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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pleasing Kṛṣṇa, Mangal ārati and Rasa-śāstra

Bhakta: "You said one can only please Kṛṣṇa through Rādhā, but this seems to be only in the śṛṅgāra rasa. But the other rasas serve Kṛṣṇa independently."

Advaitadas: "No that is not true. Mother Yaśodā is feeding Kṛṣṇa so He has strength to love Rādhikā, the servants dress Him so He looks nice for  Rādhikā, the cows want Him to herd them in the pastures so He has an excuse to go out to meet  Rādhikā at Radhakund. Same for the cowherd boys. Even the bees, the sun and the moon serve Radha and Kṛṣṇa by creating a romantic atmosphere. The cows of Abhimanyu serve Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa by keeping Abhimanyu so engaged with them that he does not have any time for his so-called wife. They do not serve independently at all, though they may not be aware of it, except for the sakhīs and mañjarīs. Padakarta Jñānadās sings: "tomāri lāgiyā beḍāi bhramiyā giri-nadī vane vane: (Kṛṣṇa sings:) "For Your (Rādhā's) sake I wander through the forest, past the rivers and over the mountains!"

Bhakta: "I heard that in some temples in Vṛndāvana they do not do mangal arati because they say that Kṛṣṇa is still sleeping then."

Advaitadas: 'That would depend on the sampradāya. The temples who hold such philosophies are not Gauḍīya. In Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta there is a description of mangal ārati offered by the mañjarīs in the kunja at daybreak [niśānta], and Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa are wide awake then. Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas believe Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are so absorbed in Their loving pastimes that They hardly sleep at any time, perhaps from 1-3 a.m. only."

Bhakta: "Scholars say that the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas have gleaned rasa tattva from earlier, mundane rasika authors. If this is true then how can rasa be called eternal?"

Advaitadas: "It is true that Rūpa Goswāmī was inspired to write his Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu and Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi by, among others, a book named Rasārṇava Sudhākara, which was written by one of his ancestors, named Siṁha Bhūpāla. But that does not mean there was an historical sequence or a discovery or so. Just see, before Mahāprabhu's advent, the rasika secrets all existed in the 5000-year old Bhāgavatam, but they were not understood and revealed until the Goswāmīs wrote down their books. But that does not mean that the rasika truths did not exist, right?"

Bhakta: "Rūpa Goswāmī taking over the whole rasa-science from previous, mundane writers, does make him seem like an ordinary mundane scholar."

Advaitadas: "Who else is Rūpa Mañjarī? How else is Gaura-līlā meditation transcendental and eternal if Rūpa Gosvāmī was not? Look, the fact that Rāma and Kṛṣṇa took diksa and went to Gurukula (school) does not mean they are not the omniscient Bhagavān, Paramātmā, right? Similarly, Rūpa Gosvāmī taking lessons from previous teachers does not make him a conditioned soul. Lord Viṣṇu got the Kaustubha gem when the milk-ocean was churned, or did He? It is eternally His, and in a pastime He got it again. Similarly the Gosvāmīs knowledge is eternally with them but sometimes they play as if they are learning this."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Śrīmad Bhāgavat, canto 9, part 2

Some interesting comments on Śrīmad Bhāgavat’s canto 9 -

9.11.29 It is mentioned there that the people of Ayodhyā blessed the Lord. How can that be? There is a similar verse in the Stavāvalī, wherein the sakhīs and mañjarīs bless the divine Couple during Their amorous pastimes. This does not mean they feel themselves superior at all. It is like supporters during a sports match, they wish their heroes on the field the best. In fact, such a scene takes place in Rādhākuṇḍa's water-pastimes too - the cowherd boys and gopīs stand on the shores of the Kuṇḍa, cheering for either Rādhā or Kṛṣṇa. If the boss of an employee gets sick the employee can humbly bless him by writing him a get-well card, saying 'Mr Frazer, may you be well again soon.' There is no breach of etiquette there. This has nothing to do with aiśvarya or mādhurya. Just like we say 'Jai Śrī Kṛṣṇa' - may Lord Kṛṣṇa be victorious. It is a humble blessing upon the Lord. It is not a practical matter that anyone will carry out this blessing - it is a matter of attitude only.

9.14.28 Bhānu Swāmī uses the word ‘eunuch’ here for napuṁsaka. Here however napuṁsaka means ‘a fairy’, ‘a fruitcake’ or ‘a sissy’ – a not very masculine man.

9.14.38 Here Bhānu Swāmī says ‘women are prostitutes’ as a blanket statement. The verse, however, clearly speaks about puṁścalya, those among women who are running after one man after the other, not that every woman is like that.

9.19.27 Bhānu Swāmī wrongly translates the word prapāyā as ‘waterhole’, but going through a waterhole makes no sense at all. The word prapāyā means, according to the Motilal- and Gita Press- Bhagavat-editions, a place to drink water. In India in the summertime there are water-booths everywhere so people can drink water to somehow make it through the soaring heat. Meetings there are of course very brief.

9.20 Though neither the Bhāgavat nor the commentators attach a morale to the shocking account of Bṛhaspati, the Guru of the Devatās, raping and impregnating Mamatā, his sister-in-law, and then cursing his brother’s offspring, already in her womb, to become blind, it shows that learning alone is not enough to become a saint (Bṛhaspati is considered the most learned scholar in the universe).

9.23.35 bhojya not only means ‘enjoyable’, it can also mean the name of the girl’s dynasty, Bhoja. It is also funny to see how king Jyāmagha was henpecked by his wife Śaibyā, even in the old days. Both Śrīdhara Swāmī and Viśvanāth Cakravartīpāda describe that he was sweating and shivering out of fear of his wife.

9.23.38 Bhānu Swāmi forgets to include the word bhāryā-vaśa in his translation of the śloka from Viṣṇu Purāṇa, bhāryā-vaśa meaning henpecked, in other words, Jyāmagha was the most henpecked man ever to exist, not the greatest king ever to exist. Arjun single-handedly defeated the Kaurava Army at Virāṭ, but yet he was afraid to present his new co-wife Subhadrā to his first wife Draupadī, because she was so fiery.

Chapter 24 shows that Vasudeva, Kṛṣṇa's father, had an astonishing number of wives and children. As Vasudeva spent approximately 20 years in Kaṁsa’s dungeon, with only one wife, Devakī, one wonders when he created all the other offspring. Perhaps he was already elderly when he was imprisoned and created the offspring before that. Also astonishing that Kṛṣṇa does not have more names in relation to His many brothers and sisters. The only one known are Rāmānuja [younger brother of Balarāma] and Gadāgraja, elder brother of Gada.

9.24.58 Shows that the material world ‘conduces to the birth, continuance and destruction of every embodied soul [body]’, but it also ‘causes liberation if the Lord’s grace is there’ Viśvanāth Cakravartīpāda comments: “The Lord glances over the material energy, saying, ´Let the living beings enjoy here.” One may argue “How can that be mercy? It is full of suffering here.” Answer – he acts so that the jīvas can become detached from this enjoyment through bhakti and vairāgya.” There is some purpose given here to creation, though Viśvanāth Cakravartīpāda earlier in 3.7.10 said there is neither a beginning nor a reason for our conditioning. Of course, no ācārya comments on this verse that the world is a prison-house for rebellious souls that want to imitate Kṛṣṇa by lording it over the material nature out of envy of Kṛṣṇa etc etc, but some reason is given here nonetheless. Viśvanāth Cakravartīpāda also quotes a śloka from the Bhāgavata [10.87.2] to confirm that the world is both a playground for enjoyment and a launching pad for liberation.

9.24.61 shows Kṛṣṇa destroyed the darkness of Kali in advance [as He appeared just before the onset of Kali yuga]. Although Viśvanāth Cakravartīpāda abstains from connecting this verse to the Kali yuga avatāra of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, Kavi Karṇapura does so in his Caitanya Mata Mañjuṣā commentary. There he quotes Queen Kunti [SB 1.8.35], who also speaks of Kṛṣṇa giving bhakti sādhana in the future tense, indicating Kṛṣṇa would come again for this purpose, as Mahāprabhu.

9.24.65 Viśvanāth Cakravartīpāda comments that inability to tolerate even the blinking of the eyes, because then they cannot stare at Kṛṣṇa, is an exclusive symptom of rūḍha mahābhāva, so the words nāryo-narāś ca [both men and women] only applies to the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa's priya narma sakhās such as Subala. He quotes verses from the tail-end of Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi [15.232-3] to prove it. He furthermore explains that Kṛṣṇa's face is the sweetest part of His body, and that His ears and cheeks actually beautify His earrings, as it is said earlier in the Bhāgavat [3rd canto] that Kṛṣṇa beautifies His ornaments, though normally it is the other way around. Also His smile defeated the splendor of His earrings because it was tainted by the color of His chewed betelnuts. The betelnuts caused a slight hump in His cheeks too. Viśvanātha quotes the last verse of chapter 14 of Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi, which says that Subal and other boys possess bhāvānta, which is glossed as rūḍha mahābhāva by Viṣṇudās Goswāmī.

9.24.66 This verse is a summary of Kṛṣṇa’s entire līlā – He showed the limit of perfection in Vraja [vrajam edhita artha], in the form of the Vrajavāsīs’ prema, which is the crown-jewel of human pursuits [puruṣārtha śiromaṇi], and later He showed the path of varṇāśrama by marrying so many ladies and having so many children, all according to religious principles.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Begun Bhājā cleared!

Hare Krsna, prabhu!
I have a question to you if you researched it about eggplants. In Hari Bhakti Vilasa (8.158, 161-162) there are 3 slokas given about that eggplants should not be taken or offered. From Kurma Purana, from Yamala and from Skanda Purana -

athābhakṣyāṇi - kaurme 
vṛntākaṁ jālikāśākaṁ kusumbhāśmantakaṁ tathā 
phalāṇḍuṁ laśunaṁ śuklaṁ niryāsaṁ caiva varjayet

atha-now; abhakṣyāṇi-inedible; kaurme-in the Kūrma Purāṇa; vṛntākam-eggplant; jālikāśākam-plantain; kusumbha-safflower; āśmantakam-aśmantaka; tathā-so; phalāṇḍum-onion; laśunam-garlic; śuklam-sour cereal; niryāsam-tree sap; ca-and; eva-indeed; varjayet-one should avoid.

What Is Inedible (For the Purpose of Offering to the Lord)

In the Kurma Purana it is said: "One should avoid eggplant, plantain, safflower, azmantaka, onion, garlic, sour cereal, and the sap of trees."

skānde - na bhakṣayati vṛntākaṁ tasya dūrataro hariḥ

skānde-in the Skanda Purāṇa; na-not; bhakṣayati-eats; vṛntākam-eggplant; tasya-of him; dūrataraḥ-far away; hariḥ-ḷord ḥari.

In the Skanda Purana it is said: "Lord Kṛṣṇa stays far away from anyone who eats eggplant."

kiṁ cānyatra 
vārtākuṁ bṛhatīṁ caiva dagdham annaṁ masūrakam
yasyodare pravarteta tasya dūrataro hariḥ

kim- ca-furthermore; anyatra-in another place; vārtākum-eggplant; bṛhatīm-eggplant; ca-and; eva-indeed; dagdham-burned; annam-food; masūrakam-masura dal; yasya-of whom; udare-in the stomach; pravarteta-is; tasya-of him; dūrataraḥ-far away; hariḥ-ḷord Kṛṣṇa.

In another scripture it is said: "Lord Kṛṣṇa stays far away from anyone who places eggplant, burned food, or masūra dāl in his stomach."

But in Caitanya Caritāmṛta we can see what food was offered to Lord Caitanya and there are different places mentioned about fried eggplants and eggplants mixed with nimbu etc. So, it's not clear. "

Thank you for reminding me of Prabhu Sītānāth's sweet līlā (Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 3.47) and in extension also Sādhu Bābā's anugamana (allegiance). I was under fire over this issue on Gauḍīya Discussions some 8 years ago, but until now I have not researched this eggplant issue in Caitanya Caritāmṛta. It gives a clear endorsement from Swayaṁ Prabhu Sītānāth- কোমল নিম্বুপত্র সহ ভাজা ৱার্ত্তাকী komala nimbu patra saha bhājā vārtākī - "He offered the Lord soft neem leaves along with fried eggplant." Following in his family- and spiritual succession, Sādhu Bābā too was fond of bhājā vartākī or began bhājā [fried aubergines]. The secret about this is that Haribhakti Vilāsa is a collection of material and spiritual rules. Only a genuine Guru can sort out which rule is to be followed and which one is not. It cannot be sorted out by oneself. In other words, whatever Guru decides is essential of the rules of Haribhakti Vilāsa, these rules apply."

This point is also added to the end of my file "In defense of the advaita vamsh" on Further references to the offering of begun bhājā are in Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 15, 213 and Antya 10, 135

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Attaining the siddha deha

In Śrīmad Bhāgavat 1.6.27 (28 in some editions) it is said - "The spiritual body comes simultaneously with the giving up of the material body, like lightning being accompanied by its splendour. (kālaḥ prādurabhūt kāle taḍit saudāmanī yathā).

Śrīdhara Swami comments:  saudāmanīti viśeṣaṇaṁ sphuṭatva-pradarśanārtham - The adjective saudāmani indicates clearness (of the light) yad vā sudāmā-nāmā kaścit sphaṭika-parvataḥ.....sphaṭikādi-maya-parvata-prānte bhavā hi vidyud ati-sphuṭā bhavati tadvad ity arthaḥ 'It can also refer to the crystal mountain named Sudāma, close to which the lightning will be very clear."

Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda's ṭīkā - "At the time of dissolving subtle and gross bodies the time for leaving the body made its appearance. It is like saying "the time when the king went was the time he arrived". Intelligence could not make a distinction here. The disappearance of the material body and the appearance of the spiritual body simultaneously made their appearance, connected closely like subject and predicate. It is like the simultaneity of the lightning with another flash of lightning."

It reminds me of a verse in the Upaniṣads and the 10th canto Bhāgavat which describes reincarnation as a caterpillar placing its front paws on a new leaf while its back-paws are still on the previous leaf - a seamless transfer.

In Śrīmad Bhāgavat 1.6.28 (29 in some editions) Nārada said: “When my prārabdha karma was depleted, my body of five gross elements fell and the Lord brought me a transcendental body of His associate.”

Śrīdhara Swami and Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comment: yā bhāgavatī bhagavat-pārṣada-rūpā śuddhā sattva-mayī tanuḥ pratiśrutā tāṁ prati bhagavatā mayi prayujyamāne nīyamāne – “This body is transcendental, functions as an associate of the Lord and is brought by the Lord.” If it is brought by the Lord it was not dormant but an external gift. This verse clearly shows that the siddha deha is not dormant in the heart of the conditioned soul, as is often believed, but is bestowed newly. I blogged on this verse earlier, briefly, on February 21, 2006. See also my blog of August 5, 2006

Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda's tika: The Lord previously promised hitvāvadyam imam lokam ganta maj-janatam asi: "Giving up this low body, you will become My associate." (SB 1.6.23) At the time of being made to accept a body which was śuddha-sattva (śuddham) because it was not a material body and because it belonged to the Lord (bhagavatim), my material body (pañca-bhautikaḥ) fell away. Giving up my material body and attaining a spiritual body were simultaneous, like the expression "I am walking while the cows are being milked." The Lord's own words were hitvāvadyam imam lokam. The use of the verb form hitvā (giving up the material body) in this case indicates simultaneously giving up the material body while receiving the spiritual body. It is said in the Bhāṣa-vṛtti: kvacit tulya-kāle'pi upaviṣya bhunkte ṛṇat-kṛtya patati cakṣuh sammilya hasati mukham vyadāya svapitity adikam upasankhyeyam: "There are examples in which the participles indicate simultaneous actions as in sitting down and eating, assuming debts and falling from esteem, closing the eyes and laughing, lowering the head and falling asleep." Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda quotes Śrīdhara Svāmī's ṭīkāanena pārṣada-tanunam akarmarābdhatvam suddhatvaṁ nityatvam ity ādi sūcitaṁ bhavati: "What is said in this verse is that the bodies of the associates of the Lord are pure, without prārabdha-karmas, and eternal. The bahu-vrīhi compound ārabdha-karma-nirvānah means that he had destroyed the karmas like fire burning wood. But this means that the prārabdha-karmas were not destroyed just now, but previously for that is accomplished by sādhana. prārabdha-karmas do not remain with the devotees who have developed prema-bhakti. For those practicing pure bhakti, destruction of prārabdha-karmas takes place during sādhana-bhakti. It will be said in the story of Priyavrata:

naivam-vidhaḥ puruṣa-kāra urukramasya
puṁsāṁ tad-aṅghri-rajasā jita-ṣaḍ-guṇānām
citraṁ vidūra-vigataḥ sakṛd ādadīta
yan-nāma dheyam adhunā sajahāti tanvam

"Such power is not surprising from persons who have conquered the six senses by the dust from the lotus feet of the Lord, since even an outcaste becomes immediately free of bondage of karma by chanting the Lord's name once." SB 5.1.35

Here is the meaning of the verse: This is not so amazing for such a type of person. What should be amazing? Even an outcaste (vidūra-vigataḥ) who chants the name of the Lord once, now, at the time of accepting the name, gives up his body. Since we do not see anyone giving up their body simultaneously with chanting, "body" here means his prārabdha-karmas which are being experienced in the present body. This is the opinion of some. Others say by the association of bhakti, like a touchstone, the body made of the three guṇas becomes free of the guṇas, as seen in the case of Dhruva. Thus, giving up the body means giving up the body made of three guṇas. This will be explained later at the beginning of the Rāsa-dance with jahur guṇa-mayaṁ dehaṁ sadyah prakṣīna-bandhanaḥ: "Free of bondage, those gopīs abandoned their gross material bodies made of guṇas." (SB 10.29.11) But others say that sometimes the Lord shows devotees, literally, giving up their bodies in order that the opinion of others not be negated. Thus Nārada, who had developed prema already, gave up his body. However it should be understood that he had already destroyed his prārabdha-karmas during his practice of bhakti. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī explains this:

yad brahma-sākṣāt-kṛti-niṣṭhayāpi
vināśam āyati vinā na bhogaiḥ
apaiti nāma sphuraṇena tat te
prārabdha-karmeti virauti vedaḥ

"The Vedas declare that although meditation on impersonal Brahman cannot bring freedom from past karma, O Holy Name, your appearance at once makes all prārabdha-karma disappear." (Nāmāṣṭaka 4)

If the intended meaning was "When Narada's prārabdha-karmas were destroyed, his body fell away" the phrase would be expressed as prārabdha-karma-nirvāṇe nyapatat pañca-bhautika. But this grammatical structure has not been used and instead a bahuvrīhi compound has been used. Thus the meaning is a general statement "For the devotees, the body which has had its prārabhda-karmas destroyed, will fall away."