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Friday, December 21, 2012

Śrīnivāsācārya celebrates Holi in his siddha deha



ŚRĪNIVĀSĀCĀRYA CELEBRATES HOLI IN HIS SIDDHA DEHA

From 'Bhakti Ratnākara' by Narahari Cakravarti.
6th wave, verses 145-165


eka dina śrīnivāsa vasanta samaye; śrī kṛṣṇera holī-krīḍā mānase bhāvaye [145]
phālguna-stha līlā nāme sthāna eka hoy; ebe phāgu-talā tāre sakale kohoy [146]

“One day Śrīnivāsa meditated on Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s Holi-pastimes in the spring season. There is a place named Phālguna-stha līlā, which nowadays everyone names ‘Phāgu-talā.”

parama nirjana sthāna śobhā manohara; manda manda snigdha vāyu bohe nirantar [147]
caturdike kibā nava kadambera ban; śārī śuka pika ādi śabda rasāyana [148]
praphullita nānā puṣpe bhramara guñjare; lakṣa lakṣa mayūra mayūrī nṛtya kore [149]
kuraṅga kuraṅgīgaṇa phire matta hoiyā; sakhī-saha rāi kānu dekhe dāḍāiyā [150]

“It was a completely solitary place, most beautiful and captivating. A pleasant mild breeze blew there all the time. In all directions there were fresh Kadamba-forests where birds like the Mynas, parrots and cuckoos sang deliciously. Bees buzzed around the various blossoming flowers, and hundreds of thousands of peacocks and peahens were dancing. Deer and does wandered around in inebriation. There he/she saw Rādhā and Kānu standing with Their girlfriends.”

tathā vṛndā lakṣa lakṣa dāsīgaṇa saṅge; holī-khelā drabya sajja kore nānā raṅge [151]
vividha prakāra phalgu ādi sājāilā; vīṇādika nānā yantra sumeli korilā [152]

“There, Vṛndā and hundreds of thousands of her maidservants, arranged for all paraphernalia of the Holi-pastimes in different joyful ways, arranging for different types of coloured powders and assembled different musical instruments like the Vīṇā.”

sakhī saha rāi kānu ullāsa antare; holī-khelā ārambha korilā kuñjāgāre [153]
sakhīgaṇa veṣṭita rādhikā mahāraṅge; ḍāraye apūrbo phāgu śrī kṛṣṇera aṅge [154]

“Blissfully, Rāi and Kānu began to play Holi in the kuñja-cottage, with Their girlfriends. Surrounded by Her sakhīs, Rādhikā sprinkled amazing coloured powders over Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s body in great bliss.”

sakhīra iṅgite śrīnivāsa dāsī rūpe; phalguṇa yogāna rohi rādhikā samīpe [155]

“On the indication of the sakhīs Śrīnivāsa in his mañjarī svarūpa brought coloured powders to Rādhikā.”

ki adbhuta bandhāne khelaye rāi-śyāma; śobhā dekhi’ mūrcchita hoyen koṭi kāma [156]

“How wonderfully Rādhā and Śyāma played Holi! When they witnessed Their beauty, millions of Cupids fainted!”

uḍoye phalguna, hoilo aruṇa ācchanna; nāṇā yantra vādya kolāhole ruddha karṇa [157]

“Coloured powders flew up into the sky, covering it with a ruddy canopy. So many musical instruments played that their noise caused one to cover the ears.”

rasika śekhara kṛṣṇa kautukī apāra; sabāra upore phāgu varṣe anivāra [158]
sikta kori’ mṛgamada kuṅkumādi jale; āliṅgana cumbanādi kore nānā chale [159]
nirupama holī khelā khele dui jan; pulake pūrṇita lalitādi sakhīgaṇa [160]

“Kṛṣṇa, the crownjewel of connoisseurs, had the greatest fun, showering coloured powder over everyone, sprinkling everyone with water mixed with musk and kumkum, and embracing and kissing all the girls on different pretexts. While Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa played the matchless Holi-game, Their girlfriends, headed by Lalitā, were studded by goosebumps of ecstasy.”

sakale-i susthira hoiyā kathokṣaṇe; rāi kānu doṅhe bosāilā siṁhāsane [161]
śrama dūra kori koila cāmare bātās; śrīnivāsa dāsīra pūrilo abhilāṣa [162]

“After a while everyone calmed down and Śrīnivāsa, as a maidservant, seated Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa on Their throne, removing Their fatigue by fanning Them with a whisk. In this way her desire (for devotional service) was fulfilled.”

hoilo sevā samādhāna, bāhya jñāna hoite; dekhe phāgumoy aṅga – nāre lukāite [163]
jholamola kore phāgu, saugandha apāra; sthira hoite nāre nāsā sparśaye yāhāra [164]
niti niti aiche nānā mānase vihvala; ke varṇite pāre yaiche prema anargala [165]

“When his/her devotional service was finished he returned to external consciousness and saw that his (physical) body was (also) covered with the coloured powders, which he could not conceal. The powder was shimmering and was endlessly fragrant. No nose who would ever touch this fragrance could remain calm. In this way he was mentally overwhelmed in so many ways. Who can describe his boundless prema?

Also added (p.24) to the end of my translation-collection of  'Bhakti Ratnākara' on madangopal.com

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Lord's eternal divine attire and weapons


In 2006 I made a number of blogs decrying fools who claim to be ‘post-modernists’ who want to ‘modernize’ Kṛṣṇa-līlā by dressing Him up with jeans, jacket and mobile phone. A row broke out at Banki Bihāri Mandir at the time, when a pūjārī actually dressed the Lord like this. At the time I quoted some evidence from the 12th canto Bhāgavata, showing the adhyātmika or symbolic meanings to Kṛṣṇa’s apparel, trying to show it is all spiritual and part of His svarūpa. However, Śrīla Jīva Goswāmīpāda has already refuted the bizarre ideas of the post-modernists by quoting elaborately from Śrīmad Bhāgavata in his Bhagavat Sandarbha. In paragraph 47 he writes -

tatra paricchadānāṁ tat-svarūpa-bhūtatve tad-aṅga-sahitatayaivāvirbhāva-darśana-rūpaṁ liṅgam āha dvayena—

“The Lord’s apparel is a part of His svarūpa and is manifest along with His divine body, as shown in the following two verses:
tam adbhutaṁ bālakam ambujekṣaṇaṁ
catur-bhujaṁ śaṅkha-gadādy-udāyudham
śrīvatsa-lakṣmaṁ gala-śobhi-kaustubhaṁ
pītāmbaraṁ sāndra-payoda-saubhagam
mahārha-vaidūrya-kirīṭa-kuṇḍala-
tviṣā pariṣvakta-sahasra-kuntalam
uddāma-kāñcy-aṅgada-kaṅkaṇādibhir
virocamānaṁ vasudeva aikṣata


"Vasudeva looked at the extra-ordinary lotus-eyed little boy, who had four arms in which He held the conch, discus, mace and lotus. His chest was decorated with the mark of Lakṣmī, and the brilliant Kaustubha gem graced His neck. He was dressed in yellow; His body had the beautiful hue of a dense cloud, and was decorated with a brilliant belt, armlets, bangles and other ornaments. His helmet and earrings sparkled with invaluable multicolored vaidurya gems, and His hair was scattered in thousands of strands." (SB 10.3.9-10)

This describes the birth of the Lord. It is obvious that no ordinary person is born all decorated and thus the ornaments are innate parts of the Lord’s divine body.
Plus:
caityasya tattvam amalaṁ maṇim asya kaṇṭhe

“The Kaustubha gem, the embodiment of all pure conscious beings, decorates the neck of the Lord.” (SB 3.28.28) 

If the Kaustubha gem is the embodiment of all pure beings, how it can be an ancient Indian jewel that can be swapped for another, more modern medallion?

In the next paragraph, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī shows that also the Lord’s weapons belong to His Svarūpa. He quotes Viśvarūpa saying to Indra:

yathaikātmyānubhāvānāṁ vikalpa-rahitaḥ svayam
bhūṣaṇāyudha-liṅgākhyā dhatte śaktīḥ sva-māyayā
tenaiva satya-mānena sarva-jño bhagavān hariḥ
pātu sarvaiḥ svarūpair naḥ sadā sarvatra sarva-gaḥ

Just as the complete Reality, Svayam Bhagavān, is experienced as free from distinction for those established in exclusive identity with Him, [similarly] through His own māyā, He Himself employs energies in the form of ornaments, weapons and insignia. On the truth of this statement, may the omniscient and omnipresent Lord Hari always protect us everywhere, by all the potencies and manifestations that are identical to His essential Being. (SB 6.8.32-33)

The advent of Vāmana deva is described as follows in the Bhāgavata (8.18.12):

yat tad vapur bhāti vibhūṣaṇāyudhair
avyakta-cid vyaktam adhārayad dhariḥ
babhūva tenaiva sa vāmano baṭuḥ
saṁpaśyator divya-gatir yathā naṭaḥ

The Lord assumed His unmanifest spiritual form, which became manifest with ornaments and weapons. Then, as His parents watched, He, like an actor, in that very form, became Vāmana, the boy brāhmaṇa.

The Lord’s famous Sudarśana Cakra cannot be swapped for a pistol either -

tvam agnir bhagavān sūryas tvaṁ somo jyotiṣāṁ patiḥ
tvam āpas tvaṁ kṣitir vyoma vāyur mātrendriyāṇi ca

O Sudarśana Cakra, you are Fire, the Sun, who is Lord of the cosmos; and the Moon, the master of all luminaries. You are Water, Earth and Sky; you are the air, the five sense objects, and the senses as well. (SB 9.5.3)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Vedic, not vegan.



A friend asked me –
Radhe! What is your opinion on VEGANISM in regards to Kṛṣṇa-bhakti? For 9 weeks my wife and I went on a vegan-diet and we BOTH experienced a loss and diminution of our bhakti...we distanced ourselves more and more from Sri Sri Radha Mohan...

Advaitadās -Veganism it is not Vedic or Vaiṣṇava. Offerings to the Lord are detailed in śāstra, like Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta and Śrī Govinda Līlāmṛta.

Friend - what about the "cruelty" against the cows...offering their "tortured" milk is bad
not suitable for Kṛṣṇa. Is it not much more merciful to offer the milk of these poor cows to Kṛṣṇa and they get benefit?

Advaitadās - Yes. Horrible as the status quo may be, at least some of their milk will be used in Kṛṣṇa’s service. Is it not much more merciful to offer the milk of these poor cows to Kṛṣṇa and they get benefit still? If you boycott a poor man he will starve. It is the little we can do for them. Let’s face it – 1 in 7 human beings is Hindu. We will not convince the 6,000,000,000 others to protect mother cow, and we will have to live in this world somehow.”

Friend - IMHO, vegans put THEIR personal "stuff" over the desire of Kṛṣṇa, right? For their well-being…..

Advaitadās - It can be meant compassionately but it deprives the poor cows from that little service they can give.

Friend - A vegan-abhisekha is aparadha, right?

Advaitadās - What is in the abhisek then, just water? Fruit-juice? Coca cola?

Friend - I experienced one and it felt wrong - soya-milk, soya-yoghurt

Advaitadās - This is all speculation - hippy/new age samskāra…..

Friend - "Actually, in my line of bhakti, we consider ourselves to be maidservants of Srimati Radhika, manjaris. To REALLY please Kṛṣṇa, we have to take shelter (āśraya) in those who LOVE Him the most. Srimati Radhika loves Kṛṣṇa the most and we are Her intimate friends. Is She offerering Him vegan sweets? Tofu? Seitan? Nope. Name ONE non-dairy sweet which Kṛṣṇa loves!"

This I wrote in an article. How can we refuse to offer milk?

Advaitadās - Right. Dairy is essential to kṛṣṇa-bhakti.”

Friend - Can you back this up? I like that

Advaitadās - like I said, look at Govinda Līlāmṛta, 3.44-60 –
Mother Yaśodā said: “O mother Lalite! Make Rasālā, condensed milk with sugar and camphor! O Viśākhe! Quickly make Ṣārab (a dairy-drink with sugar, cardamom, ghī and honey)! O Śaśilekhe! Make Śikhariṇī (a similar dairy-delicacy)! O daughter Campaka-late! Make buttermilk (mathita)!............O Sudevi! Make kṣīra-sāra (sweet rice)!............O Manojñe! Mike ripe mango-juice and keep it in condensed milk (kṣīra-yuta) with sugar! O Kilimbe! Make ghī from the milk which was taken from the cow Sugandhā this morning an from which I churned yoghurt (payaso dadhinī)! O Ambike! Slightly stir the milk that Nanda Mahārāja personally milked from the cow Dhavalā and which he sent here for Krṣṇa-Balarāma’s consumption! O girls! Quickly take the best milk, which was taken from the meadows by the milk-porters, on the stove and start slowly stirring it!”

Friend - Many angas of bhakti include "milk" in one form or the other, right? puja, too. ghee...

Advaitadās - Best to make ghee yourself. But milk is everywhere...
These are the top 10 cattle and beef producing countries –
Beef production (1000 MT CWE)
Rank Country 2009 2010 
1 United States 11,889 11,789
2 Brazil 8,935 9,300
3 EU-27 7,970 7,920
4 China 5,764 5,550
5 Argentina 3,400 2,800
6 India 2,610 2,760 (up 5.7%)
7 Australia 2,100 2,075
8 Mexico 1,700 1,735
9 Russia 1,285 1,260
10 Pakistan 1,226 1,250

So taking dairy in India is almost as violent as in the EU or US. I have a kapha-constitution so my face is always full of mucus. Hence I take little to no dairy myself, as it greatly increases mucus. I’m vegan by default. But being vegan without having a mucus-problem, or showering the deities with juice or soy milk is really māyā. There are many who argue that dairy is really unhealthy, as are fried and sweet things. I am not saying one should overindulge in these things, but to refuse mahā-prasāda or caraṇāmṛta because of dairy, sugar, fat or chilli will cause aparādha. One can take a small quantity, to honor the Lord. I knew a devotee in Amsterdam who refused prasāda because it was ‘too fatty, sweet, spicy, milky’ – he died of cancer aged 33, while I knew Bengali devotees who indulged in all these things and became 96-97 years old. You do not live long by your own scheming, but by the will of the lord. Māre kṛṣṇa rākhe ke rākhe kṛṣṇa māre ke.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Balarām’s birthday [3]


In my blog of September 18 I showed dissatisfaction with the quote from Garga Samhitā about Balarām’s birthday, since Garga Samhitā is never quoted or mentioned by any ācārya. But there is another statement from a higher authority, Jīva Goswāmī’s ‘Gopāl Campūḥ’ [pūrva 3.86] - 

atha yogamāyā rohiṇyāḥ sāptamāsikaṁ garbhaṁ srastaṁ vidhāya devakyās tad- vidhaṁ taṁ tasyāṁ niyojayāmāsa | tataś ca labdha-sarva-samaya-sampad-daśe caturdaśe māsi śrāvaṇataḥ prāk śravaṇa-rkṣe samasta-sukha-rohiṇī rohiṇī guṇa- gaṇanayā suṣamaṁ sita-suṣamaṁ sutaṁ susrāva |

“Yogamāyā then destroyed the seven month embryo in Rohiṇī’s womb and transferred the seventh month embryo from Devakī’s womb. After the fourteenth month of pregnancy, at a most auspicious time, before Śrāvana month, during Śravana constellation, Rohiṇī, in great joy gave birth to a most beautiful son endowed with all qualities. “

This would make Balarām about one month older than Kṛṣṇa, who would then not have to stay another year in Devakī’s womb to be Rāmānuja, Balarām’s younger brother, as suggested in the previous Balarām-blog. Since the tithi of Balarām’s birthday is not precisely mentioned here, perhaps it is celebrated on Śrāvaṇa-Pūrṇimā, but it cannot actually be on that day, as Jīva Goswāmī says śrāvaṇataḥ prāk.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Gauḍīya Sampradāya is not a branch of the Madhva Sampradāya


THE GAUḌĪYA SAMPRADĀYA IS NOT A BRANCH OF THE MADHVA SAMPRADĀYA-

There is a gulf of difference between the Madhvaites and Gauḍīyas in sādhana and siddhānta. In Galta Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa may have presented the Gauḍīya Sāmpradaya as a part of the Madhva Sampradāya, to gain legitimacy for regaining the service of Govinda Mandir, but that was only for preaching purposes. The dvaita philosophy of the Madhvaites is very different from the acintya bhedābheda philosophy of the Gauḍīyas, and the Gauḍīyas have a totally different sādhana (pure rāgānugā) and goal (mañjarī bhāva in the service of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana). Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa has recognized certain differences of opinion with the teachings of the Madhva sampradāya in his commentary on Tattva sandarbha (28):

bhaktānāṁ viprānām eva mokṣaḥ devah bhakteṣu mukhyāḥ viriñcasyaiva sāyūjyaṁ lakṣmyā jīva-koṭitvam ity evam mata viśeṣāḥ

“Only a brāhmaṇa-devotee is eligible for liberation (born brāhmaṇa of course), the demigods are foremost among devotees, Brahmā attains sāyūjya-mukti (merging in Brahman), and Lakṣmī-devī is included among the jīvas – these are differences in opinion.”
Other differences include:

  1. The Madhvaites practice upāsana on vidhi-mārga, filled with moods of aiśvarya (majesty) while the Gauḍīyas’ worship is one of rāga-mārga, where mādhurya (sweetness) predominates.
  2. The Madhvaites worship Nartaka-Gopāla alone, whereas the firm resolve of the Gauḍīyas who follow the footsteps of Śrī Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī is substantially different: ya ekaṁ govindaṁ bhajati kapaṭī dāmbhikatayā “Whoever worships Govinda alone is a cheater and a hypocrite”. To highlight the contrast, it may be noted that many proponents of the Madhva-sampradāya contest the existence of Śrī Rādhā altogether, since she is not presented in the literature of their sampradāya as a consort of Gopāla! While She is the very goal of the Gauḍīya Sāmpradāya!
  3. Madhva taught the concept of dvaita, or absolute duality, whereas Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu presented the refined concept of acintya-bhedābheda-tattva, the doctrine of simultaneous oneness and difference.
  4. Moreover, we find the following words spoken by Śrīman Mahāprabhu Himself to an ācārya of the Madhva-sampradāya in the Caitanya Caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā, 9.273-277):
śuni’ tattvācārya hoilo antare lajjita;
prabhura vaiṣṇavatā dekhi, hoilo vismita
ācārya kahe – tumi yei kaha, sei satya haya;
sarva-śāstre vaiṣṇavera ei suniścaya
tathāpi madhvācārya ye kariyāche nirbandha;
sei ācāriye sabe sampradāya-sambandha
prabhu kahe karmī, jñānī, dui bhakti-hīna;
tomāra sampradāye dekhi sei dui cihna
sabe, eka guṇa dekhi tomāra sampradāye;
satya-vigraha kari’ īśvare karaha niścaye
“Hearing these words of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, the ācārya of the Tattva-vāda sampradāya became ashamed, and was struck with wonder upon seeing His degree of Vaiṣṇavism. The ācārya said, “Whatever you have told, that is the truth proclaimed in all scriptures, and the firm conviction of the Vaiṣṇavas. However, whatever Madhvācārya has firmly established, that we practice due to our sampradāya-connection with him.” Prabhu said, “Karmīs and jñānīs are both devoid of bhakti. In your sampradāya, I can see symptoms of both. All in all, the only qualification I see in your sampradāya is your firm acceptance of the truth of the Lord’s form.”
Hence it should not be a surprise that a majority of the Gauḍīyas have little or no identification as members of the Madhva sampradāya. The fact that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu speaks of the Madhva Sampradāya as tomāra sampradāya, or ‘your tradition’, in verse 277, is the strongest confirmation that the Gauḍīya Sampradāya is not Madhva- or Madhva-alllied.
I had the following Iṣṭagoṣṭhī with my friend Anantagovinda, who told me –

“Mādhavendra and Īśvara Puri were from Śankara-sampradaya; they were inclined to bhakti, as it is one of the upāsana of Advaita-vedānta. The title Puri was nowhere in the Madhva-line. Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa from Keśava Bhārati without any problem and doubt; same sampradāya, which was very popular, and they all followed the same line of Śrīdhar Swāmi who was also from advaita-vedānta: they were inclined to bhakti and Śrīdhar Swāmī started this inclination in the advaita-sampradāya.”
Advaitadas: Did you ask the Madhvaites? They say they have no Puri-titles?
Anantagovinda: Sure, they say all Tīrthas are documented; all Yatis are documented.
Advaitadas: So Mādhavendra Puri was not among them?
Anantagovinda: No, for sure. This I read from Jagat, which is the same I got from Madhvaites:

“The problem that Vyasa Raya’s dates presents for the Gaudiya tradition is self- evident. Vyasa Raya’s disciple was Lakṣmipati, whose disciple was Madhavendra, whose disciple was Isvara Puri, Caitanya’s guru, and yet he outlived them all! Though at a stretch of the imagination, it is possible that such a connection existed, the general custom in non-Udupi institutions such as that of Vyasa Raya typically have only one "reigning" pontiff who designates someone to take his place only when it comes to prepare for his departure. Thus, had Lakṣmipati Tirtha been Vyasa’s successor, he would not have acceded to this position before 1539, after Chaitanya’s disappearance. The question we are left with, even if the connection were possible, is how could such mistakes and omissions creep into the Gaudiya knowledge of the disciplic succession, especially in the matter of who was Vyasa Tirtha’s spiritual master, when they were not only contemporaneous, but neighbors? Vyasa Tirtha’s dates are given as 1469-1539, which means that he postdated Caitanya’s death by five years. Interestingly, from 1498 to the end of his life, Vyasa Tirtha lived in Vijayanagara, the capital city of Kṛṣṇadeva Raya, directly to the south of the Orissan kingdom of Prataparudra. These two kingdoms were frequently at war during this time. According to B. N. K. Sharma, Krishnadeva Raya had a lot of regard for Vyasa Tirtha, making several honorific references to him in his writings, even calling him his kuladevata.”
Anantagovinda: Lakṣmīpati is not madhvaite: he is advaitine: they have no any Lakṣmīpati in their line
Advaitadas: So he was not a śiṣya of Vyāsa tirtha?
Anantagovinda: No. It is not mentioned in any Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava grantha and it is not mentioned in any madhvaite protocol.”
Advaitadas: He was the guru of the guru of the guru of Sītānāth, at least supposedly...
Anantagovinda: Yes, but that is not possible. More Jagat :
“The connection of Madhavendra Puri to the Tattvavadi gurus is not mentioned in the most current biographies, Caitanya-bhagavata or Caitanya- caritamṛta, nor even in the Caitanya-candrodaya-nataka, where Madhavendra’s name is mentioned, but not connected to Madhvacharya (CCN 1.21). Nor does Karnapur mention any connection to the Madhva line in his earlier work, Caitanya- carita-mahakavya.”
Anantagovinda: Mahāprabhu wanted only Sridhar's commentary: not Madhva's, not Ramanuja's. Nowhere Vṛndāvan das or Krsnadas mentioned Madhva, nor did Sanātana or Rūpa. Puri is not a Madhvaite's title. It is the same title as Bhārati or Caitanya.”
Advaitadas: Madhvaites use only the tīrtha-title?
Anantagovinda: Yes only tīrtha. No one is Puri among them. Madhva is Ānanda Tīrtha: Puri is advaita-sampradāya sannyāsa who practices bhakti. Baladeva needed to get back Govinda’s service (so he wrote about us being Madhvaites, a recognized sampradāya at the time). Why did he made a separate Vedānta bhāṣya if we are Madhvaites? Because it is a new movement among the advaita sampradāya. Everybody knew that Mādhavendra Puri, Īśvara Puri, Paramānanda Puri, Viṣṇu Puri were advaitines, but they started a bhakti cult. Thus Caitanya Mahāprabhu formed a new doctrine, completely separate: The ārādhyo bhagavān-verse is showing a totally different conception than Madhva's. Īśvara Puri never spoke about Madhva, nor did Mādhavendra Purī. Just compare how Mahāprabhu was in love with the Rāmānujaites: 4 months kathā and kīrtan in their house. Mādhavendra, Īśvara Puri and Caitanya Mahāprabhu dug out bhakti from the śāstras themselves without any help: only with the help of Śrīdhara Swāmī, who was the first māyāvādī inclined to bhakti.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Śānta rati in Vraja



This discussion appeared in the comments-pages of a blog originally posted on May 11, 2010. The blog is deleted as obsolete, but this – unrelated - discussion is still very valuable, so it is now a blog on its own. May 12-15, 2010

Anonymous said...
Dear Advaita-ji,
If you permit, I would like to ask a question. We worship/call with different names based on rasas exhibited by the Lord. For example we worship Kṛṣṇa as Rādhā-Śyāmasundara in Mādhurya-rasa. Could you please tell the names for Kṛṣṇa in Sakhya, śānta, vātsalya and dāsya-rasa.  Thank you.
 Radha Kṛṣṇa

Advaitadās –
Anon, nice question -
Actually most of Kṛṣṇa's names are interchangeable, viz. they can be used in all sambandhas. Hari, Govinda and Kṛṣṇa are names of Nārāyan in Vaikuṇṭha, but they are also highly inciting for those in the extreme mādhurya of gopī bhāva. It all depends on the interpretation [dṛṣṭi-koṇa]. Of course names like Gopāl, Yaśoda Dulāl and Nanda Dulāl are predominantly vātsalya, but can be relished by the gopīs just as well. Balānuja, Aghadaman and Keśī-Nāśan are some names that feature in sakhya bhāva, but these too can be relished in vātsalya and mādhurya bhāva. Etc etc.  Śānta rati does not feature in Vraja-bhūmi.

Anonymous said...
Dear Advaita-ji,
Thank you for answering my question.
You mentioned that "Śānta rati does not feature in Vraja-bhumi". May be I am wrong, but I was informed that trees in Vṛndāvana have a Śānta relationship with the Lord. Please let me know whether this information is true or not.
  Radha Kṛṣṇa

Advaitadas-
That is not correct. Caitanya Caritāmṛta says - cāri bhāva diyā nācāimu tribhuvana "I will make the three worlds dance in 4 bhāvas" That is of course mādhurya, vātsalya, sakhya and dāsya. This is confirmed in Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 22, 161:

  dāsa-sakhā-pitrādi-preyasīra gaṇa
  rāga-mārge nija-nija-bhāvera gaṇana

  and
  dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya ār ye śṛṅgāra; cāri prema, caturvidha bhaktai ādhāra

  (Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 4.42)

The mountains like Girirāja are in dāsya rasa [hantāyam adrir abalā haridāsa varyo], and the cows are in vātsalya bhāva. Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī says in his commentary on Śrīmad Bhāgavata (11.12.8) gavo vātsalya rasena. naga govardhanādi parvataḥ sakhya-rasena - that mountains like Girirāja are in sakhya rasa and Vraja's cows are in vātsalya rasa. He repeats that the cows are in vātsalya rasa in his comments on Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.14.30-31 (aho'ti-dhanya ityādibhirāmātmaka vātsalyādi ratimanta eva stoṣyanti (30) ye tu tvad bhakteṣv ati-prakṛṣṭas teṣāṁ tvayi śuddha vātsalyādi rati-bhājam padavīṁ prārthayitum ayogya... (31) “I am not qualified to pray for their vātsalya rasa”), Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.20.26 (prītyā is the cows’ motherly affection) Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.21.13 - “The cows (not the calves) are in vātsalya rasa- na ca tatrāpi vātsalya-bhāva eva mohane hetur astīti vācyam, and “The cows stand still as they take Govinda within their hearts through their tear-filled eyes and embrace Him out of vātsalya bhāva – sva manasaḥ kroḍe eva vātsalyāt sthāpayantyas tasthuḥ (Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī ’s commentary) and Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.21.16: The clouds are in sakhya rasa (sakhyur vyadhāt) – hanta hanta sakhya-bhāva-vanto’pyātmānāṁ   kṛtarthayantītyāhuḥ The gopīs lament about the clouds: “Alas! Alas! Even those who are in the mood of friendship with Kṛṣṇa (sakhya bhāva) have become blessed by serving Him.” svīya vidyud garjanābhyāṁ pīta-vastra veṇu-nādayoḥ sāmyaṁ dṛṣṭvā ca sakhībhāvam abhimānyamānaḥ “Seeing he is equal to Kṛṣṇa with the rumbling sounds he makes, with his lightning (in the form of Kṛṣṇa’s   yellow cloth) the cloud identifies himself in sakhya-rasa.” (Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī’s commentary) The statement vaṁśī priya sakhī from Brahma Samhita (5.56) shows that Kṛṣṇa’s flute is even in madhura rasa.
 
Radha Kṛṣṇa dasa -
Dear Advaita dasa Prabhu, dandavat pranams. It seems to me that the topic of whether or not śānta rasa exists in Braja is not so cut and dry as Viśvanātha Cakravartī Thakur's ṭīkā might indicate.  There are some differences in opinion amongst ācāryas on this topic. Madhavananda dasa in former "Gaudiya Discussions" blog brought this topic up. In that discussion Madhavananda  appeared to disagree with Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura's commentary (see Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya, 8.294), as quoted by Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada):

 "Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura points out that in Vrajabhūmi there is the Yamunā River with its sandy banks. There are kadamba trees, cows, Kṛṣṇa's sticks with which He herds cows, and Kṛṣṇa's flute. All of these belong to śānta-rasa, the mellow of neutrality in devotional service. There are also the direct servants of Kṛṣṇa, such as Citraka, Patraka and Raktaka, and these are the embodiments of service in the mellow of servitude. There are also friends like Śrīdāmā and Sudāmā, who embody service   in fraternity. Nanda Mahārāja and mother Yaśodā are the embodiments of   parental love. Above all of these are Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Her assistants,   the gopīs Lalitā, Viśākhā and others, who embody conjugal love. In this way all five mellows — śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya — exist   eternally in Vrajabhūmi. They are also compared, respectively, to copper, bell metal, silver, gold and touchstone, the basis of all metals. Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī therefore refers to a mine eternally existing in Vṛndāvana, Vrajabhūmi."

The above appears to be in some conflict with Bhaktivinoda's statement in Jaiva Dharma (Ch 39) and Viśvanātha Cakravartī's commentary of various verses on Śrīmad Bhāgavatam as well texts in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, and Caitanya-caritāmṛta. I have gone through all of the pertinent texts in Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Caitanya Bhāgavat where Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī indicates that cows, sticks, flute etc. are in śānta rasa in Vraja, and Bhaktivinoda's Jaiva Dharma, wherein it is stated that in Vraja, śānta rasa in almost/practically absent in Vraja. In an e-mail exchange 5 years ago, I asked Śrīpada Tripurari Swami to harmonize these apparently contradictory statements. In particular I also asked him: "Is it simply that there are no "humans" in śānta rasa in Vraja, but śānta "rasa" is possible for personalities in "animal", "plant" and "inanimate" spiritual forms?"

  Here was Maharaja's response:
  "Śrī Kṛṣṇa is known as Rasaraja. This name implies that he tastes all rasas,  and it refers to him in his Vraja-lila. From this it should be clear that he tastes śānta rasa in Vraja. This is also confirmed in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 4.8.85. There Śrī Rupa writes that Kṛṣṇa tasted śānta rasa along with all   other expressions of sacred aesthetic rapture while lifting Govardhana hill. In this example Śrī Kṛṣṇa tastes śānta rasa from the vantage point of the shelter (āśraya ālambana) of śānta rasa. Later in Mathurā he tasted śānta rasa from the vantage point of the object (viṣaya ālambana) of love when he was wrestling in Kamsa's arena, Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.43.17. Therein it is clearly stated that the sages present experienced śānta rasa in relation to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Such sages may very well include persons like Durvasa, who also resides in Vraja proper. So śānta rasa is expressed in his Vraja-līlā within Mathurā maṇḍala.  At the same time, Kṛṣṇa's Vraja-līlā is primarily characterized by love that  is devoid of reverence, and thus it is often said to begin with sakhya rasa. Brahmaji described all of Vṛndāvana as being permeated by sakhya rasa when he told Śrī Kṛṣṇa-

aho bhāgyam, aho bhāgyam
nanda gopa vrajaukasam
yan mitraṁ paramānandam
pūrṇaṁ brahma sanātanam

  "O how fortunate, O how fortunate are the Vrajavāsīs of Nanda gopa, for the supreme bliss and complete, eternal Brahman is their friend." Thus everything and everyone in Vraja is touched by friendship. Everything and everyone is also touched by the influence of romantic love that Kṛṣṇa's Vraja-līlā is centered on. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur acknowledges that śānta rati is present to some extent in the Vraja-lila when he writes in Jaiva Dharma "At first I thought that there was no śānta rati in the devotees of Vraja, but now I see that it is present in them to a limited extent." Whereas in the same book he also writes that "Śānta-rasa is absent in Vraja." Perhaps Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakura   sought to clarify Bhaktivinoda Thakura's statements by attributing śānta rati to the non human species and apparently inanimate objects of Vraja, such as Kṛṣṇa's flute, rivers, hills, and Vraja's cows when he wrote about this in his commentary to Upadeśāmṛta and in his commentary on Caitanya Caritāmṛta. However, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has attributed sakhya rasa to the hills of Vraja and vātsalya rati to Śrī Kṛṣṇa's cows. So there are different opinions among ācāryas, and human reasoning renders any of these opinions problematic.
  For example, while there is reason to believe that Vraja's cows are in vātsalya rasa, their relationship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa is also one of being protected by Gopala. Anyone who raises cows knows that they are as much children in need of protection and constant care as they are mothers, and at   least in Dvārakā, Kṛṣṇa's children are considered to be in dāsya rasa. His cows are also his iṣṭa-devatā and thus worshipable by him. Furthermore, why do we find that Rādhā and Govinda are not inhibited in front of Vraja's bovines as they are before human elders relishing vātsalya rati. After all, vātsayla   and mādhurya rasa are not compatible. Neither are śānta and mādhurya rasas compatible for that matter. Mahādeva and Brahmā are said to have taken birth in Varasānā and Nandagrāma as hills, are they in sakhya rasa? Sakhya rasa is exchanged between equals. The gopis attribute a male gender to Kṛṣṇa's flute at one time and a female gender at another time. Is it male, female, neither of these, or both? Sometimes the creepers of Vraja are thought to be tasting mādhurya rati as well as the rivers, but what is the nature of this mādhurya rati and how can it compare to that of the gopis themselves?
  Great devotees view the world through the lens of their bhāva, and this may afford them different angles of vision at different times. Furthermore some of Śrī Kṛṣṇa's devotees experience the suddha rati known as svaccha (transparent), in which they taste the rati of those with whom they associate,   moving between śānta, dasya, sakhya, and mādhurya. Thus it is best to respect the opinions of great souls on issues that lie beyond our present realization   even when we cannot fully understand them.
  I hope this is helpful."

advaitadas -
Radha Kṛṣṇa das,
You are certainly entitled to your beliefs. However, you fail to come up with evidence to counter the evidence that I produced on the matter from universally accepted ācāryas like Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja Gosvāmī and Viśvanātha Cakravartī. Your reply consists partially of quotes by recent Vaiṣṇava   teachers, which have been shown to deviate from the previous ācāryas on a large number of issues, as well as on mundane logic, which does not apply to śāstra.
  Concretely, about the mountains, I did not say they are in sakhya rati but in dāsya rati and have proved that from Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.21.18. You might also like to peruse my blog of June 19, 2008 and the comments pages of my blog of August 8, 2007, for more evidence of there being no śānta rasa in Vraja.....

   Radha Kṛṣṇa dasa -
This verse is in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 4.8.85. Translation (by H.H. Bhanu Swami): "Kṛṣṇa as the āśraya of all rasas:

  Though lifting up Govardhana, He remained without pride in Himself (śānta). When the small children became eager to hold up the mountain, He smiled (hasya, vatsala. He spat some bad-smelling yogurt (bībhatsa). He showed off his great strength in lifting the mountain for the benefit of His dear friends (sakhya, vīra). He displayed red eyes in looking at Indra (raudra). He shed   tears on seeing the suffering of the inhabitants of Vraja from rain and wind (karuna). He trembled in fear before the elders, having destroyed the sacrifice to Indra (dāsya, bhayānaka). His eyes opened wide with astonishment on seeing the great torrents of rain (adbhuta). His hairs stood on end when He   saw the young girls (madhura). May this master, the lifter of Govardhana, protect you!”

Jīva Gosvāmī's Commentary: Amāni (prideless) means that Kṛṣṇa exhibited  śānta-rasa in being devoid of pride in lifting Govardhana. Trembling in front of His elders on interrupting the sacrifice to Indra (hari-makham prasya) indicates bhayankara-rasa. Other rasas can similarly be understood in   this verse".

The above verse is an example of Kṛṣṇa tasting śānta rasa along with all other   expressions of sacred aesthetic rapture while lifting Govardhana hill.

advaitadas -
Radha-Kṛṣṇa das,
That is granted, and thank you for the tip. However, the three verses I quoted from Caitanya Caritāmṛta remain evidence that, even if śānta rati would exist in Vraja/Goloka, this is still not given by Mahaprabhu to us in this age. The explanation of the cows, clouds, mountains etc. not being in śānta rati remain too. In this case the answer to about the names of Kṛṣṇa would be Param Atma and Param Brahma, because that is what Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu says about the conception of the śānta bhakta.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Balarāma's birthday, part 2



Bhakta: "Why Balarām’s birthday is not celebrated but Nityānanda’s and Advaita’s days are?"

Advaita Das: "None of these tithis are in Hari Bhakti Vilāsa - there is Janmāṣṭamī, Nṛsiṁha caturdaśī and Rāma Navami. Not even Rādhāṣṭamī is official - they are adopted according to bhāva (sectarean feelings). In our family we do a big utsava on Advaita Saptami and Shiva Rātri, but those things are hardly observed in ISKCON at all. Reversely, ISKCON is doing big things on "Balarām Purnima" which we do not even recognize at all

Bhakta- “I see. And the date of Balarām’s birth, though not celebrated, is different from the one given by IGM. At least according to the calendar I got from Rādhākuṇḍa....that date is two days before Rādhāṣṭamī.”

Advaita Dās- “We are not devotees of Balarām anyway, but of Kṛṣṇa, but it is a bit intriguing. This is from Garga Samhitā 1.10.27-28-

atha vraje panca-dineṣu bhādre     tithau ca ṣaṣṭhyāṁ ca site budhe ca
uccair grahaiḥ pancabhir āvṛte ca     lagne tulākhye dina-madhya-deśe
sureṣu varṣatsu su-puṣpa-varṣaṁ    ghaneṣu muncatsu ca vāri-bindūn
babhūva devo vasudeva-patnyāṁ     vibhāsayan nanda-gṛhaṁ sva-bhāsā

“Then, in Vraja, after five days, in the month of Bhādra (August-September), on the sixth day of the bright fortnight, when Mercury, five exalted planets, and the constellation Libra were on the horizon, at midday, as the demigods showered a beautiful rain of flowers and the clouds sprinkled drops of water, (Śrī Baladeva), illuminating Nanda's home with His splendor, was born from Vasudeva's wife (Rohiṇī).”

Advaitadās: “ISKCON and Gauḍīya Maṭha are not alone in observing Śrāvaṇa Pūrṇimā as Baladeva’s birthday; the Brajabāsīs also do it. Problem is, I have little faith in Garga Samhitā.”

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Truth is offensive? Bhakti is Cancala, and Modakas


TRUTH IS OFFENSIVE?

Bhakta: “Sometimes you spreak strongly about other Vaiṣṇavas. Are you not supposed to refrain from finding faults with Vaiṣṇavas?”

Advaitadās: “Not finding fault with Vaiṣṇavas is ridiculous and dangerous. If you know a Vaiṣṇava is a thief would you let a rich devotee rent a place from him? If a Vaiṣṇava is a debauch would you let a pretty single woman rent a place from him? If a Guru abuses young female disciples or sucks all the money out his followers, and even tells you all kinds of immoral bogus teachings as well, is it an offence to warn people against him? I think it is a much greater aparādha to a Vaiṣṇava to have him or her duped and exploited by another Vaiṣṇava, who appears superior or sincere but is actually rotten within. Sometimes the text nindāṁ doṣa kīrtanam is quoted, from Jīva Goswāmī, to say that one should not criticize a Vaiṣṇava, even if he is wrong, but that text is just a gloss. It does not mean you should not criticise any Vaiṣṇava. So many disasters have taken place because of such a foolish mentality. A Guru should be madhyama bhāgavata - īśvare tad adhīneṣu bāliśeṣu dviṣatsu ca prema maitri kṛpopekṣā make distinction between the Lord, the devotee, the ignorant and the envious.

Bhakta - "But my Guruji never criticises everyone."

Advaitadas - "You can take dīkṣā from an uttam bhāgavat, no problem, but you cannot imitate such a great saint if you are not yourself free from material desires. So after taking dīkṣā from an uttam bhāgavat go and take śikṣā from a madhyam bhāgavat who will give you proper instructions how to behave in the practical world. Having said all this, this does not mean that one should fritter away one’s short and precious human life gossiping about or making politics against Vaiṣṇavas all day and night for no good reason, or out of sheer malice or envy. That means you have no ruci for bhajan and that is likely to get worse as a result of such genuine Vaiṣṇava aparādha. If an innocent person is about to get duped by a crooked Vaiṣṇava or Guru, though, one should certainly warn such a person with critical words about that Vaiṣṇava.”

BHAKTI IS CANCALA

Bhakta - “Do you have a clue why he (some devotee) gave up? Something serious must have happened."

Advaita Das - "Not necessarily. Bhakti devi comes and goes as she pleases. We cannot explain why people join and also not why they leave. Bhakti is independent, ahaituki  (SB 1.2.6).”

Bhakta- “But it was a traditional Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava.”

Advaitadas – “Whatever - traditional or IGM, in connection with Bhakti, such are mere adjectives. Even if the Guru demands little or no sādhanā from the pupil, Bhakti may still go. Bhakti comes and goes as she pleases.”

Bhakta- “I know, but there is always a story, so something happened…”

Advaita Das: “Well if you analyse it further, there are two things -

1. nāyam ātma bala hīnena labhya - People are weak and they get burned out in the long run. They cannot resist māyā anymore due to weak Bhakti.”
2. aparādha. Some devotees are too smart, too clean etc. so they get proud and condescending. As a result of this arrogant attitude they displease Bhakti-devī and leave the path.

MODAKA

The word modaka in Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi 243 means sweetballs, not just any square sweet. This change has been processed in the blueprint of my Rādhārasa Sudhānidhi translation. In modern parlance modaka also means fried things like samosas, but back when Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi was composed it was probably just sweetballs like perā, gulab jamon and laḍḍu.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Solitude, chanting for fame and Sannyāsī-Gaura arcana



WHAT IS WRONG WITH SOLITUDE?

In his commentary on Manaḥ Śikṣā, verse 5, Banga Bihari Vidyālankara (unknown to me who that is, but his opinion is shared among Vaishnavas generally) writes: vāse bahūnāṁ kalaha ityādinā sat sango'pi kartum anucitaḥ syād iti satyaṁ tat tulya jnānināṁ niyata dhyāna parānāṁ viṣaya eva na tv asmādṛśānāṁ etc "Jnanis simply meditate (in solitude), saying vāse bahūnāṁ kalaha, where many people live together there is quarrel. Hence any sanga, also sat sanga, is not proper. But this does not go for us (Vaiṣṇavas)."
I must say though, that wherever I found large communities of any type of persons, there was indeed quarrel and that includes large communities of Vaiṣṇavas, regardless whether these are dormitory-missions or independently living devotees. And what is wrong with meditation in solitude? It seems the life that the Six Goswamis, and many great Gaudiya Vaiṣṇavas, were living, too. This does not altogether exclude sat sanga. It should surely be had, especially as Manah Siksa 5 says, to counteract vices as lust and so. But sat sanga can also be had in moderate amounts, not necessarily 24/7 boarding and dormitory sanga."

CHANTING FOR NAME AND FAME

Bhakta: Is there any information on how many rounds Advaita Prabhu chanted?

Advaitadas: No. Raghunath  Dās Goswami is said to have done 1 lakh: loy lākho nāma (CC ādi 10,99). However, Sādhu Bābā said chanting so many lakhs is usually a waste of time; it just inflates the ego. Better to do humble seva in the Guru's ashram - sadā tvam sevasva prabhu dayita sāmantam atulam: Dās Goswami taught this is the cure against the disease of pratistha (Manah Siksa - 7). So many chant for show: money and fame.

Bhakta: That everybody can see how many.. oh, he is such a saint."

Advaitadas: Even sex: it impresses women devotees. yaśo'rthe dharma sevanam - (S.B. 12.2.6) - "In Kali yuga religion is performed for fame only."

SANNYASI GAURA-WORSHIP

Bhakta: "Is it allright for a woman devotee to worship deities of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as a sannyasi?"

Advaitadas: There is a broader issue here: the issue of gaura arcana. Though Narottam Das Thakur did it, and  Viṣṇupriyā-devi, none of the six Goswamis did: they all worshiped Radha-Krṣṇa deities - and they are the Gaudiya Vaiṣṇava role-models. Worshippng Bhagavan who keeps the maryada as a sannyasi and
shunned women. Then he becomes a deity. Better to worship the Vraja-lampat, hahaha: good for girls and boys. Deities should not take sannyas. But seriously: The deity of Gaura is never sannyasi - if worshipped at all as deity, Gaura is always Nadiya Bihari. Generally though, one should worship Radha-Krṣṇa. ārādhyo bhagavān vrajesha tanaya. Gaura was worshipped first as a deity by Viṣṇupriyā-devi after the Lord took sannyasa, but then she was His own widow. It was not meant for the sampradaya to take over. Exceptions are not the rule.