār prānanāth boli bhaji giridhārī

'My mistress is Vṛndāvaneśvarī (Rādhikā) and I worship Giridhārī because He is Her prāṇa-nātha (Lord of Her life)."

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Naṭarāja and the Sitār-līlā rewritten

Two pastimes of Sādhu Bābā that had been added to his hagiography in March 2008, have been rewritten after hearing more accurate narrations during this year's Sītānāth-utsava, by my Gurubhāi Gaur:

page 50 - Gaur Da: “One time, when there were no buildings yet in the ashram, only wilderness, there was a fierce rainstorm going on, so Bābā assumed the form of Naṭarāja (Shiva, the king of dancers) and began to dance, looking in such a fearsome way that I got scared by watching it. We stood and watched in complete silence, and when Bābā completed the dance the rainstorm had completely vanished and the sky was clear.

The Snake and sitar līlā rewritten -

page 18 - "Once, in the dead of night, at 2 a.m., Madangopāl told Bābā: “I want to hear you play Sitar”. At that time the ashram was a wilderness without any buildings. Bābā woke every bhakta in the āśram saying: “Get up, Madangopāl wants to hear me play!” He sat down here and began to play when a snake came and coiled all around His tummy and His arms. Bābā complained to the snake: “Madangopāl wants to hear me play, how can I play like this?”, so the snake let go of His arms and just wrapped itself around His tummy. Bābā played for two hours and then He told the snake to leave Him."